Buddhists outraged at images on shoes in US
The Tibetan and the Buddhist community are outraged at a
California-based company for promoting a range of shoes with The
Buddha's images. Tibetans and Bhutanese Buddhists have written to the
company, Icon Shoes, to express their disgust. They have flooded the
company's Facebook page with protest notes.
There was no immediate reaction from Icon Shoes. "Unfortunately, it
is a basic Buddhist tradition to treat images of Buddhist deities with
reverence. Having the images on shoes is disrespect to the Buddhists,"
wrote Bhuchung Tsering from International Campaign for Tibet.
"Could you kindly consider this and withdraw the shoes from your
catalogue," the Tibetan leader demanded. The North American member of
the Tibetan Parliament, Tashi Namgyal, wrote a protest letter to Icon
Shoe. "I came across shoes with image of Lord Buddha on it, manufactured
by your company. I was totally shocked and dismayed at being so
insensitive," wrote Namgyal.
"The Buddha is worshipped by millions of people around the world
including the writer of this letter... Therefore, I would like to
strongly urge your company to recall every merchandise sold with
Buddha's image and stop not only selling such merchandises but
manufacture of such products.
Above all, I want you to tender unqualified apology posted on your
website," Tashi demanded.
Based out of Palm Desert, California, Icon was launched in 1999 by a
Hollywood filmmaker and art collector.
"Icon is for the art lover and the woman who loves shoes and
handbags. We support artists by paying royalty for the use of their
art," the company says on its Facebook page.
"I really think you should stop manufacturing the shoes with Buddha's
imprint... It is totally against Buddhist sentiment," wrote one Tshewant
Gyeltshen on the company's Facebook page.
"I am Buddhist. Your idea of putting The Buddha's image on footwear
is unethical," said one Yoezer Gempo.
"Why do they have to put Lord Buddha's image on shoes? Among Buddhist
we don't even let our shadow fall on His image.
'It cannot be ignorance since they had the guts to run a company and
even call the pattern 'Thangka of the Buddha'," wrote an angry Passang
Tshering on his blog.