Buddhists Successfully March to Declare to World: Stop Disrespecting Buddha.

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A large group of Buddhists marched in Bangkok on 30 June, to raise awareness about the many disrespectful acts toward Buddha. Many tourists were eager to learn more on the busy Khao San Road.

Many agreed that Buddha Bar uses the Buddha statue inappropriately

The French would never allow this for another prophet.

The Knowing Buddha organization marched to tell the world to ‘Stop disrespecting Buddha’ at Chatuchak weekend market and at Khao San Road.

A large group of Buddhists from Bangkok and upcountry, readily walked holding signs to raise awareness to Buddhists and foreigners of the proper treatment to Buddha, and not to let the world forget that Buddha is a prophet of the world.

Chatuchak weekend market (also called JJ market), which is renowned for the market of Buddha’s images, sculptures and symbols used as paintings and furniture, was the main destination that the organization asked for cooperation in helping raise awareness of this issue.

The organization received much interest from merchants and foreigners in the market. Some merchants that had their shops close to those selling Buddha images and statues as furniture, were delighted to help - giving out brochures and praising the campaign.

Some Thai's unaware of the event content continued shopping, and were seemingly afraid that if they took brochures, they would have to donate money.

There was much more openness to the march and success for the cause, in the tourist hot-bed of Khao San Road. Many tourists gave their attention and interest in the march, taking pictures and videos as well as joining the parade and attentively reading the brochures.

After sending some people from the organization to ask the tourists’ point of view - undercover and anonymously - - 95% of the feedback was good. Most agreed with the campaign that Buddha should not be used as furniture, T-shirts, or any decorative items, or tattoos. Even street vendors and merchants were supportive throughout the whole walk until the end of the street, turning down their music volume for the campaign’s speech to be heard. A Chinese man, held the brochure and walked along the parade with his hands up - as if praying - making a ‘wai’ all throughout the parade.

The issues of the disrespecting of Buddha images and symbols were hotly debated on Khao San, by both locals and tourists. One tourist said “their signs seem so unhappy but the people look so peaceful. In fact, I have never seen so peaceful a march for anything, ever." One French couple agreed with the mystery shopper, that The Buddha Bar in Paris is disrespectful, and they said they could not imagine such a bar with another prophet being allowed. They said the French would never allow that. A tailor said that he agreed with the sentiment of the march, that people should not wear T-Shirts with Buddha image or have jeans with his image on them. One American agreed that the Buddha image is too often used as furniture, who said, "I know people who have Buddha sculptures throughout their house, on the floor, with many of them, as just portions of the Buddha head."

Both tourists and news reporters said that the campaign’s march was impressive and never before have they seen such clarity.

This news has been widely spread out to international media such as Reuters AP, CNN-go, Wall Street Journal, which have all mentioned that this issue has never been raised before amongst Buddhists. A CNN reporter asked the president of the organization "Why don't people treat other father religions as so many do to Buddha?" Acharavadee Wongsakon replied, "because if someone does, they would not have a place to stand in the world; people with other religions have a very strong conscience and speak out strongly."

Knowing Buddha organization, have had their first successful step to raising conscience and awareness for tourists in the proper way to treat Buddha’s images and symbols. But sadly, most of the people who paid attention and gave interest were foreigners, while many Buddhists gave little attention, seeming to ignore the issue. “If Buddhists continue to ignore this issue, the solution to solving the problem of disrespecting the Buddha image, would be very hard to achieve” said the president of Knowing Buddha.

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Acharavadee Wongsakon
a.sakon@yahoo.com
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