Thursday, April 24, 2014

Holy Rollers

A friend of mine has an odd and amusing hobby of checking the back page of popular Western Buddhist magazines where all of the advertisements are.  He finds it pretty ironic to find a section of a Buddhist magazine solely devoted to "dharma" commercialism.  He recently told me about something he'd seen on the back page of one of the most popular (if not the most popular) Western Buddhist magazines: Prayer wheel stickers for your car.

I thought, he has got to be kidding. This is a joke! Well, I went home and googled "Hub cap Buddhism sticker".  First thing that popped up was the Hubcap Prayer Wheel, their slogan? "Burn Rubber, Burn Karma."

I can't make this stuff up, people.  The website advises you to "Leave yourself at least 15 minutes to apply Hubcap Prayer Wheel so you can do it mindfully and carefully."  Well, I am so glad they are being mindful of decal application, because they sure as hell aren't being mindful of offending the Tibetans from whom they have appropriated and bastardized this cultural practice!

Let's see: we are taking a sacred mantra, known by every Buddhist Tibetan from the time they can talk, which is held and revered as a center of Tibetan culture and they are putting it on a car wheel which will drive though mud and shit and roadkill.  This sacred script will be located low, specifically almost immediately below where people are seated and their feet are resting, so it's under both their butts and their feet (we've already talked about feet and butts in terms of respect).

Oh, and since a prayer wheel is supposed to go clockwise, I really hope these "mindful" and "careful" holier-than-thou drivers are never planning to shift into reverse, ever.

And for anyone who wants to say this is "honoring Tibetans"  I point you to this post about appropriating another culture's religious symbols.  If you think people just need "get over it" because it's cultural and your idea of Dharma is above that?  Take a closer read here and realize that ripping off a sacred cultural artifact and using it in a way that offends the people who created it is probably a really good reason to not do something. It's certainly isn't "mindful" or "careful."

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