Someone tried to sell some shoes with an image of the Buddha on them. And, boy, were Buddhists mad about it! This is our jumping off point for a discussion about commercialization and the commodification of Buddhism. Should Buddhists be offended or angry when corporate or commercial ventures try to sell products with images of the Buddha on them? Should Buddhists resist capitalism even in their attempts to spread the Dharma? We want to take these issues seriously and move beyond vague platitudes about non-attachment to really engage the question of what the proper Buddhist response is to commercialization and capitalism.

One of the books referenced in this episode is Selling Spirituality: the silent takeover of religion, by Jeremy Carrette and Richard King.

And offending shoes that started off this episode can be seen here.

3 thoughts on “Commercialization”

  1. As usual, it depends how it is used and whether it is meant to teach, educate, or for profit. When the BCA sells Buddha images (Statues, Scrolls, etc), it is OK, but when Nike does it , it is no OK? When Barnes and Noble sells a book on Buddhism, is it OK? When a Buddhist scholar sells a book, is it OK? Christians have no problem selling Jesus for profit.

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