“Zen with us”? No, thanks.

Few words are as misused as “Zen,” especially in marketing and advertising. This latest example, though, is perhaps beyond the pale.

A few different online friends sent word (and photos) of this product; this shot’s courtesy of Brad Warner — an actual teacher of Zen. But you don’t need to be a Zen teacher to see that this vitamin pak advertisement, with its scantily clad models selling us “inner peace,” is more turn-off than on. As you may know, such examples of Buddhist thought and imagery in marketing, dubious or not, have come to be sometimes known as “Dharma-Burgers” — and this one is particularly cheesy.

And what’s with that main tagline? “Zen with us”? Have they really just tried to repurpose the word “Zen” to mean “have sex with”?