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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Buddha teddy bear looks for blessings

Buddha teddy bear looks for blessings

Buddha teddy bear looks for blessings

Buddhabear, a teddy bear created by the "buddhachannel" in Paris, is seeking

blessings from the Buddhist leaders of Cambodia before distribution of the product

begins next year.

The slightly smiling, meditative Buddhabear, whose eyes are full of compassion, is

in its final stage of development and is set to debut beginning of February in Germany,

the U.S. and Canada.

Leading German teddy bear manufacturer, Steiff, will make the bear in four sizes,

the smallest meant to hang on a key chain.

It will be sold along with books, 3D animation movies and the Buddhabear Game, a

personal development game for children, an official at the buddhachannel said in

an interview from Paris.

Officials working on the project said the teddy bear has already received the support

of Buddhist leaders in many countries in Asia and it is now looking for spiritual

support in Cambodia.

"I am now still seeking the permission from the Ministry of Cults and Religion,

as directed by His Holiness Tep Vong," said Jean Pierre Sauvageot in Phnom Penh.

Vong is the highest ranking Buddhist figure in Cambodia.

Tep Vong, leader of the Mohanikaya branch of Buddhism in Cambodia, said he is not

certain about the bear.

"Making Buddha into a toy is disrespectful to Buddha and Buddhism," Vong

said.

He said he will give his blessing if the Ministry of Cults and Religion agrees to

the plan - and when he sees the real object since he can't bless something in absentia.

Alain Delaporte Digard, the director of the project, told the Post that his Buddhabear

is not a toy but is a learning tool for children that seeks to teach Buddhist values

particularly to people in non Buddhist countries.

He said Buddhabear is not a toy but is meant as a companion. He described it as "a

proposition to be more peaceful and learn what is the inner silence but with a funny

style."

"Funny, but deep," he said.

Digard said 10% of the proceeds from sales will go back to the Buddhist communities

where the bear receives blessings. The monks will be in charge of distributing the

funds.

The Buddhabear has already received blessings from Sangharaja Bour Kry - head of

the Dhammayuttika branch of Cambodian Buddhists. It also received blessings from

masters in India, Tibet, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, the U.S., and Japan.

Digard said the project will go ahead regardless of additional blessings because

it has been two years in the making. The prototype was just finished last week, he

said.

"We met a lot of Buddhist monks and Buddhist monasteries. Everybody was enthusiastic,"

he said. "Nobody said it's not nice for the spirit."

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