Chiangrai Times – A series of child-friendly Walt Disney movies features a big dog named “Buddha,” who avoids meat and stress, enjoys yoga and meditation, and eats out of a dish on the floor labelled with his name and some Buddhists in Thailand are not amused.
A new Bangkok-based group called Knowing Buddha Organizationis calling for an international boycott against the Disney films and their Buddha dog.
The group also demands an end to all commercialization of Buddha, including retail statues, wall hangings, T-shirts, sex toys, furniture, tattoos and other decorations within Thailand and worldwide.
Late last month the group targeted tourists in Bangkok with a solemn “Stop Disrespecting Buddha” march down Khao San Road, Asia’s most popular neighbourhood for inexpensive hotels, restaurants, bars, shops, travel agencies and souvenirs.
Backpackers were gently confronted by 200 Thai protesters who said they would not tolerate Buddha’s image being used in any way — including by tourists — except with “respect.”
The group protested earlier that day at Bangkok’s bustling J. J. Market, which also commercializes Buddha’s image.
Acharavadee Wongsakon, 47, says she created the Knowing Buddha protest movement after seeing Walt Disney’s Buddha dog, “when my daughters rented the film from iTunes” in January.
“If Disney put this with Jesus’s name, or Mohammad’s, I don’t think you’d have a place to stand in the world,” Acharavadee says. “Because those people, their religions, they’re strong.”
“Disney’s adorable talking puppies” are “everyone’s favourite canine siblings,” says Disney’s website.
The dogs form a group known as “Buddies” and are named Budderball, RoseBud, B-Dawg, MudBud and Buddha.
“We would like to ask the Buddhists around the world to boycott the ‘Buddies’ movies,” Acharavadee says.
She wants Disney “to stop using the name Buddha for a dog. No need to cancel the series, just remove that character, or change the name. The public should feel shocked.”
“We will ask Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to do what they can.”