Letter: Buddhists angered by Major's insult

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The Independent Online
Sir: When the Prime Minister called John Smith 'a Scottish Buddha' and spoke of 'One small step for the Buddha; one giant leap for the 'brudders' ' in his speech to the Conservative Party conference, the delegates roared with laughter ('Major calls for defence of values', 9 October).

Presumably the phrase was intended as a term of abuse. But for 50,000 Buddhists in the UK - and 350 million around the world - the Buddha is our spiritual teacher and the embodiment of the Buddhist religion.

The Prime Minister's insensitivity is truly extraordinary. Doubtless he will continue to find ways to abuse the leader of the Opposition. But Buddhists will hope that he does not continue to abuse the Buddha and, indeed, that he will apologise for the insult already proffered.

Yours sincerely,


Friends of the Western Buddhist Order

London, N7

10 October