Ever wondered why celebrities endorse products?
Better still, ever wondered what happens to things and events that are endorsed by celebrities?
Sometimes at least, I think celebrity endorsement does more harm than good to genuinely good products.
Here is the latest example. Hollywood heartthrob and neo -Buddhist Richard Gere has said that the area around Bodh Gaya should be declared a vegetarian zone. This happened in Mahabodhi Mahavihara at Bodh Gaya in Bihar, India on January 7, 2010. Or at least that is what the media tell us.
It has been reported that he said this while he was attending a conference in Bodh Gaya. Buddhists consider Bodh Gaya a holy place as Lord Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment here.
If it is true, Richard Gere is wrong. Buddhism, sometimes called the fastest growing religion in the world, does not advocate vegetarianism. I don’t know about its growth rate, but I know one thing for sure. It is one of the most uncomplicated religions in the world.
One popular tenet of Buddhism goes thus- “Never sin, learn a skill for earning a livelihood and always think from the other person’s point of view. This is the sum total of Buddha’s teachings.’’
Buddha did not lay down strict principles regulating everyday living. Buddhism is among the few religions in the world that do not recommend separate lifestyles for monks and lay believers. Most of the Buddhist principles have been added by saints and monks in recent times. If you need to be a Buddhist, you don’t have to look like one. Buddhism is all about thought. What is essential is you understand the set of ideas and think beyond.
As far as vegetarianism is concerned, there is a story about the Buddha eating meat on the day he died. Scholars tell me possibilities of the story being true are high.
Now, what do you think is the effect of celebrity endorsement on genuinely good products?
Meanwhile, I found this on Richard Gere’s site (gerefoundation.org) and liked it
“All suffering in the world arises out of the wanting happiness for self. All the happiness in the world arises out of wanting happiness for others’’ – Shantideva
P.S. I don’t own the image. Photo credit: my.opera.com