Ask the Rabbi

  • Halacha
  • Idols and Idolatry

Buddha Figurine


Rabbi Chaim Tabasky

26 Tevet 5766
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
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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