Giant Buddha Rupas - Pros and Cons

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Giant Buddha Rupas - Pros and Cons

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Feb 28, 2010 11:35 am

[ Split from The Biggest Buddhas in Thailand (maybe on Earth) - viewtopic.php?f=27&t=3731]

“Whoever sees the Dhamma, sees the Buddha.”

What is the use of this colossal image? Is the Dhamma any more visible in Thailand due to its construction? Perhaps a huge meditation centre could have been built in its place, but it would probably be empty most of the time.

Its just a huge sign of the continuing downward spiral of Buddhism — all for outward appearances and no inner development.
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Re: The Biggest Buddhas in Thailand (maybe on Earth)

Postby Lampang » Sun Feb 28, 2010 12:19 pm

I can't help thinking that it's not the wisest use of resources. How much concrete is there in that? How much did it cost? Is it really worth all that CO2 & money?
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Re: The Biggest Buddhas in Thailand (maybe on Earth)

Postby mykeawja » Sun Feb 28, 2010 1:37 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:“Whoever sees the Dhamma, sees the Buddha.”

What is the use of this colossal image? Is the Dhamma any more visible in Thailand due to its construction? Perhaps a huge meditation centre could have been built in its place, but it would probably be empty most of the time.

Its just a huge sign of the continuing downward spiral of Buddhism — all for outward appearances and no inner development.


Thanks for your post.

For Thai people who never interested in Buddha.
Perhaps this largest thing could make them turn to look.
Although not all have the core of Buddhism.
But that makes it difficult for people to understand or interest Buddha without incentives.
When turned to see what the largest.
Dhamma and education from this thing will make them just to see more.
One day, they will understand what does not.
Eventually, he will stare as it understands.
The important thing is not the size or something else.

(Sorry for my English, I try my best to tell you)
Sometime...Nothing is nothing.
Sometime...Nothing is the best.
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Re: The Biggest Buddhas in Thailand (maybe on Earth)

Postby appicchato » Sun Feb 28, 2010 2:17 pm

For Thai people who never interested in Buddha.
Perhaps this largest thing could make them turn to look.
Although not all have the core of Buddhism.
But that makes it difficult for people to understand or interest Buddha without incentives.
When turned to see what the largest.
Dhamma and education from this thing will make them just to see more.
One day, they will understand what does not.
Eventually, he will stare as it understands.
The important thing is not the size or something else.

That's, at least, a positive way of looking at it...many of my Occidental friends only see the negative...

I can't help thinking that it's not the wisest use of resources. How much concrete is there in that? How much did it cost? Is it really worth all that CO2 & money?


Beats the billions we're spending everyday killing people, wouldn't you say?...
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Re: The Biggest Buddhas in Thailand (maybe on Earth)

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Feb 28, 2010 7:30 pm

appicchato wrote:Beats the billions we're spending everyday killing people, wouldn't you say?...

This is a non-sequitur. Buddhist devotees do not kill people, and would certainly not donate money to buy weapons. With a little more skilful guidance from their monks, perhaps they might spend their precious donations more wisely. We monks should not just go along with whatever our supporters wish if it not in their own best interests.

When my supporters organized a demonstration outside the Afghan embassy to protest at the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas, I advised them: “Buddhism cannot be destroyed by non Buddhists. It can only be destroyed by Buddhists who fail to practise the Dhamma properly.”
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Re: The Biggest Buddhas in Thailand (maybe on Earth)

Postby appicchato » Sun Feb 28, 2010 9:48 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
appicchato wrote:Beats the billions we're spending everyday killing people, wouldn't you say?...

This is a non-sequitur. Buddhist devotees do not kill people, and would certainly not donate money to buy weapons. With a little more skilful guidance from their monks, perhaps they might spend their precious donations more wisely. We monks should not just go along with whatever our supporters wish if it not in their own best interests.

When my supporters organized a demonstration outside the Afghan embassy to protest at the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas, I advised them: “Buddhism cannot be destroyed by non Buddhists. It can only be destroyed by Buddhists who fail to practise the Dhamma properly.”


Greetings Venerable,

(Tax paying) Buddhist devotees, while not donating towards killing, do contribute (thereby facilitating) toward the financing of it...sequitur...

Your advice to your supporters, to me, seems more of a statement rather than advisement...

Be well... :smile:
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Re: The Biggest Buddhas in Thailand (maybe on Earth)

Postby jcsuperstar » Sun Feb 28, 2010 9:56 pm

you know when i 1st saw those huge Buddhas in the picture, i thought about how some would say they are a waste, and i know in the past i would have said the same, however after living with Asian Buddhists for the last 1/2 a decade or so it has dawned on me that this is simply the way things are, the way the dhamma or reverence for the dhamma is expressed for them, so i no longer care, now i see a huge Buddha and i think oh cool, or i want to go see that! i have let go of the want to change things that i have no control of (at least in this instance anyways). but for all the detractors of over-sized over priced Buddha statues and gaudy temples i bet for each of those things out there at least one person was inspired, at least one person got interested or learned more of the dhamma.
and if our (Buddhist) history has shown us anything it only takes one persons efforts to set a wheel in motion.
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Re: The Biggest Buddhas in Thailand (maybe on Earth)

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Feb 28, 2010 11:10 pm

appicchato wrote:Tax paying) Buddhist devotees, while not donating towards killing, do contribute (thereby facilitating) toward the financing of it...sequitur...

Buddhist devotees have to obey the law of the land and pay their taxes. That billions of baht are allegedly spent on weapons by the Thai government is totally irrelevant to this discussion.
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Re: The Biggest Buddhas in Thailand (maybe on Earth)

Postby appicchato » Mon Mar 01, 2010 12:26 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
appicchato wrote:Tax paying) Buddhist devotees, while not donating towards killing, do contribute (thereby facilitating) toward the financing of it...sequitur...

Buddhist devotees have to obey the law of the land and pay their taxes. That billions of baht are allegedly spent on weapons by the Thai government is totally irrelevant to this discussion.


All currencies, all nations...
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Re: The Biggest Buddhas in Thailand (maybe on Earth)

Postby mykeawja » Mon Mar 01, 2010 2:10 am

appicchato wrote:
For Thai people who never interested in Buddha.
Perhaps this largest thing could make them turn to look.
Although not all have the core of Buddhism.
But that makes it difficult for people to understand or interest Buddha without incentives.
When turned to see what the largest.
Dhamma and education from this thing will make them just to see more.
One day, they will understand what does not.
Eventually, he will stare as it understands.
The important thing is not the size or something else.


That's, at least, a positive way of looking at it...many of my Occidental friends only see the negative...



I believed that each person has their own experience that lead for looking and thinking on their ways.

Finally, we can not find the reason because each person also have their reasons and all of the reasons are right... Not wrong.

Until everyone start to forget the reason from their experience and their minds.

Then, Start to CLEAN your mind for nothing.

Nothing in your brain and nothing in your mind and nothing to talk about the reason that to point it to be right or wrong.

After that ...the real reason will be shown in your mind and your brain instead.

But this way is very hard to do ...because all our life, we still stick with our own way from thinking in the past and for the future.

So, Our brain is still the boss of our mind ....Until...at least...you found your mind is the boss of your brain.

I believed that my friend :-)
Sometime...Nothing is nothing.
Sometime...Nothing is the best.
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Re: Giant Buddha Rupas - Pros and Cons

Postby Ben » Mon Mar 01, 2010 3:39 am

I think the discussion is interesting.
Where would we be without incredible monuments of devotion such as Shwedagon, Pagan, Kamakura and Borobudr? I think we would all be a little poorer as a result. So I think monumental devotional structures certainly have their place.

On the other hand, I agree with Bhikkhu Pesala that we should look at whether the money could be more wisely spent on something like a meditation centre, the sponsoring of a Buddhist University or even something more mundane such as medical research.

Personally, the world's biggest Buddha rupa doesn't do it for me. I grew up at a time when many communities along the east coast of Australia invested their municipal funds in building 'big' things, such as the big pineapple, the big banana, the big cow, the big sheep, the big lobster. And I believe that destructive introduced species that is so emblematic of coastal queensland, the cane toad, may have already been immotalised by a giant hollow fibreglass statue.
In fact, the list is almost endless. Those structures that are prefixed by 'the big' usually invite interest, not because of what they represent, but because they have become icons of kitch. I also live in a culture where buddha rupas are valued as up-market garden gnomes, so I wonder whether such a massive statue would in-fact devalue the Dhamma in the minds of non-Buddhists.
kind regards

Ben
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Re: Giant Buddha Rupas - Pros and Cons

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Mar 01, 2010 3:48 am

Greetings,

I have a question about the funding of these statues.

When people donate dana in Thailand, do they know what the dana is going to?

The main opportunities I've had to provide dana have been reasonably targeted, with the funds going to a specific thing... e.g. an item for a bhikkhu, contributions to a building fund used to fund construction of meditation halls, contributions to running costs. I'm sure some people would be happy to donate to anything, and some people would prefer to be a bit more targeted with their donations.

In summary, do the funds come out a specifically designed "Giant Buddha Rupa Construction Fund" or are they funded by general non-target-specific donations?

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Giant Buddha Rupas - Pros and Cons

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Mar 01, 2010 4:16 am

Bhikkhu Pesala makes some good points about the proper use of the funds, but on a personal level, I have seen some advantages for some large rupas and temples too.

As others have mentioned, it can be a form of skilful means. For example, if you look at my avatar, you will see me inside the Great Stupa in Colorado, U.S. The statue is about 24 feet. The stupa is 108 feet. The administrators at this Buddhist center told me that participation at retreats and other functions was pretty good before this was built, but after this stupa and rupa were completed, the participation and popularity of this place soared. On some occasions that I have been there, I have even seen tourist buses arrive to see the stupa! (non-Buddhists too, come to see the site, since it is sort of a landmark)
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Re: Giant Buddha Rupas - Pros and Cons

Postby appicchato » Mon Mar 01, 2010 4:28 am

retrofuturist wrote:...do the funds come out a specifically designed "Giant Buddha Rupa Construction Fund" or are they funded by general non-target-specific donations?

Both Paul...albeit depending on where 'it' is built...if it's on temple property, (and the brainchild of) the abbot has discretion over how much goes where, although a large donor will have some sway (if they want it) as to what's to be done with their donation (the larger the donation, the larger the sway)...on private property it's more likely a combination of the owner and the one with the idea, or money...or all three if there are that many...

The answer to your first question is, in my experience, maybe, maybe not...see above...generally not...

This critique is my observation only...and is one that is viewed as an 'outsider'...
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Re: Giant Buddha Rupas - Pros and Cons

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Mar 01, 2010 4:35 am

Greetings bhante,

Thanks for sharing your observations.

Metta,
Paul :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Giant Buddha Rupas - Pros and Cons

Postby mykeawja » Mon Mar 01, 2010 4:36 am

Ben wrote:I think the discussion is interesting.
Where would we be without incredible monuments of devotion such as Shwedagon, Pagan, Kamakura and Borobudr? I think we would all be a little poorer as a result. So I think monumental devotional structures certainly have their place.

On the other hand, I agree with Bhikkhu Pesala that we should look at whether the money could be more wisely spent on something like a meditation centre, the sponsoring of a Buddhist University or even something more mundane such as medical research.

Personally, the world's biggest Buddha rupa doesn't do it for me. I grew up at a time when many communities along the east coast of Australia invested their municipal funds in building 'big' things, such as the big pineapple, the big banana, the big cow, the big sheep, the big lobster. And I believe that destructive introduced species that is so emblematic of coastal queensland, the cane toad, may have already been immotalised by a giant hollow fibreglass statue.
In fact, the list is almost endless. Those structures that are prefixed by 'the big' usually invite interest, not because of what they represent, but because they have become icons of kitch. I also live in a culture where buddha rupas are valued as up-market garden gnomes, so I wonder whether such a massive statue would in-fact devalue the Dhamma in the minds of non-Buddhists.
kind regards

Ben


Thanks for your posted :-)

I would like to compare this Giant thing with the children books (or A B C book) with many beautiful pictures inside.

If we stop to put or add many color pictures in the children books.

This would make these books cheaper.

But...all children will not interest to read the books.

If the children don't want to read. Then, they can not write even read... A B C.

So, in the future...We will not have any good Thesis from the next generation because they are not good writers enough.


Although we collected the money from stop color printing to build many library instead.

But no one will go to the library because they can not read and no good Thesis from the new generation.

Finally. the libraries that nobody uses.

So, please see the giant thing not to be a "Pra-bhud-dha-roop"...
But please see this thing and think it would be an "A B C book"
At least, we still need ...many color pictures inside.


(This is my opinion ...it might be right or wrong)
Sometime...Nothing is nothing.
Sometime...Nothing is the best.
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Re: Giant Buddha Rupas - Pros and Cons

Postby Ben » Mon Mar 01, 2010 6:10 am

Dear mykeawja,
Thanks for your nice reply.
Yes, you are right.
However I may personally feel about it, I hope the giant Buddha-rupa will be a beacon that attracts people to the Dhamma.
Just as Angkor Wat, Borobudr and Shwedagon inspires me.
metta

Ben
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Re: Giant Buddha Rupas - Pros and Cons

Postby Sekha » Mon Mar 01, 2010 9:34 am

Pre-iconic phase (5th century - 1st century BCE)
the Buddha was never represented in human form, but only through Buddhist symbolism. This period may have been aniconic.
This reluctance towards anthropomorphic representations of the Buddha, and the sophisticated development of aniconic symbols to avoid it (even in narrative scene where other human figures would appear), seems to be connected to 70 of the Buddha’s sayings, reported in the Dighanikaya, that disfavored representations of himself after the extinction of his body.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhist_a ... ury_BCE.29

statues of Buddha seem to be in contradiction with his own teaching. Does anyone know which sutta is referred to here?
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Re: Giant Buddha Rupas - Pros and Cons

Postby Dhammabodhi » Mon Mar 01, 2010 5:07 pm

I think a synthesis of the two conflicting ideas might be worth paying attention to. The biggest Buddha rupa in the world, and indeed one of the biggest statues in the world, is currently being built in Kushinagar, India, under the Maitreya project. The organisation which is building it seems to have the right intentions in mind, e.g. to act as a catalyst for developing the region( one of the poorest in India), as well as providing healthcare, education etc to the local populace. It will house huge meditation halls, libraries, and relics, and will attract many pilgrims, tourists and meditators from around the world. There has been some criticism about how the land is being acquired, though. If they succeed in achieving all these goals, with properly engaging locals and helping them towards a better living, I'm all for it.



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Re: Giant Buddha Rupas - Pros and Cons

Postby Lampang » Mon Mar 01, 2010 10:55 pm

I think any consideration of the benefits, and there obviously are benefits, has also to consider the opportunity costs. What else could be done with the same amount of money? Rural Thailand is not a wealthy place and there are real and pressing material needs which should be met. Are the benefits of building a giant statute sufficiently great that they warrant diverting resources away the rather more profane goals of improving health and education? I'm not so sure.
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