Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Why fret about impermanent material things?
The life-span of Buddhism doesn't depend on ancient monuments, it depends on the living practice of its followers. Instead of preserving useless tourist attractions in a Moslem country, develop meditation centres in Buddhist countries or wherever Buddhism is being followed.
We don't need to know how Buddhists practised 2,500 years ago in Afghanistan, we need to know how Buddhists are practising here and now, wherever that may be.
"Useless tourist attraction?" is that what you think all these people are frantically trying to save, Bhante?
I think just as it is counter-productive to try to live in the past, it is short-sighted to simply dismiss the past and our deep link to it. Understanding how the Dhamma was practiced 2500 years ago may well enrich the way we practice now.
But the main point was (to me) that these ancient momuments besides being an invaluable resource in trying to understand the past, are a symbol of the flourishing of the Dhamma, of thousands of practitioners' dedication to the Dhamma, of hard work of countless hands and they will be bulldozed with no regard to all this in yet another chase after profit. We see this happening in the Amazon, we see this in illegal logging in Sarawak. Whether our cultural heritage or pristine rainforest, this disregard for the priceless that cannot be converted into hard cash is shaping our culture and it is shaping up more and more as a culture of greed. What sort of a practice environment is this? Is this conducive to liberation?
So do we just watch it passively or turn away and focus on our own practice until there is nothing left standing that is not serving our material consumption? Nothing even to remind us that there was once a time when people toiled not just to fill their bellies and fulfill their desires but for a higher purpose?
The utilitarian approach can certainly sound rational and logically persuasive, but it neglects the heart. Whether ancient ruins or pristine rainforest, I hope we rediscover a deep respect for our planet and our heritage. This is what this documentary is about for me, not fretting over tourist attractions or ancient monuments. Our culture is being shaped by these events and
by our response to them.