Thursday, August 06, 2009

Somebody Needs to Say This

I am so sorry if the following speech gives offense.

The chair in the picture, above, is something called the "Bodhi Chair." It is supposed to be particularly helpful for those who need someplace comfortable to plant their posteriors whilst thinking the thought that thinks itself. The published retail price is USD $599, which is sleaze in advertising. Just call it USD $600.

There is no chair in the picture, above, which is of the Bodhi Tree. I think maybe we will just leave it at that. You can fill in your own blanks.

For USD $600 you could do some good. You could sponsor the printing of a sutra. You could sponsor a monk's education for a year. You could arrange for butter lamps to be lit. You could give eyeglasses to those who need them. The list goes on and on.

So, the question becomes: rather than engage in obscenely self-indulgent exercises in the most cynical form of spiritual materialism -- spending better than half a dime on your ass -- don't you think it might be better to "keep it real?" People are in real need in the traditionally Buddhist regions of this world.

I don't blame the people who come with marketing schemes like this. I blame the OENAB* media organs that accept their advertising, ratcheting consumerist culture up yet another notch in order to survive in the market-based economy.

If I take a leg from this chair, is it still a chair? If I take away two or three, is it still a chair? When does this thing I call a chair come into existence, and when does it cease to exist? What defines the chair's chairness? What negates that definition?

That is how Buddhists use chairs, you know?

*OENAB: Obnoxiously Ethnocentric North American Buddhapests

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4 reader comments:

Anonymous said...

You make a very good case for Buddhist Chair-ity.

Couldn't resist.

pemadorje385 said...

::standing ovation::

tibettruth said...

Well said, unfotunately Tibet and Buddhist culture have been crassly exploited, sometimes with the assistance of Tibetan businessmen. Take the folowing items, all concocted to trade on the name 'Tibet' and deceive people:

'tiger rugs'
'three dimensional mandalas'

Then there is a whole string of healing practices which abuse and exploit Tibetan culture, some of which have been encouraged by Tibetan lama too!

'dream yoga'
'kumye massage'

Anonymous said...

Wait was that 'bodhi' chair, or 'body chair'?

I agree the chair is overhyped and overpriced.

But throw in the girl and I'll pay a thousand!