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In China the symbol of the Fat Buddha is a robust symbol of health,prosperity and happiness and much favoured as a religious artefact in people's homes and businesses. However in the UK northern city of Durham the local council objected to a Chinese restaurant being named "The Fat Buddha" ..on the basis that it considered the name might bring offence to followers of the Buddhists religion.
The owner Eddie Fung's £1.3million restaurant opened in 2007 but the local council insisted that he should change the name from that of the Fat Buddha as they considered the name 'provocative'.
He was so amazed at the council's decision he was qouted as saying "I cannot believe that the council would go to so much time and trouble by taking issue over such an inoffensive name like the Fat Buddha.”
Furthermore he added "No Buddhist will be offended by this. The Fat Buddha is a symbol of health and happiness. “
A spokesman for the Buddhist Society remarked: "Buddhists regard the fat Buddha as being a lucky symbol. To suggest naming a restaurant The Fat Buddha is offensive would be to misunderstand our faith."
"Buddhists do not take offence at this because to do wouldn't follow what the Buddha taught ."
The restaurant owner Eddie also added that his company had received no complaints about the use of the name Fat Buddha at his first restaurant, which opened in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 2007.
The council's letter of complaint stated "The generic descriptive adjective of "fat" whilst not in itself being derogatory term when applied generally the name implies an Eastern offer as it is associated with a religion that grew in the countries of Asia. This restaurant however does not offer exclusively vegetarian cuisine nor does it make reference to Buddhist belief systems. Therefore we believe that the name “The Fat Buddha” to be provocative."
Durham Council went on further adding that they considered the name Fat Buddha was inappropriate in their city which was one founded on faith and they had no desire to offend anyone because of the many different people of faith who lived and visited the city. However Eddie Fung remained adamant the name would remain and to this day the restaurant still bears the name “The Fat Buddha” and the restaurant does of of course house many Fat Buddha statues so to celebrate it's name of "The Fat Buddha".