We’ve all seen variations of the cliched “water droplet and ripples” image that’s been used to sell so many spiritually minded products – many of them Buddhist (or at least quasi-Buddhist). Here’s an unusual twist:
In this video, which does begin with the usual droplet-and-ripples affair, Kyoto, Japan’s Kinkaju Zen Buddhist temple is carved out of ice to sell… SunTory Whisky? Strange, but true:
It’s hardly the first time that the cachet of Zen and/or Buddhism have been used to sell liquor. For example, there’s Lucky Beer (the “Enlightened Brew”), or “Zen” liqueur, or Pyrat Rum, whose mascot is Hotei — often wrongly identified as the Buddha, and described by Pyrat as the “Zen patron saint of bartenders.” And of course, there are plenty more bald-faced, seemingly inappropriate co-optations, like these supposedly sexy, supposedly “Zen” vitamins.
These go on and on, and on some level, they’re all off the mark, being that they trade on spirituality’s imagery and allure while avoiding actual teachings. (You’ll note that none of these booze ads make reference to Zen’s fifth precept, which counsels us to avoid fogging our minds through willful intoxication.) Of course, this SunTory clip, with its Rat Pack-friendly soundtrack, is pretty much more of the same. But it sure is pretty.