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26 Tevet 5766

Buddha Figurine


Rabbi Chaim Tabasky

Question:
Am I allowed to have a figurine of a Buddha, and if not, what to do with the one that I have. A while ago, I was in China town and I went to one of the stores and saw a cool looking statue/figurine, it is about 2 inches tall, and it is of the "travelling Buddha", Since I am fascinated with Asian culture, I decided to buy this figurine, when I got home I began to think about what I had done and I wondered if I had broken any Jewish laws regarding the possession of idols and such. When I bought this figurine, I bought it not with the intent of worshipping it, nor did i purchase it as an idol, rather I purchased it as a small sculpture/souvenior from a culture that I admire. I am curious if even though some people might view the Buddha as an Idol (I do not), am I allowed to keep the figurine? If not, why? Also, If I cannot keep the figurine, what should I do with it? I personally do not think that simply throwing it away would be the answer because I feel that it would be disrespectful to another culture, even though I do not believe in the Buddha does not mean that I have to disrespect the culture by simply throwing it away.

Thank you

Answer:
It is my understanding that Bhuddists actually worship the statue of Bhudda, in which case the stue is forbbiden and should be destroyed. I have seen major poskim quoted to this effect as well.

Certainly it is forbidden for a Jew to own such a statue.



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