While we celebrate our Matthieu Ricards and Ajahn Brahms (in other words, Buddhists who come close to celebrity status and are certainly so in our various sanghas), it is important to remember that they also embody the basic virtues of Buddhist living: thrift, simplicity, honesty, and guilelessness. One can see the application of marketing-savvy, skilful means, and in a world where media and impressions dominate decision-making, this is an understandable (and sometimes effective shift). This is not to say that there should be limits, not only on the basis of finance but also morals.
Of course, we wish to see Buddhism thrive in the 21st century and beyond. But our motivation of disseminating and projecting the voice of the Buddha should be a simple and guileless one. It is also true that Buddhist communities should be bold in reaching out to the young, to use “modern” means to propagate a timeless message. But it is a different thing to chase after worldly glamour, particularly that which is associated by society with secular celebrities. Buddhism has an image of dignity to maintain and the ideal is that this quiet, spiritual dignity can be seen on the outside as well as skin-deep. And if nothing else, attachment to forms has never been the way forward spiritually.