Originally Posted by eviljafar
After surfing the web for a while here's what I found.
Even if you insult a Buddhist you shouldn't have to worry about retribution as they are big on forgiveness. From the Buddhists point of view though, if you insult someone with this choice of tap handle, you are the unfortunate one as you are doing harm to someone.
Also, in Buddhism there are "five precepts", which basically tell a Buddhist what they shouldn't do. The 5th precept is not to drink alcohol. Therefore it seems to be a contradiction to use an image of the Buddha in the act of serving alcohol. That's probably going to offend a Buddhist.
There are probably not many Buddhists in a forum like this one that focusses on alcohol production but you never now. The 5th precept may be the most ignored part of the religion for Western Buddhists so maybe there are some Buddhists here. If there are maybe they will post on this.
If you want to use a deity of some kind and be sure not to insult anyone I'd go for the Greek god Dionysus. He was into wine but he was also into being drunk and all the great things that come from drunkeness. Now there's a god that you're not going to insult by making him your tap handle.
Well, a couple of points to ponder.
Buddha is NOT a deity. The historic personage gautama buddha was not a supernatural being as in other religions. He was a man who became enlightened and discovered his true nature, or buddha nature. Everyone has buddha nature but they are deluded by this existance and what we perceive to be "reality".
There are many variations and sects of buddhism just as there are of any other belief. There are many "icons" of buddhism, becasue there have been many buddhas throughout history and many more to come. A buddha is an enlightened one. The many various buddha icons, statues, images merely serve to remind us of the teachings of the various buddhas and to give one something to meditate on (speaking especially from a ch'an/son/zen perspective) and are not objects of worship. Though there are many sects/regional variations country to country and provice to province, wherein native religions/shamanist beliefs have been melded with buddhism as buddhism easily coexists with other beliefs.
As to the precepts, yes. Alcohol is generally considered a detterent from finding enlightenment. It further deludes one it is generally believed. That said there have been many buddist monks and "saints" (proper term boddisatvas which is beyond the scope of my few points...) such as the figure you have of the laughing buddha, who partook heavily. That is for you to do with as you will.
OK? So, to answer your question as to whether it would be offensive to use the buddha for a tap handle I pose a story/qestion to you...
A monk asked Ummon: "What is Buddha?"
Ummon answered him: "Dried dung"