chownah wrote:First, does anyone really think that gilding the spire will appreciably increase tourism?........
It might. If not, that is okay too. It will still look nice and inspire some. It may not inspire you, but it would for millions of others.
are people not going to visit the temple because it is too ugly and blinging it up like a Las Vegas casino will make the difference?
Probably not, but it will still look nice and inspire some.
If it will attract people interested in seeing the bling are these the kinds of tourists we want to attract?
Sure, why not? Buddhism is not for arahants only. People are at all levels of stages and development along the Path. It is not an elitist religion. And the Buddha did use skillful means.
And if this is the way we want to attract more tourists do you really think that the poor people of the region will benefit?
Yes, most definitely. There are numerous mom-and-pop businesses and street vendors, hotels, etc. there.
Seems like those already in a business catering to tourists (I'm assuming there are already lots of tourists going there with businesses catering to them) will just make more money and the trickle down to the poor will be marginal. If we accept that perhaps some poor people will be helped then if a group of Thai Buddhists wanted to fund the largest Golden Arches in the world and put it right across the street from the temple and establish the largest McDonalds hamburger stand in the world there should we whole heartedly agree that it's a good idea as it will help the poor people in the area?
The local vendors are poor and they do make a living from selling souvenirs and other items to Buddhist pilgrims. That is up to McDonalds and the local zoning if they are to open there.
Should we be enthusiastic about gilding famous religious structures around the world to increase tourism and thus help the poor people of the area......places like the wailing wall in Jerusalem?
That is not our concern what others want to do with their religious structures. The Sikh golden temple is pretty beautiful. And there are some Hindu golden temples too. And of course the Shwedagon Pagoda in Burma is gold as is the Kyoto Temple in Japan.