Is it Bad to Have a Buddha Head?
By Amy Underdown, London, UK
As long as no Buddhas were harmed in the process, owning a statue of Buddha’s head is perfectly acceptable. This conviction is imbued with the assumption that the statue in question would be treated with the proper and righteous Buddhist respect. In fact, respect and understanding are actually the answers to many questions surrounding the ownership of any religious item.
One of the main reasons that people are quick to associate the ownership of Buddha heads and cultural appropriation are the (undeniably) numerous instances whereby people have owned such pieces and treated them as artistic décor rather than religiously charged artefacts. Take spas, for example, who may think it a marvellous idea to have a knock-off Buddha head, perhaps decorated in brand colours, for customers to look at whilst they enjoy a nice back rub and mud face mask. It doesn’t take a genius to see that this is disrespectful, because the Buddha piece is not being appreciated for its purpose.
Investing in an authentic Buddha piece, understanding its religious significance and knowing how to spiritually learn from it means that these artefacts can be truly appreciated rather than appropriated. This is the same regardless of whether the statue in question depicts Buddha as just his head, or whether he also happens to have a body.
We have laid out how to truly respect any Buddhist statue in our article Is it Disrespectful to own a Buddha Statue?. Here we discuss how to clean, position and understand your pieces so that you can enjoy your artefacts with the upmost respect and comprehension.