Should Buddhism reclaim the swastika?

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Kusala
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Should Buddhism reclaim the swastika?

Post by Kusala » Sun May 15, 2016 11:04 pm

Thoughts? Comments?

http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php ... zj_w-SkH6Y" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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No_Mind
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Re: Should Buddhism reclaim the swastika?

Post by No_Mind » Sun May 15, 2016 11:31 pm

827.5 million Hindus use it everyday in India (at least the ones performing religious ceremony.) No reason why the Buddhists cannot use it.

In both Hindu and Nazi swastika pointy ends face your right. Buddhist manji turns other way.
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chownah
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Re: Should Buddhism reclaim the swastika?

Post by chownah » Mon May 16, 2016 2:40 am

I think we should consider whether buddhism should reclaim the raised middle finger.
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Re: Should Buddhism reclaim the swastika?

Post by DNS » Mon May 16, 2016 2:59 am

I'm not sure if Buddhism ever disclaimed the swastika. I still see the swastika on some Buddha statues in Asian temples. In Germany it is illegal to display the swastika, in a fascist manner, but the law allows its use in a religious manner, for example in Dharmic religions.
Strafgesetzbuch

In any event, it appears to be more a symbol of Jainism and Hinduism, than Buddhism. Buddhist symbols are the Dhammawheel, the Buddha, the Buddha's footprints, Stupas, the lotus flower, mala beeds and to a much lesser extent, the swastika.

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daverupa
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Re: Should Buddhism reclaim the swastika?

Post by daverupa » Mon May 16, 2016 9:23 am

basic internet search wrote:The earliest known object with swastika-motifs is a bird made from the tusk of a mammoth from the paleolithic settlement of Mezine, Ukraine dated to 13,000 BCE.
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"This word 'reclaim'; I don't think it mean wha' you think it mean."

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Re: Should Buddhism reclaim the swastika?

Post by chownah » Mon May 16, 2016 10:58 am

I think if one reads my previous post keeping in mind the actual meaning of reclaim one will see that my suggestion is perfectly cromulent.
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Re: Should Buddhism reclaim the swastika?

Post by Caodemarte » Mon May 16, 2016 4:17 pm

The original (not the Nazi version) swastika continues to be in wide and current use in East Asian Buddhism as well.

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SDC
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Re: Should Buddhism reclaim the swastika?

Post by SDC » Mon May 16, 2016 10:23 pm

For the west, you cannot divorce that symbol from what it meant in Germany. End of story. Only an attention-seeking idiot would try. Having use of it is not going to make or break anything whatsoever.

For the east, it seems as though it is still very present and without the historical baggage. Seems they never lost it so there is nothing to reclaim there.

Just my opinion.

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Re: Should Buddhism reclaim the swastika?

Post by No_Mind » Mon May 16, 2016 10:41 pm

SDC wrote:For the west, you cannot divorce that symbol from what it meant in Germany. End of story. Only an attention-seeking idiot would try. Having use of it is not going to make or break anything whatsoever.

For the east, it seems as though it is still very present and without the historical baggage. Seems they never lost it so there is nothing to reclaim there.

Just my opinion.
But what happens when Easterners and Westerners come together ? Is a swastika to be forbidden from display ? Such as, should Japanese Buddhist temples in US be allowed to display the manji openly (as they did before WW II.)

In Japanese maps swastikas denote Buddhist temples and keeping in mind 2020 Olympics Japanese government may change the sign to pagoda. Should such a change occur to accommodate "western sensibilities" ? As far as I understand, on the whole tourists and athletes from Peru, Ecuador, Mexico, Egypt, Ghana, Jordan, Iraq, Pakistan, India, China, Korea, Hong Kong and about 120 other nations will have no problem with the Buddhist swastika on a map or elsewhere.

Only those from Israel, Europe, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand will find the sign offensive (probably Russians may find it offensive too considering Hitler's Eastern Front offensive and the destruction it left in its wake.)

Is it time for the West to reevaluate its relationship with the swastika ?

Hitler was a madman. Should his dark legacy be allowed to tarnish the swastika ? What happens if Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi decides to put Buckingham Palace on ISIS flag (maybe because he secretly loves fish and chips and wants to be knighted Lord Baghdadi of Aleppo). Should the Queen's residence be torn down because it traumatizes Syrians and Kurds (assuming one day Syrians and Kurds control the world economy). That would be silly is it not.

Note - This is just an analogy. Hope I do not get suspended again for being candid. No offence meant to Her Majesty or Buckingham Palace. My grandfather was a loyal servant of Their Majesty Queen Victoria, King Edward VII, King George V and King Edward VIII and I am a proud member of the Commonwealth.
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SDC
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Re: Should Buddhism reclaim the swastika?

Post by SDC » Tue May 17, 2016 12:59 am

No_Mind wrote:But what happens when Easterners and Westerners come together ? Is a swastika to be forbidden from display ? Such as, should Japanese Buddhist temples in US be allowed to display the manji openly (as they did before WW II.)
Among practitioners in the east or the west I seriously doubt there will be any issue with it being displayed.

As far as the general public in the west is concerned, there is absolutely no reason to attempt to make it acceptable. It just never will be.

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Re: Should Buddhism reclaim the swastika?

Post by Goofaholix » Tue May 17, 2016 2:21 am

Why do we need it? The Buddha rupa, Dhammawheel, and Bodhi leaf all carry meaning as symbols go but I'm not sure what we're missing by not having a swastika to boot.
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Re: Should Buddhism reclaim the swastika?

Post by Caodemarte » Tue May 17, 2016 3:59 am

Remember that the Nazis use a reversed swastika and is not the same as the Buddhist/Hindu symbol. Japan may use a pagoda on its tourist maps because few foreigners associate the swastika with a temple, but would probably recognise a pagoda. Japanese and Chinese temples (as well as Hindu temples), at least in the US do use the swastika "openly." Nobody can or wants to forbid it. This all seems a very artificial controversy, similar to the annual claims that there is "a war on Christmas and Christian symbols" in the US.

However, if the swastika causes ill feeling or misunderstanding in a certain culture with a certain history (like Germany) because of its resemblance to the Nazi version, of course it should not be used. That may be easier and politer than constantly explaining that the Nazi swastika is different. And, after all, it is just a symbol. If it does not convey the appropriate message, use a different one, just as we would use different words when speaking a different language. Why insist that others learn your language if you are in their country?

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Re: Should Buddhism reclaim the swastika?

Post by No_Mind » Tue May 17, 2016 6:24 am

Caodemarte wrote:Remember that the Nazis use a reversed swastika and is not the same as the Buddhist/Hindu symbol. Japan may use a pagoda on its tourist maps because few foreigners associate the swastika with a temple, but would probably recognise a pagoda. Japanese and Chinese temples (as well as Hindu temples), at least in the US do use the swastika "openly." Nobody can or wants to forbid it. This all seems a very artificial controversy, similar to the annual claims that there is "a war on Christmas and Christian symbols" in the US.

However, if the swastika causes ill feeling or misunderstanding in a certain culture with a certain history (like Germany) because of its resemblance to the Nazi version, of course it should not be used. That may be easier and politer than constantly explaining that the Nazi swastika is different. And, after all, it is just a symbol. If it does not convey the appropriate message, use a different one, just as we would use different words when speaking a different language. Why insist that others learn your language if you are in their country?
Small correction -- the Hindu swastika has pointy end face right, same as Nazi swastika except that the former has a small dot in each quadrant and the latter is rotated counterclockwise 45 degree. Here is a picture of Hindu swastika.

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The Buddhist swastika has pointy end face left (image in original article by Kusala)

Japan is not swapping the swastika icon for pagoda to aid tourists understand where temples are. They are doing so because the swastika makes some tourists feel uncomfortable (or so I have read in online edition of several papers). It is not an artificial controversy because at some point it seems the rest of the world will have to stop bending over backwards to accommodate western sensibilities. Just like I support the right of European cartoonists to draw images of Prophet Mohammed regardless of what Muslims think, I also support the right of other races to sometimes stand up to western sensibilities and just do what they have been doing for centuries.
Last edited by No_Mind on Tue May 17, 2016 11:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Should Buddhism reclaim the swastika?

Post by Modus.Ponens » Tue May 17, 2016 11:56 am

If there is something worthy of our detachment and renunciation is the swastica. Whatever way it's pointing, for whatever purpose, wherever it is, whenever it is, let it go. There is absolutely nothing to be gained with reclaiming this particular symbol.
"He turns his mind away from those phenomena and, having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.' " - Jhana Sutta

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Re: Should Buddhism reclaim the swastika?

Post by Kare » Tue May 17, 2016 11:18 pm

Modus.Ponens wrote:If there is something worthy of our detachment and renunciation is the swastica. Whatever way it's pointing, for whatever purpose, wherever it is, whenever it is, let it go. There is absolutely nothing to be gained with reclaiming this particular symbol.
:goodpost:

Let it go.
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