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Dhamma Wheel • View topic - Maha Bodhi Temple

Maha Bodhi Temple

Pictures of revered teachers, places, rupas, temples, bhikkhus, shrine rooms etc. that bring inspiration to our members. Pilgrimage advice etc.

Re: 100kg Thai gold for Shrine

Postby chownah » Sun Nov 17, 2013 2:57 am

I think the Buddha would like it too........he really loved his bling didn't he? I can't remember where in the Pali Canon he talks about how inspirational bling is......can some find a reference to this so we can show how really important bling can be?
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Re: 100kg Thai gold for Shrine

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Nov 17, 2013 3:27 am

chownah wrote:I think the Buddha would like it too........he really loved his bling didn't he? I can't remember where in the Pali Canon he talks about how inspirational bling is......can some find a reference to this so we can show how really important bling can be?
chownah


See this post from Ven. Pesala:

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Sandalwood is expensive, about £300 for 15kg (story), and I am sure that it was equally expensive in the Buddha's time. One might use it to make a jewellery box, but no one would use it to make tables and chairs. However, the Buddha's Gandhakuṭi was made entirely of the best quality sandalwood. In today's money it would have cost millions just for the timber.

The point is that wealthy donors can offer luxurious gifts to monks or the Saṅgha if they wish. If a wealthy business person or film-star wanted to invite a monk to give a blessing, would they buy them an economy class ticket or a business class ticket? If they themselves usually travel business class, to buy an economy class ticket might be regarded as mean.

From the monk's point of view, we should not care whether donors offer plain or luxurious requisites. If we reflect as we should then we will remain content with the bare minimum required to sustain the holy life. If donors offer excellent things, then we can rejoice in their generosity and faith in the Dhamma.


http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 83#p265859

And note, this proposed gift is not for any monk(s) in particular, but to all Buddhists who venerate this pilgrimage site.
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Re: 100kg Thai gold for Shrine

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Nov 17, 2013 5:43 am

From the Mahāsi Sayādaw's Discourse on the Wheel of Dhamma

The effort to rouse wholesome states that have not yet arisen means that one should, to the best of one’s ability, perform meritorious deeds that one has not done yet. Giving alms (dāna), undertaking and observing precepts, the practice of tranquillity meditation, and the practice of insight meditation are all meritorious deeds.

Some distort the true teaching of the Buddha by teaching that meritorious deeds will prolong the cycle of existences. According to them, meritorious deeds are volitional actions (saṅkhārā), which are conditioned by ignorance (avijjā). The Law of Dependent Origination says, “Conditioned by volitional actions rebirth consciousness arises (saṅkhāra paccayā viññāṇaṃ).” Therefore, according to them, meritorious deeds (kusala saṅkhārā) will cause the arising of rebirth-consciousness, so they must be abandoned. Such an assertion contradicts the true meaning of the Buddha’s teaching and is very misleading. In fact, if meritorious deeds were to be given up, one would be left entirely with demeritorious deeds, which would not only prolong the cycle of existences, but would surely lead to the four lower realms. The real cause for the ceaseless rounds of rebirths is rooted in the defilements of ignorance and craving. These defilements can be removed by meritorious deeds, which should therefore be performed with a view to eradicating these defilements.

A simple meritorious deed can lead to rebirth in a fortunate abode (sugati), whereas Dhamma can be studied and practised to become a Noble One, thus escaping from the suffering of the lower realms and the endless cycle of existence. The story of the frog deity serves to illustrate this point.
The frog deity was a frog in his previous existence when he happened to hear a discourse given by the Blessed One. Without understanding a word of the discourse, the frog listened to it with respectful attention and devotion, for which meritorious deed, he was reborn in the deva realm. As a deva he gained the opportunity of listening to the Buddha’s teaching again, by virtue of which he attained the stage of a Stream-winner.

Thus effort should be made to rouse any kind of wholesome states that have not yet arisen, especially the meritorious deeds that would lead to the Noble Path. Every time such an effort is made, one is developing the path factor of Right Effort.

So no one should dissuade anyone from performing meritorious deeds such as charity, if they are so inclined. To do so would be the unwholesome kamma of causing an obstruction to charity, which would result in poverty throughout many lives.

However, those giving charity should reflect wisely so that they have the noblest motivation.

Three Kinds of Donation
Donation longing for praise and fame is inferior; donation hoping for wealth or celestial realms is medium; donation aspiring to nibbāna is superior.

Giving charity is also practising the Dhamma in accordance with the Dhamma. However, observing morality is superior to giving charity, and developing concentration and insight is superior to both. See the Kutudanta Sutta of the Dīghanikāya for details.
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Re: 100kg Thai gold for Shrine

Postby Mr Man » Sun Nov 17, 2013 10:31 am

Would gilding be in keeping with the architectural aesthetic of the temple? Isn't the temple a "World Heritage Site"?
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Re: 100kg Thai gold for Shrine

Postby chownah » Sun Nov 17, 2013 10:51 am

David N. Snyder wrote:
chownah wrote:I think the Buddha would like it too........he really loved his bling didn't he? I can't remember where in the Pali Canon he talks about how inspirational bling is......can some find a reference to this so we can show how really important bling can be?
chownah


See this post from Ven. Pesala:

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Sandalwood is expensive, about £300 for 15kg (story), and I am sure that it was equally expensive in the Buddha's time. One might use it to make a jewellery box, but no one would use it to make tables and chairs. However, the Buddha's Gandhakuṭi was made entirely of the best quality sandalwood. In today's money it would have cost millions just for the timber.

The point is that wealthy donors can offer luxurious gifts to monks or the Saṅgha if they wish. If a wealthy business person or film-star wanted to invite a monk to give a blessing, would they buy them an economy class ticket or a business class ticket? If they themselves usually travel business class, to buy an economy class ticket might be regarded as mean.

From the monk's point of view, we should not care whether donors offer plain or luxurious requisites. If we reflect as we should then we will remain content with the bare minimum required to sustain the holy life. If donors offer excellent things, then we can rejoice in their generosity and faith in the Dhamma.


viewtopic.php?f=16&t=18983#p265859

And note, this proposed gift is not for any monk(s) in particular, but to all Buddhists who venerate this pilgrimage site.

Do you think the Buddha would have liked it? That is what I was talking about, not whether people have the right to give bling as a meritorious deed. Certainly people can give whatever they want and consider it to be a meritorious deed. If giving bling is as meritorious as you can get then by all means give bling......and after all it is the thought that counts and many people think that gold is special in some way that escapes me and I certainly would not want to get in the way of anyone wanting to bling up an ancient structure.

Do you think that it is possible for some people to have some deluded ideas about gold and it's importance?......like thinking that gold is special in some way or that it's application is somehow beneficial?......like thinking that gold is "precious"? If there are mistaken beliefs about gold do you think it would be good if people were gently shown that their value system is skewed? Is it possible that for some people the application of gold to a temple or image constitutes an empty ritual.....or even idol worship?

Do you think the Buddha would have liked the temple better with gold trimmings? If one meditates at the base of a tree would it be better if the tree had gold trim?....sort of like a Buddmas tree?

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Re: 100kg Thai gold for Shrine

Postby Virgo » Sun Nov 17, 2013 11:21 am

This is from the Netti (the Guide): http://vipassana.weebly.com/uploads/1/1 ... li1977.pdf

    "<It was indeed a mighty thing
    That I upon the monument
    Erected to the Greatest Sage
    [141] Did place four lilies and a wreath.
    Today these thirty aeons have passed,
    And I since then have no more been
    To a bad destination; for
    I honoured the Master's monument> ( ).

This is the type of Thread dealing with morality.

    801. <1 honoured once the monument of him that wore
    The Marks of a Great Man that number thirty-two,
    The Helper of the World, Victorious in Battle,
    For which I have rejoiced a hundred thousand aeons.
    Such was the merit that I stored away [thereby]
    And such the godly blessing through that merit [gained]
    That I had work of kings to do [for all that time]
    Without once ever going to perdition. [Now]
    My heart is so disposed that I obtained in full
    799/1 C, Ba and Bb read vaddhetha. The Pattern of the Dispensation 189
    That Eye [of understanding] in the Dispensation
    Of him that was the Tamer great of the untamed;
    My heart is freed, and now the Creeper, has been shaken off>
    ( )•
This is the type of Thread dealing with morality."

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Re: 100kg Thai gold for Shrine

Postby Virgo » Sun Nov 17, 2013 11:28 am

Making an offering to such an amazing monument is no trifling act...

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Re: 100kg Thai gold for Shrine

Postby Virgo » Sun Nov 17, 2013 11:40 am

Having and respecting monuments, shrines, etc. is allowable and good.

See:

"Every time the Buddha stayed in Savatthi, Anathapindika visited him. At other times, however, he felt bereft without a tangible support for worship. Therefore, one day he told Ananda of his wish to build a shrine. When Ananda reported this to the Enlightened One, he answered that there are three types of shrines; memorials, monuments, and holy places. The first type was based upon a corporeal relic, which, after the death of an Enlightened One, was stored in a stupa; the second was based on an object which had a connection with the Enlightened One and had been used by him (often an almsbowl); the third was a symbol without a material object. Of these three visible supports for worship, the first was not yet a possibility as long as he was living. The third possibility would not be appropriate for those who could not content themselves with a mere picture or a symbol. There remained only the second possibility.

The Tree of Enlightenment — the Bodhi tree in Uruvela — seemed the best object to serve as a memorial to the Blessed One. Under it the Enlightened One had opened the door to the Deathless, to salvation; under it he had taught and had remained in absorption. So it was decided to plant a small shoot of this tree in Savatthi.

Maha Moggallana brought a cutting from the tree which was to be planted at the gate-tower of the Jeta Grove in the presence of the court and the most distinguished of the monks and laity. Ananda presented the sapling to the king for the ceremonial planting. But King Pasenadi replied, with princely humility, that he served in this life merely as a steward for the office of the king. It would be more appropriate that someone with a closer relationship to the Teaching consecrate the tree. So he presented the shoot to Anathapindika who was standing next to him.

The tree grew and became an object of devotion for all the pious laity. At the request of Ananda, the Enlightened One spent a night sitting under the tree in order to bestow on it another more distinguished consecration. Anathapindika often sought out the tree and used the memories associated with it and the spiritual upliftment which he received there to focus his thoughts on the Enlightened One. (J 479)"

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/hecker/wheel334.html

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Re: 100kg Thai gold for Shrine

Postby chownah » Mon Nov 18, 2013 3:24 am

Virgo wrote:Making an offering to such an amazing monument is no trifling act...

Kevin

Indeed making offerings is not a trifling act. It is of such importance that I think it is worth studying in detail and examining closely to discern its many facets and ramifications........turning it this way and that way to see it fully........studying the reasoning and the emotions behind this non-trivial act.
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Re: 100kg Thai gold for Shrine

Postby chownah » Tue Nov 19, 2013 2:52 am

Virgo wrote:Having and respecting monuments, shrines, etc. is allowable and good.

"...............
.................
The Tree of Enlightenment — the Bodhi tree in Uruvela — seemed the best object to serve as a memorial to the Blessed One. Under it the Enlightened One had opened the door to the Deathless, to salvation; under it he had taught and had remained in absorption. So it was decided to plant a small shoot of this tree in Savatthi.
...............
................"

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/hecker/wheel334.html

Here it seems that some thought was given as to what was most appropriate......and it seems that something which was closely associated with the life of the Buddha was considered to be most appropriate. The Bodhi tree when viewed by the faithful will almost assuredly lead the mind toward the life and teachings of the Buddha. I wonder how gold can be considered to be appropriate when used to adorn a building.....that is what is the basis for its use? Does gold used this way tend to lead the mind to ponder the life and teachings of the Buddha or does it tend to lead the mind to ponder grandeur and wealth? Of course this is a question that each person must answer for themself. I am not in any way trying to indicate that I know why people give gold in this way and I am not in any way trying to say that it is inappropriate.....I am just wanting to explore different aspects of meritorious deeds.
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Re: 100kg Thai gold for Shrine

Postby cooran » Tue Nov 19, 2013 3:12 am

Thank you for your thoughts and considerations, chownah. Having been to Bodhi Gaya many times,I am not sure how I feel about this myself. It is the Bodhi Tree that I spend most time near, on my visits.

With metta,
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: 100kg Thai gold for Shrine

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Nov 19, 2013 7:00 am

There's a story about a monk who could make no progress in his meditation. Venerable Sāriputta taught him the meditation on repulsiveness of the body (asubha kammaṭṭhāna). He took him to see the Buddha, who looked into his previous lives and found that he had been a goldsmith in 500 previous existences. The Buddha created a beautiful golden flower using his psychic powers, and the goldsmith could gain concentration using it. The Buddha then made the flower fade, and the goldsmith gained the perception of impermanence, realising Arahantship.

The moral is, different things inspire different people. Let those who wish donate gold to shrines, build glorious temples, etc. Let those who wish, donate to orphanages, or cancer charities, or animal charities. Let those who wish revere the Buddha by trying to emulate his example.

The bottom line is that only developing insight into the three characteristics — impermanence, unsatisfactoriness or suffering, and insubstantiality or not-self — will lead to the end of suffering.
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Re: 100kg Thai gold for Shrine

Postby lyndon taylor » Tue Nov 19, 2013 7:11 am

"but the greatest gift is charity, not giving gold for temples" There really is not anything higher than helping those in need, your own suffering pales in comparison to some of these others, like the victims in the Phillipines for example. So many people think of Buddhism selfishly, all about me, me, me and my liberation, perhaps if you thought instead about them, them, them you would have that much less time to think about your own suffering!
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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Re: 100kg Thai gold for Shrine

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Nov 19, 2013 7:28 am

lyndon taylor wrote:"but the greatest gift is charity, not giving gold for temples"

According to the Buddha, the greatest gift is the gift of the Dhamma.

The Gift of Truth Excels All Other Gifts

Sabbadānaṃ dhammadānaṃ jināti, sabbarasaṃ dhammaraso jināti.
Sabbaratiṃ dhammarati jināti, taṇhakkhayo sabbadukkhaṃ jināti.

“The gift of Truth excels all (other) gifts.
The flavour of Truth excels all (other) flavours.
The pleasure in Truth excels all (other) pleasures.
He who has destroyed craving overcomes all sorrow.” Dhp.v.354
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Re: 100kg Thai gold for Shrine

Postby lyndon taylor » Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:10 am

I guess to you, then, the Dhamma does not involve any giving to those suffering or in need. Dhamma involves helping all beings, not just yourself, or even primarily yourself, that's just selfishness.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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Re: 100kg Thai gold for Shrine

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:25 pm

lyndon taylor wrote:I guess to you, then, the Dhamma does not involve any giving to those suffering or in need. Dhamma involves helping all beings, not just yourself, or even primarily yourself, that's just selfishness.


Not true at all. See the Venerabe's previous post. Giving can taking many different forms. Who are we, who is anyone to question someone's gift. The whole line of questioning seems quite odd. Yes it is good to give to the poor. So is giving the Dhamma. Maybe beautiful temples are not inspiring to some, but they are inspiring to millions of others. And if that helps them along on the Path, why not? By bringing more people out of suffering, following the Dhamma, the good may be actually greater, but who are we to speculate on such a thing. It is a gift, we should rejoice in their merit and generosity.
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Re: 100kg Thai gold for Shrine

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:32 pm

100 Kg of gold is worth about £2.6 million, which is a substantial sum. There's no end of different ways that it could be used to benefit others. If it's your money, then you get to choose where to donate it. I don't have any money to donate — if I did, I would choose option 2. I do have some time to give, which I give freely to help in any way that I can.

Possible ways to spend £2.6m
  1. Donate 100 Kg of gold to the Mahābodhi temple
  2. Build a meditation centre where anyone can practice free of charge
  3. Build a monastery and invite a few bhikkhus or bhikkhuṇis if you wish, then they can teach Dhamma and meditation to the local supporters
  4. Build a school or hospital in the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Burma, or wherever you think it's needed
  5. Build some homes and donate a trawler for the fishermen in the Philippines who lost their homes and livelihood.
  6. Just donate the money to some trusted charity, and let them decide where the funds are most needed/useful.
It's a worthwhile topic to ponder. If you had a large amount of money to donate, how would it produce the greatest benefit? However, please understand that everyone is entitled to their own POV. Don't insult anyone by insinuating that they are selfish by donating to a pagoda or to a monastery, rather than to starving or homeless persons. Keeping the money to use for one's own sensual enjoyment might be called selfish.
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Re: 100kg Thai gold for Shrine

Postby lyndon taylor » Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:42 pm

I'm not impuning you, Bhikkhu, I'm merely pointing out that it is a mistake to think one's own enlightenment and progress on the path is more important than helping others, when in fact the two should go hand in hand. The Dhamma is not more important than charity work, when in truth the Dhamma involves charity and care and concern for all beings. When ever you get the idea that your progress is more important than others, selfishness, you lose track that with out helping all beings you aren't really benefiting yourself, either. The whole notion of enlightenment is to help all beings, not to push beings aside to focus on yourself.

As to the Gold, how about a compromise, a thinner coating of gold leaf on the temple and sell the rest of the gold to aid destitute people around the temple, a win win. I"ve had it up to here with Christian churches spending all their money on expensive churches and schools, while having nothing left over to help the poor, and I certainly am not going to be any more forgiving to Buddhist organizations doing the same. Your liberation comes from liberating others, not from having nicer temples to worship in, IMHO
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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Re: 100kg Thai gold for Shrine

Postby appicchato » Tue Nov 19, 2013 1:23 pm

Here we go...*

*posted earlier, deleted, reposted...
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Re: 100kg Thai gold for Shrine

Postby daverupa » Tue Nov 19, 2013 3:43 pm

chownah wrote:Do you think the Buddha would have liked it? That is what I was talking about, not whether people have the right to give bling as a meritorious deed. Certainly people can give whatever they want and consider it to be a meritorious deed. If giving bling is as meritorious as you can get then by all means give bling......and after all it is the thought that counts and many people think that gold is special in some way that escapes me and I certainly would not want to get in the way of anyone wanting to bling up an ancient structure.

Do you think that it is possible for some people to have some deluded ideas about gold and it's importance?......like thinking that gold is special in some way or that it's application is somehow beneficial?......like thinking that gold is "precious"? If there are mistaken beliefs about gold do you think it would be good if people were gently shown that their value system is skewed? Is it possible that for some people the application of gold to a temple or image constitutes an empty ritual.....or even idol worship?

Do you think the Buddha would have liked the temple better with gold trimmings? If one meditates at the base of a tree would it be better if the tree had gold trim?....sort of like a Buddmas tree?

chownah


:goodpost:

I note that gold extraction, as with many modern mining strategies, is associated with hazardous pollution. Furthermore, why ductile, high-lustre metals should be seen as economically precious in and of themselves - i.e. that they are not treated as simply other industrial metals - is a subtle insanity, though this particular form of insanity among humans seems to stretch into prehistory.

David N. Snyder wrote:If it inspires people to practice to have a beautiful temple, why not?


This starts to broach a discussion of the interface between (un-)sustainable livelihoods and the use of nonrenewable resources (such as gold). So much is indicated here as an important concern for humans now and going forward on this wee planet...

...but nah, let's collect bling so temporary stuff looks good to us, and never mind the obliteration of resources for future generations on account of superficialities and entertainments...

:shrug:

Live a Dhammic life, and draw people into dialogue. Don't gild temples and draw people into buildings while shooting future humans in the foot...
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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