May 31, 2012

From the Superficial to the Super & Superb.


Perhaps one of the many signs of the buddhadharma becoming part of North American culture is the inevitable commercialization of its images—lotuses, knots of eternity, OMs and AHs, vajras and Buddhas.

Thus, we find Thirsty Buddha coconut water (yuck!), “True Religion” jeans whose logo is Hotei, the Laughing Buddha and “Enlightenmint” breath-fresheners.

Now that the buddhadharma is not seen as a counter-cultural threat but as a sane 2,550 year-old tradition, dharma super heroes are emerging.

There is the second Green Lantern, raised in a Zen monastery and X-Men’s Wolverine, who is at least a fringe meditator. There is also the lesser-known Green Lama, who actually has been around for quite some time, who had a recent exhibit in the Rubin Museum of Art in NYC, and who has been practicing Tibetan buddhadharma all along. But Lisa Simpson, the Dalai Lama’s favorite cartoon dharma friend is so because she’s the most intelligent and open minded in her family, in spite of her father’s primitive parental conditioning!

But most enlightening of all, since 2008, Dow Jones Indexes in partnership with Dharma Investments, includes Dharma Indexes, which measure the performance of environmentally and socially engaged companies selected according to the dharmic value system! And then there’s ecobuddhism.org, which anyone can go to for resources about climate change.

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Editors: Cassandra Smith/Kate Bartolotta

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