Greedy Buddha Attacked as "Sacrilegious"

Restaurant owner bombarded by abusive emails and letters

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The Greedy Buddha, a popular Nepalese restaurant on Wandsworth Bridge Road, is at the centre of a religious storm over its "sacrilegious" name, according to a report in the Evening Standard.

The restaurant was recently praised by Joanna Lumley, who said its vegetarian curry was the best meal she had eaten in London.

But now its owner, Ram Thapa,35, says he may have to close the Greedy Buddha in Fulham, after being bombarded with abusive emails and letters from Buddhists all over the world.

The campaign has been encouraged by the Sri Lankan High Commission in London, which has urged "religious and cultural organisations" to "express their concerns" to the restaurant.

One letter, signed by Pandula Ranatunga, said the name was "nauseating and heart breaking" and must have been thought up by "an imbecile". The letter added: "To see Lord Buddha's image being used in such a callous manner is not only quite demeaning but also sacrilegious."

The campaign apparently began in February when the Sri Lankan High Commission held a "summit" on commercial exploitation of images of Buddha in Britain. It then released a statement saying: "Embassy officials who attended the meeting agreed to persuade their respective religious and cultural organisations in the UK to write to the owner of the restaurant expressing their concerns."

Saman Ekanayake, minister for cultural and educational affairs at the commission, said: "As Buddhists we feel as bad as if he was insulting Jesus Christ or Allah. If he had called it Greedy Allah, you can imagine what the reaction would be."

Mr Thapa said: "I've had to stop reading my emails, they are so full of hate and aggression. There have been a few that have been physically threatening. I know it's bothering people but I like the name. My wife is Buddhist and she loves the name.

"When we were thinking up the name we wanted to put two opposite words together, we thought about Greedy Yak and Greedy Yeti as well. We just didn't think people will take it seriously."




May 20, 2011

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