I just came across this wonderfully weird and off-beat Buddha by Takashi Murakami.
Buddhist students are advised to see any image of the Buddha as representing the perfect Buddha mind, no matter how weird the image itself is. And it is a great advice.
In fact, can I see the perfect Buddha in any of the forms arising to me? In any sounds, sensations, tastes, smells, thoughts… no matter what particular forms they take? Can I see that it is all awakeness itself?
The statue is great material in other ways too… What beliefs come up when I see it? Do I get offended? (No.) Am I afraid someone else may get offended. (Maybe.)
It is a reminder of how Buddhism can be poured into lots of different containers, depending on what culture it is in. (In this case contemporary Japan.) That was probably not the intention of the artist, but it can still be taken that way.
And, of course, it can be taken as a reminder of superficial approaches to traditions and investigations that have a great deal of substance to it, which is probably closer to what they artist meant. How do I relate in superficial ways to my own and other’s life? And, outside of a should, is that a problem in itself? Probably not, but it may leave a sense of a hole that needs to be filled.
Also, it can be a reminder of how tolerant Buddhism in general is to these types of things, while other traditions may not be. What beliefs come up for me around that? Are they true?