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.
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725
(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •
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