The whole Buddha trend has filled a huge need in the Western psyche. Once God was dead and Christians found their images repellent and reminiscent of embarrassing innocence they quickly sought out something else to fill its place.
What better than a smiling peaceful 'other', some shiny stones and empty bowls? Superficial symbols of peace as house fashion. I went to someone's house last year and it was full of Thai buddhas. I asked if they were Buddhist? No. I asked the owners if they were studying Buddhism? No. I asked if they were interested in Buddhism. By this stage they were looking at me with am apologetic look and helpless shoulders.
I didn't mean any disrespect, but I just didn't understand why they had religious artifacts from another culture in their house. I really didn't understand. But then I saw Buddhas in IKEA, and realised it was fashion. Slow me. And here we are, sitting in a hotel with Zen images above our beds and bamboo in the foyer. Om then.