"Is it ok for producers of the music video, to use a Buddha statue in the backdrop of that video?" asks VIC in his post on the subject here. Mr Mahasen Bandara goes on to answer the rhetorical question with "no, not at all". What exactly is a rhetorical question anyway?
Here in the UK we have rather strict employment laws. They're complicated, expensive to comply with and I'll be buggered backwards with a large fish fried in batter and a touch of chilli if I can understand them. But, the one thing I do understand is that sexist language, racist talk and most offensive behaviour is in the eye of the beholder.
I can go up to a member of my team, call them a "stupid Indian fuckwit" and, if they or anyone else isn't offended by it, then there's no issue. On the other hand I can ask a person to do something politely, add the word "darling" to the end of the question and, if that person is offended, all hell can break loose. One person's witty banter is another person's hurtful sexism.
Yes, it's all about whether one causes offence or not. Subjective, I believe is how intelligent people would refer to the matter. And it's the same, in my humble o, with regards to religion and Buddhism. Here in the west we have Buddha bars, clothing and all sorts of imagery, as documented by DD here, used for purely commercial purposes. Just about every other white person's garden has a statue of the Buddha, available from most garden centres, peering out from behind the plants.
Most of the statue buyers would no doubt be horrified if they thought they were offending Buddhists throught their actions, I doubt there's any intended malice. To them it's a nice looking staute, a cool looking bar to hang out in or a trendy pair of jeans. The kids who wear the jeans will hang a cross around their necks because they think it looks good, the parents will make every effort to get their child into a Catholic school, not because they're Catholics but because it's the best school in the area.
The west, for the main, has an opt in attitude towards religion. People choose a religion if they so desire and then practice it. The eastern way is different, most are born into a religion and then choose to opt out if they want to. When I compare Sri Lanka with the UK one of the biggest differences is that religion is a backdrop to so many aspects of life in Serendib in a way that's not so here.
Which is better, which is worse?
I have no firm opinions on this. I've brought up my daughters with the western approach, hopefully trying to create an awareness of religions and faiths and a level of tolerance in all of them. I know that the reality is that they'll probably grow up as people who don't practice any particular religion. I'm okay with that.
VIC asks in his post for a yes or no answer to the question, "is it ok....to use a Buddha statue in the backdrop of that video?"
My answer is in the affirmative, with some conditions. I think it's okay, that doesn't mean that you think it's okay. I'm not trying to persuade you either way, if you're offended by imagery like that then that's your right. If Mr Akon wants to gig in a Buddhist country then perhaps it wasn't the biggest act of sensitivity around to put that in his video.
Am I offended when people here put Buddha statues in their gardens? No.
Am I offended when I see kids wearing crosses for decoration? No.
Was I offended with the Danish cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad? No.
But those are just my opinions.
I wonder what God or Buddha would think about the matter?