Some people will go to extreme lengths to appear spiritual or edgy, which is fine, to a certain extent. But often this turns into cultural appropriation and can be extremely offensive to large numbers of people.
Chances are, you’ve seen the head of the Buddha in ornament form at some point. In white countries, they’re everywhere. Let me explain why this is such an enormous problem.
I know the majority of people aren’t trying to cause offense, but as any Buddhist would tell you, Buddhist heads are problematic on various levels. To depict the central figure of a religion as just a head, essentially decapitated, is awful. Imagine if someone had an ornament of a decapitated Jesus in their house? Would they be seen as cool, spiritual, indie? No, they’d be seen as disgusting and horrible.
So why, then, do white people shove Buddhist heads on the floor, walk past them without a second glance and let them gather dust?
Taking the example of Christianity again, think of how Catholics would react if non-Catholics kept ornaments of the cross or Jesus scattered around the house for aesthetic purposes. They would regard it as a completely disgusting act of disrespect. This is exactly what millions of non -Buddhists are doing. Yeah, your decorations look cute, but you’re also disregarding the beliefs of an entire religion. Still feel spiritual?
Obviously, having headless Buddhas is worse than full-bodied Buddhas, but both are marks of disrespect, as you’re taking a religion that you are not a part of for aesthetic purposes.
I can understand that many white people try to learn about Buddhism, and many white people are Buddhists themselves. This is fine, it’s the type of people who use sacred images as room decorations that are a problem.
That being said, doing five minutes of meditation every week does not make you a Buddhist. Doing a bit of yoga does not make you a Buddhist. Meaning you do not have the right to have statues of Buddha.
An example of someone taking Buddhist teachings, calling themselves a Buddhist and then completely disrespecting ‘their own’ religion is the YouTuber ‘Simply Kenna’
In the background of some of her videos, she proudly displays a Buddhist head with a plant inside of it, after making numerous videos on Buddhism. Surely, as a Buddhist, she would know that decapitating the main figure in the religion is the wrong thing to do?
Essentially, don’t use idols or any other part of a different culture or religion that you are not a part of to decorate your house with, or wear, or disrespect in any other way. Cultural appropriation ain’t cute.