Novelty Buddha statues outrage Thai Buddhists
(Bangkok, May 10)
THAI BUDDHIST leaders have expressed outrage over "Dog Buddha" and "Cat Buddha" statues being sold over a US-based novelty gift website and called on the United States to ban the images.
The Thai Buddhism Association lodged a formal protest with the US embassy here on Thursday, saying that photographs of the statues -- which feature animal heads atop the seated Buddha image -- should be stripped from the site.
"It is extremely disrespectful and contemptuous of Buddhism, and a violation of the representation of Lord Buddha," said spokesman Prasit Bootsri.
Prasit said he believed the US authorities would be willing to act by demanding the site's webmaster immediately take down the pages advertising the statues.
"No Christian would want to see Christ's photo shown with an animal's head," he said.
The Thai Buddhism Association will also ask the foreign ministry to submit a formal protest over the website, which sells novelty gift items including a wind-up "Nunzilla" nun figure that breathes fire and waves a Bible.
The Buddha statues are part of range which include "sushi candy", singing fish and "unfortunate fortune cookies".
It is not the first time that irreverent religious images have caused uproar in Thai Buddhist circles.
Last year, a gilt sculpture of British glamour footballer David Beckham which was found to be adorning the base of a Buddha statue in a Bangkok temple caused consternation among religious leaders