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Complaint about ‘Buddha’ statues at Kansas City Zoo is off-base, expert says

January 18, 2009

From The Associated Press

The Kansas City Zoo received a complaint about statues of Buddha in an Asian-themed area of the park, but an expert says the figures are of a different person entirely.

David Engle of suburban Overland Park, Kan., complained after visiting the zoo on Sunday. Engle said he found it “phenomenal” that the zoo would put up two smiling statues of Buddha when “we can’t have a cross or a Nativity scene on public property.”

Buddha is the name ascribed to Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism. Engle, who says he is Christian, called the statues idolatry and “infuriating to God.”

But Lama Chuck Stanford, executive and spiritual director of the Rime Buddhist Center & Monastery in Kansas City, said the statues are not of Buddha and should not be compared to religious symbols such as the cross or menorah.

“I have seen them,” Stanford told The Kansas City Star. “They are statues of Ho Tai, the patron saint of children in China and Japan. He is closer to Santa Claus.”

Stanford also noted that Buddhists do not worship or pray to the Buddha.

Zoo Director Randy Wisthoff says he has never heard complaints about the statues before. He said they were bought a few years ago, along with concrete pagodas and a terra cotta warrior, to provide an Asian theme for the zoo’s Tiger Trail.

Wisthoff said he would discuss Engle’s complaint with the zoo’s board.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. tonymil permalink
    January 21, 2009 11:21 pm

    Nice bit of fiction there.

    Oh, wait. Did you mean for others to accept that as truth? I’m sorry. Let me turn off my BS filter and try again.

    No. Sorry, still reads like fiction to me.

    Jesus said, “Hell is real; the judgment is real. I love them so, My child. This is only the beginning of the frightful things I have to show you. There is much more to come. Tell the world for Me that hell is real, that men and women must repent of their sins. Come, follow Me. We must go on.”

    Um, no? Why don’t you tell them Jesus. You are all powerful and all knowing. So, you show up and tell them. Tell them how you love them so much you are going to force them to burn for eternity if they don’t love you enough. Or if they love you, but in the wrong way. Or if they love you, but are gay. Or if they love you, but go to the wrong church. Or if they love you, but don’t hate their parents. Or if they love you, but they didn’t pray in their closets. Or if they….is it sinking in yet?

    Let me try though. I have a bit of text that talks about the return of a god. It’s old text, compared to me. It’s well written, compared to other stories. Plus, at no point does the complete story contradict itself. Here we go:

    …It lumbered slobberingly into sight and gropingly squeezed Its gelatinous green immensity through the black doorway…. The stars were right again, and what an age-old cult had failed to do by design, a band of innocent sailors had done by accident. After vigintillions of years great Cthulhu was loose again, and ravening for delight.

    Well there we go. Somebody wrote it so it must be true. Give yourself to Cthulhu and enjoy it’s blessing.

  2. Catrina permalink
    January 21, 2009 12:48 am

    The path we were on was a circuitous one, twisting in and out between these pits of fire as far as I could see. The cries of the living dead, mixed with moans and hideous screams, came to my ears from all directions. There were no quiet times in hell. The smell of dead and decaying flesh hung thickly in the air.

    We came to the next pit. Inside this pit, which was the same size as the other one, was another skeleton form. A man’s voice cried from the pit, saying, “Lord, have mercy on me!” Only when they spoke could I tell whether the soul was a man or woman.

    Great wailing sobs came from this man. “I’m so sorry, Jesus. Forgive me. Take me out of here. I have been in this place of torment for years. I beg You, let me out!” Great sobs shook his skeletal frame as he begged, “Please, Jesus, let me out!” I looked at Jesus and saw that He too was crying.

    “Lord Jesus,” the man cried out from the burning pit, “haven’t I suffered enough for my sins? It has been forty years since my death.”

    Jesus said, “It is written, The just shall live by faith!’ All mockers and unbelievers shall have their part in the lake of fire. You would not believe the truth. Many times My people were sent to you to show you the way, but you would not listen to them. You laughed at them and refused the gospel. Even though I died on a cross for you, you mocked Me and would not repent of your sins. My Father gave you many opportunities to be saved. If only you had listened!” Jesus wept.

    “I know, Lord, I know!” the man cried. “But I repent now.”

    “It is too late,” said Jesus. “Judgment is set.”

    The man continued, “Lord, some of my people are coming here, for they also will not repent. Please, Lord, let me go tell them that they must repent of their sins while they are still on earth. I do not want them to come here.”

    Jesus said, “They have preachers, teachers, elders-all ministering the gospel. They will tell them. They also have the advantages of the modern communications systems and many other ways to learn of Me. I sent workers to them that they might believe and be saved. If they will not believe when they hear the gospel, neither will they be persuaded though one rises from the dead.”

    At this, the man became very angry and began to curse. Evil, blasphemous words came from him. I looked on in horror as the flames rose up and his dead, decaying flesh began to burn and fall off. Inside this dead shell of a man, I saw his soul. It looked like a dirty-gray mist, and it filled the inside of his skeleton.

    I turned to Jesus and cried, “Lord, how horrible!”

    Jesus said, “Hell is real; the judgment is real. I love them so, My child. This is only the beginning of the frightful things I have to show you. There is much more to come. Tell the world for Me that hell is real, that men and women must repent of their sins. Come, follow Me. We must go on.”

    read the whole book online for free at:
    spiritlessons.com/Mary_K_Baxter_A_Divine_Revelation_of_Hell.htm

  3. tonymil permalink
    January 21, 2009 12:25 am

    The public schools are government run institutions. As such public schools cannot allow any religion, or non-religion, to have a voice in the school. Be this the 10 Commandments, prayers before events, bible study classes, meditation sessions, qur’an teachings, or discussions on there may not be a supreme being based on scientific testing.

    This is covered by the First Amendment to the Constitution.
    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    This is why you can have prayer in private schools. They aren’t funded by tax dollars and administered by the government.

    I don’t want any aspect of the bible, qur’an or dharma taught in any public schools.

    By the way: How cool was it that President Obama said “For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers.”? There was no mention of Buddhists but it was really cool to see non-believers mentioned.

  4. January 20, 2009 11:37 pm

    And when did the schools become yours? I thought they were for all of us?

  5. January 20, 2009 11:36 pm

    “We never worshiped the 10 commandments yet they were taken from our schools.were just talking about fair play.”

    Again, Tony (in his post above yours) is pointing out the fact that Buddhists do not worship anything. And noone I know took those commandments from you. It’s not a conspiracy, it’s like you say, fair play.

    Here in the US our founding fathers, while being believers in God themselves, also believed this nation and it’s people should be allowed to practice any religion freely.

    For many, many years there has never been a mention of any other religion except Christianity or Catholicism. Until recently, most other religions haven’t really bothered to oppose any of the public displays of say the Ten Commandments, or the Manger Scene at Christmas because of the exact response you have given here and the gentleman at the zoo gave. It’s a very typical response to jump down someone else’s throat when all the other people want is a level playing field. Isn’t that what religious equality is all about cat?

  6. cat permalink
    January 20, 2009 9:33 pm

    We never worshiped the 10 commandments yet they were taken from our schools.were just talking about fair play.

  7. tonymil permalink
    January 19, 2009 11:46 pm

    “You all should REALIZE that the ONLY reason this country is as prosperous as it is is because we used to all recognize and give honor to THE ONE TRUE LIVING GOD!” I guess He decided we don’t honor him enough so he threw our economy in the crapper.

    I don’t know which is more dangerous. A rabid dog or a cafeteria christian. I think I would rather try to pet the dog.

    As far as being the only way to heaven, read your bible. He isn’t the only way in according to the xian faith. Plus, have you turned your hatred on your parents and given away all of your worldly possessions? That’s part of the requirement for getting in. Read little xian, read. It’s all there.

    And just in case you missed it in the article “Stanford also noted that Buddhists do not worship or pray to the Buddha.” Only the xians compare Buddha to God. I think it’s idol envy.

  8. cat permalink
    January 19, 2009 7:28 pm

    If ‘they’ want to remove EVERYTHING Christian from all public property, government buildings, schools,our money,our pledge of allegiance, etc… Why is Buddha OK? So Buddha is OK but the REAL GOD (The ONE TRUE LIVING GOD!) is to be taken out of everything we have in this country, whilst people call this being ‘openminded’,’elightened’ and ‘intellectuals’ who like to hang in coffee houses? PLEAASSEE… REAL TRUTH is JESUS CHRIST! He is the only way to Heaven people…Read John 3:17-21…

    You all should REALIZE that the ONLY reason this country is as prosperous as it is is because we used to all recognize and give honor to THE ONE TRUE LIVING GOD! Now I’m afraid the majority living in this country would rather embrace Eastern Religion GARBAGE and idols… I’m afraid judgement is coming and pray more people will turn to God while they are above ground… IN JESUS NAME!

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