The Mind that Alters, Alters All – A perception of Buddhism

A mind that alters, alters all – William Blake

Buddha – Budai a case of cultural misappropriation. The West often mistakes the fat “Buddha” as the Buddha. it is not
When I first visited San Francisco I went to Chinatown to buy a nice replica of Buddha . My friend took me to a shop that specializes in such things . The salesmen quickly led me to a large collection of statues of roly poly fat men. He pointed to them as the “Buddha” statues. I immediately dismissed his claim stating they do not represent the Buddha. The salesmen looked shocked and so did my friend.  The salesman insisted they were images of the Buddha. I explained to him that the Buddha is that of a slender tall and well proportioned man with a serene expression.
A total distortion has taken place.. The image of the fat Buddha has so permeated the Western world it would be almost impossible to change. The fat “Buddha”  comes from pre Buddhist China of a folk deity that eventually worked its way into Mahayana Buddhism called the “Budai” which means “cloth sack” in China. It sounds close to the Sanskrit word “Buddha” which means “the enlightened one”
What say you to Cultural Misappropriation and Buddhism?

R&I – TP

Rohan Balthasar

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