Enjoy Zen Responsibly?

David Kiley

There is a rush to take advantage of growing popularity in tea. Witness the introduction of Chai liqueur and now Zen Green Tea Liqueur from Allied Domecq. I can't help but laugh at the requisite warning at the bottom of the promotion material. "Consumers are encouraged to enjoy Zen responsibly." It just never ocurred to me to enjoy Zen irresponsibly.

Some of the suggested concoctions: The ZENTINI, made with one part ZEN, two parts Stoli Citros and a splash of fresh lime juice; the ZENTONIC, with one part ZEN and three parts tonic water; and the ZEN SAKETINI, with one part ZEN and two parts sake.

Zen is short for Zen Buddhism. It is sometimes called a religion and sometimes called a philosophy. Historically, Zen Buddhism originates in the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama.

It's at times like this, when I get pitched a Zentini, that I wonder why we have such a double standard about Eastern and Western religion. Could anyone get away with mass marketing Jesus Juice or Christianity in a bottle. True, there are wines and brandies adorned with monks and monasteries, but it's not quite the same. I was pondering this the other day when I was in a Target store and saw a bunch of Buddha stuff on sale and even a funny tee-shirt of Homer Simpson doing a send up of Sidhartha. As I looked at the products, I wondered why it was okay to treat Buddha like SpongeBob, while I'm sure it would never occur to the Tar-Jay folks to treat Jesus that way. Buddha not the same you say? Then why have I long seen people in Chinese establishments bowing and praying to statues, however garish looking, of Buddha. Double standard, I say.

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