LONDON, May 22: Joanna Lumley´s favorite London restaurant is at the center of a religious storm over its "sacrilegious" name.
Ram Thapa, owner of the Greedy Buddha in Fulham, says he has been bombarded with abusive emails and letters from Buddhists all over the world.
The campaign has been whipped up by the Sri Lankan High Commission in London, which has urged "religious and cultural organizations" to "express their concerns" to the restaurant,
Nepalese born Thapa, 35, said he may have to close the highly rated restaurant "if things get very serious". 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."
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."
The restaurant, in Wandsworth Bridge Road, is popular with celebrities such as TV presenter Ben Shephard.
In ES Magazine Lumley, a regular who has close links with the Buddhist Nepalese community through her campaigns for the Gurkhas, said a vegetarian curry she had there was the best meal she had eaten in London.
The campaign against the restaurant began in February when the Sri Lankan High Commission invited officials from the Thai, Myanmar and Nepal embassies for a "summit" on commercial exploitation of images of Buddha in Britain. In a statement, the Commission said: "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."
British Buddhists will celebrate the 2,600th anniversary of the Enlightenment of the Buddha with a ceremony in Hammersmith on May 29.
But one fan of the Greedy Buddha said: "You would think the Sri Lankan government might have bigger things to worry about than closing this fine little restaurant when it is being investigated by the UN for war crimes."
Thapa said with hindsight he could have come up with a different name but he had no plans to change it. "I don´t want to be bullied. If I changed the name I would feel
Buddha doesn´t give a sheet about the ´name´ why are we bothered. Let us not fiddle around with such nonsense and forget the real sense of buddha´s teaching. Neither Buddha´s teaching nor his value is degraded for true buddhist all other ego-satisfying mongers have problem i believe....exactly the way it happened with Mohammed cartoon or Laxmi swimsuit. Grow up Sri Lankan....kill more tamils and talk about greedy buddha...pure hypocrites!!!
What is this babble?? Anyone who is Buddhist couldn´t possibly send hate mails or make life threats. simple solution- what would Buddha do?
"How about greedy Christ, greedy Allah or Greedy Ganesh and see the reaction. For the sake of peace, better remove the name".So ya,let´s be bullied by fanatics.Freedom of opinion is the very foundation of a democratic life. I see things I don´t like being expressed all the time, But I don´t go and burn the nearest stru
if u study "krishna nature" he was greedy too with food. there are kotisssss of hindu lods, with their own speciality.
But hindus or buddhist dont make fuss to kill and die for silly things, peaceful disagreement and protest without physical violence is healthy! Who decides greatness? It is cultural prospective.
There is buddha bar since long.... media spin for a celeb, nothing else
I am a buddhist and I am hurt too by the name. How about greedy Christ, greedy Allah or Greedy Ganesh and see the reaction. For the sake of peace, better remove the name. I would not go to this place and eat there for sure for this GREEDY owner.
those who wrote hate email were truly Buddhist, you think ? what does one come to this earth when they come..... or what do they take...... ? but fooood........ hmmmmm...... :)