University Buddhism Class- 2-3 pages on the commercialization of Buddhism in the United States

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  1. The Commercialization of Buddhism in the United States

In the United States, Buddha’s image and Buddhist terminology are used to market and advertise businesses and products; consuming goods associated with Buddhist symbols is often seen as a sign of being cool, unique, and hip. One can easily find the Buddha or the Dalai Lama’s image on a wide range of products; from a computer mouse to tee-shirts; from shoes to skateboards; from keychains to dog sweaters. At the bookstore, one can find an entire section of books, CDs, and DVDs on meditation and Buddhism. I even encountered a book with the eye-opening title “Zen and the Art of Casino Gaming.” At the upscale women’s clothing store Chico’s, one can find clothing with the brand name “Zenergy.” At a coffee shop, one may order “enlightened Smoothies” or “Awake” black tea. At Whole Foods, one can find Karma Puffs snacks and Zen cereal. In this business-oriented society, some people consume Buddhism just like they consume hamburgers.

The assignment is to collect data and then write a short paper about how enterprises appropriate Buddha images and/or use the term “Buddha” to promote their products. The paper should be 2-3 pages in length. Since this is part of a larger project, you have to strictly follow the following format.

Let me spell out the detailed requirements step by step.

  1. The name of the product(s) and the name of the company that makes/sells the products. (Variety is fine; don’t just use versions of the same basic product over and over.)
  2. Take pictures of goods which have a Buddha image on it or use the term Buddha. The picture should be just big enough to see. In other words, do not make it too big.
  3. Include the source or the link (url) where the picture/product came from.
  4. Include the access date.
  5. The products you choose must have a description or statement about those products. You should choose products that you found to be most representative. Quote how the company appropriates Buddha images or the term Buddha to promote its products and/or services. When you quote, please use quotation marks: “…” You may find this information under the column “About Us” on the company or product website.
  6. Bold key words such as “meditation,” “unique,” “calm,” “luck,” “enlighten,” or “karma” in the citations.
  7. List the price.
  8. Where is it sold? For example, on Amazon.com, at Walmart, at an online store, and so on.
  9. You may add your thoughts or questions. When you do please use a different colored font (I use the color purple here).

Below is an example:

The Ritual of Happy Buddha

https://www.rituals.com/en-nl/the-ritual-of-happy-buddha-foaming-shower-gel-1101535.html (Links to an external site.) (Accessed February 10, 2019).

Price: $9.50

Sold: Online; Macy’s; Lord and Taylor; Amazon.com

Citation: “Happiness is here with this foaming shower gel from The Ritual of Happy Buddha. Based on energizing sweet orange and mood-enhancing cedar wood, the gel transforms into a rich and luxurious foam when it comes in contact with water. It leaves your skin feeling soft and your soul bursting with positivity.”

“We help you slow down and turn everyday routines into more meaningful moments with luxury products that unwind body and soul. Infuse your day with meditation and reap the benefits of silence for body and soul.”

  • The organization sells a wide variety of products, including perfume, clothing, and gifts.
  • Rituals was founded in 2000 by Raymond Cloosterman.

The requirements for the paper are as follows: a) Download and correctly format 5-7 pictures of goods which have a Buddha image or use the term Buddha. b) Based on the data you have collected, write up 2-3 pages of interpreting the meanings of the products and the impact of appropriating Buddha images and/or using the term Buddha removed from a religious and historical context.

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