Buddha branding is everywhere – but what do Buddhists think?
By Morwenna Ferrier
Buddha Bar … celebrating its 20th anniversary. Photograph: Sophia Evans for the Observer
New year, new tenuously legitimate diet rooted in spirituality. The book Buddha’s Diet is climbing bestseller lists; Buddha bowls, the once left-field food-truck lunches, are coming to Marks & Spencer (branded as nourish bowls); and the 15-strong chain of Buddha Bars has just celebrated its 20th anniversary. Nothing, it seems, is safe from this blasphemous gravy train. The Buddha effigy – cuddly, pot-bellied – is actually a 1,000-year-old Chinese monk. “The real Buddha was quite fit,” says Dan Zigmond, an ordained monk. He is more offended by the chain of Buddha Bars. “it’s not ethical. Buddhism promotes clarity and awareness, something the alcohol industry isn’t exactly behind.” [link]