Why do the Buddhists worship statues of the Buddha?
The problem of Christians and Muslims is they want to measure other religions with their ruler. Want to see and judge other religions through the glasses their religious leaders give to them.
How about use your own eyes and see the world for a few seconds? Forget about religious teaching and books for a second.
When a priest says idols are not good, the concept goes into their mind and become crazy people who want to destroy the idols.
Step back and think for a few seconds. That is not your religion, that is not your statue. But, why do you want to cross the boundary and destroy other people’s property? My question here is “Does your religion say it is ok to destroy other religion’s property? It is what they teach you?”
Whether we worship the idol or not is none of their business.
Do we need approval from you or your priest? Are we under your religion? Have we ever borrowed and used your religion name, your God name or your holy book?
We don’t have any connection. The problem is since you think the God created this world, you feel like you own others through God and being nosy. You felt like other religions are a tenant but not an owner. You cannot accept the fact that the Universe is over 13 billion years old, the world is 4 billion years old but Hebrew Bible was only 6,000 years old etc and etc.
For your religion point of view, you want to reconcile with God and you don’t want to worship an idol, that is fine. Don’t worship the idol.
For a Buddhist point of view, we don’t have a “God” who is controlling everyone like nothing else good to do. (Although there’s a lot of accidents happen around the world.) And five precepts do not include not worshipping an idol. It doesn’t include in 8 precepts and it also doesn’t include in 10 precepts either.
Whether we worship the idols or we don’t worship the idols is our business.
When people talking about idols like a big deal and destroying them, we want to laugh about it. Do you know who is crazier? The person who is worshipping the idol or the person who is afraid of idols and trying to destroy the idols as there’s really a spirit or a god inside it and we are using this as a communication device.
When we bow the Buddha statue, we are bowing towards his purity, honesty, righteousness, compassion, wisdom etc.
We are bowing towards his teaching Dhamma and his practice.
We are bowing a person who was first enlightened and also gave us a way to get enlightened.
There are at least 500 biographies of Buddha lives and his past life. Those stories are inspired and people love to curve.
Some of the arts, especially stone sculpture were influenced by Greek and Roman.
Buddhism is not a belief-based religion. It is a practice based religion. But, as time passed, people do the easy way. They don’t pay much time on reasoning or thinking. Just follow and copy what others do. One cannot copy other people’s thinking but can copy their action.
Deep down, Buddhism is not feeding the beliefs or a sect of thinking. Actually, it is taking out. Taking out the illusion, wrong beliefs. And then taking out the greed, anger, jealousy etc. When the mind is clear and pure, it becomes powerful and helps to see the things as it is.
We do not bother the statues but we do much bother of bad thoughts and actions and speech. What we are trying to destroy is defilements such as greed, anger, jealousy etc. That’s what our religion teaches us to destroy. Not the image or idols of other’s religion.
The truth is we are not controlled by “God” or we are not controlled by religion or we are not controlled by religious leaders. We like freedom, free from Samsara, free from defilements, free from illusion etc.
Plus we don’t pay some of the percentages of income to monastery or pagoda. We don’t collect any tax from non-Buddhists. We donate whatever amount we want to donate and if we don’t want to donate, we don’t give a dime.
In my opinion, you guys are the ones questioning about idols and some of them love to destroy or vandalize the statues, you guys are the true believers that there is a connection between statues and some sort of god or spirit.
For your information, Buddhism started the day Buddha attained MahaParrinibbana a.k.a he passed away 2,562 years ago. But, we always treat Buddha as alive since his teachings are still available, his body relics are available and people are still winning the enlightenment.
, studied at Yangon University of Foreign Languages/
Taken from the auther’s answer in Quora.