If a Buddha statue to someone is an idol - then it is an idol to that person. That does not mean that the representation is wrong, just that the person seeing the image holds wrong views (in my opinion).Wesley1982 wrote:How are Buddha statues not idols?..
The Buddha taught us the path that could lead to the end of my suffering and even reduce my suffering in this life. Bowing down to a Buddha statue is a way of paying respect to the teacher that gives you the direction to the most valuable thing. In doing so it reminds me of the teacher of the Dhamma, the one that showed the way through his life. By remembrance of the teacher and Dhamma I remember that the power and responsibility to act on the Dhamma (taught by the Buddha) and move towards enlightenment is within me. To me this is the real power of the Buddha statue – unlocking what is with in me by using his direction. Bowing down with humility and respect should be the natural thing to do.
As for the “western view” I still remember my WTF moment when I first was dragged in to a church when I was about 7 and seeing “Christ nailed to the cross”.