Thursday, May 19, 2011

I Shot the Buddha: He 'Ain't No Garden Gnome!

This is one of those 'accidental' self portraits that sometimes result from the photographer's carelessness in checking before shooting. The original intention was to highlight the Buddha sitting on the ground in a garden shop, as if he is just another garden gnome.

For many many millions of people, The Buddha is of course much more than that. He is a revered teacher; not a god as such, but certianly an enlightenned being with much to teach us all and whose teachings have not only influenced the course of history, but have informed and enriched the lives of people in many parts of the world for more than three thousand years.

For people who do revere the man and/or his teachings, the sight of his statue being used to decorate a lawn or a flowerbed by people who do not know or care about his importance, is highly offensive. In this particular garden shop there are "buddhas" of all shapes and sizes and colours, which are treated with the same regard (ie as products to be sold to fashion conscious, image obsesssed gardenners with no consciousness of who the Buddha was) as the other cement and plaster baubles and decorative pots in the place.

I have yet to see a statue of Jesus, or any other holy entity in a garden shop; only 'buddhas'. I often wonder what would the reaction be if a life size statue of Jesus suddenly popped out of the shrubbery alongside the gnomes and gargoyles of garden shop land?



  1. This entry is very insightful and thought provoking.

  2. Paul, This makes me think about putting anything our lawns in terms of religion, places of worship etc. It is done all the time at Christmas time..

  3. thank you friends for your comments
    Yes it is done at Christmas time it's true. But i don'tthink i have ever seen a statue of the ADULT Jesus on a lawn. Anyway, festivals don't count i think. Here in Australia, Buddhas are everywhere as fountains and sitting on the groud in dirt and in gardens which is not really nice for a Buddhist I think. But it is just a personal thing for me. I hate to see it, that's all. It does trivialise Buddha and his teachings. In fact it IGNORES his teachings and he is just an ornament.


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