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Buddhism in the News


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Introducing, The Enlightenment Visa Card!!!

Because nothing says Buddhism like materialism and accruing debt.

I'm a little late on this but what great news!!! Here I was wasting hours and hours meditating to realize enlightenment and now I can just buy a piece of the Nirvana pie at a mere 15% APR!! Now I have an enlightened way to buy my Zen liqueur!!

The late fee for past due payments is $25 which is apparently this credit cards version of accruing less skillful karma. If you keep missing payments then you will be reborn as a "credit liability." Here's a question you might want to ask before signing up, would my credit card debt follow me into my next rebirth if I sign up for this card?

You know those Visa commercials, well here is a suggestion for one that they could do to promote their new "Enlightenment Visa" card.

Meditation cushion: $35

Buddha statue: $20

Buying your way toward enlightenment? Priceless.

Finally there is a way to become enlightened AND stay greedy!!

But seriously. Yes, at first glance this seems quite offensive but I think we should have a laugh over it as Buddhism will be just fine. Buddhism has been around for some 2,500 years and it has survived much more serious threats to its survival then a Visa "Enlightenment Card." It will shake this off like a bunch of annoying fleas. This Visa shtick is like throwing pebbles at a mountain as columnist Mark Morford says. It's annoying but not damaging to Buddhism.

~Peace to all beings~

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Gregor said...

Ouch, what a silly thing huh?

I wonder if through applying the principle of sunyata I can cause my my credit card debt to experience "emptiness"

I'm gonna call Bank of America and see if they will go for it.

Carla said...

What a weird idea. I'm not offended, but I do wish people would stop looking upon images of the Buddha as interior decorating or fashion items. I think the people who get this card will be the same ones who wear a red string on their wrist because they saw Richard Gere with one.

Anonymous said...

To be fair... and we should be fair... this card is offered by Conscious Enlightenment LLC. This is a company that attempts to foster "right action" in the business world. From their mission statement: "As a parent company, Conscious Enlightenment believes that if it provides the correct combination of information, products and services that can appeal to a wide range of people, it will benefit the consumers as well as the providers, and by so doing, bring the world closer together as a community of consciously enlightened beings."

For the record, I'm not affiliated with the company, I just found them through Google.

PeterAtLarge said...

Thanks, James. This is just what I needed--a ticket to nirvana. A release from the tedious business of meditation! Consciousness on credit, karma in the bank! Goodbye, Mileage Plus, hello Happy Feet! Cheers, PaL

Gerald Ford said...

So, can I apply my Buddha points to get discount on plane tickets and stuff?

Des said...

I think it is good that it is a seemingly decent company putting their name on the card, on the other hand, it is very problematic and indicative of the larger problem of debt and consumerism in America.

Greenwoman said...


brian said...

I agree that this cannot damage Buddhism. You can't insult or blaspheme against a Buddha as you can against other religious figures, because Buddhas are beyond being injured by anger. Only samsaric gods and their prophets can suffer from blasphemy. (Imagine what would happen to a bank that issued a card with a picture of ....).

Maybe these cards are even a good thing, if you believe that seeing an image of a Buddha creates karmic imprints to receive the Dharma. Just think how many people will look at them in the course of their use.

On a lighter note. Would the bank allow me to accumulate an enormous debt if I promised to pay it off during the next life, like the ancient Druids?

Andy said...

I went into two department stores today. One had multiple buddha statues for sale in the 'Home' section. The other had an array of perfume bottles decorated with images of the Buddha, a Lotus, the OM symbol and so on, ad nauseum.

It saddens me slightly, but nothing is immune to this kind of commodification. In the same store as the buddha statues I saw a children's T-shirt with the words 'DROP BEATS NOT BOMBS'. Probably made in a sweat shop, but that's okay, so long as your kids look cool and counter-culture.

Tim said...

Nothing EVER surprises me. I was telling The Lady that if the MLB could figure out a way to make the bases mono chromatic every base would show a logo and steals and singles etc. would be sponsered by Bud, Bank of America and/or Dunkin Doughnuts. THEN...I found out that they did indeed look at the possibility.
War in Iraq...sponsered by Haliburton?
Don't get me started!!!!

They call him James Ure said...


Let me know what B.O.A says. ;)


Yeah the whole thing seems kinda silly.


Point taken. At least they are trying to do SOME good with it.


"Consciousness on credit." That's a good one. :)


Hmmm, maybe once they open Buddha airlines with direct service to the Pure Land.


Yeah I too can see both sides to this one.


*smiles back*


Great points and some good humor in there. I especially liked your discussion that this can not Buddhas or ourselves unless we allow it to.


I purchased a little Buddha in a dept. store awhile back and wondered who else but Buddhists would buy them? I guess, however, having such things in ones house is en vogue.

Oh well I guess we should just hope that buying that Buddha statue will bring them some kind of peace.


I'm not surprised by much either these days. I thought though that I'd heard it all until you told me about the MLB base marketing. How much lower will sports go.

You know, I bet someday there will be a massive Neon sign on the moon saying, "The Moon: Sponsored by Starbucks."

TaraDharma said...

credit? debt? purchasing power? enlightenment? wow. we are being sold a lot of dookey to keep us off the path, and it works.

brian, yes, can you imagine the outcry if ....'s image was used on a credit card (take your pic, most religious icons would apply).

I must shake my head and walk on....

Eu Jin said...

Isn't strange that the mind get unsettled over it and is set into a train of thoughts? Amazing...

Gregor said...


Bank of America said, "shut up, just keep sending us your paycheck!!"

Unfortunately I ran up some credit card debt in that, "Hungry ghost" period of my life. On the bright side I think I'll have everything paid off sometime in next year.

Mellyagaunce said...

Did anyone see the Zen, green tea liquor? I'm not sure how I feel about that. On one hand I want to think it's cool, but cool in a kind of destroying an entire culture kind of way....hmmmm.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Shortcut to enlightenment. Get 'em while they're hot!

How American to take something sacred and use it for materialistic pursuit. I think "use" is the operative word here.

Maybe the thinking is that if one has enough of the trappings, the work won't be necessary.

They call him James Ure said...


I agree about just laughing and walking on.

Eu Jin:

I find the whole thing just funny actually. ;)


I did too but most of the credit card debt we accrued was just to pay for groceries in a rough period.


Yeah I'm not too excited about the Zen Liquor idea.


Exactly, there is nothing sacred to the business community it seems. People will try and make a dollar on anything that they can exploit.

rawallison said...

I think a card with this image can be helpful to people who want reminders about the Buddhist tenets. Maybe they will think twice about what they are spending on or why they are spending. Maybe they will remember to do something positive with the card, such as donating to a worthy cause. This is how I would make the card meaningful for me, rather than using it to create negative energy.

They call him James Ure said...

Raw Allison:

Good point. Thanks for adding to the conversation. I think you're right that in the end, if good is being accomplished then that's what should be focused upon.

I just hope that it doesn't draw more people into debt thinking that they are doing good in buying because what they are buying is for a worthy cause thus causing some to spend more.

Thus, in the mean time they could be sliding further into debt that they might not be able to pay off which would create a lot of suffering.

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