Saturday, April 11, 2009

Extra Care When Handling Donors' Offerings

I would like to share a reminder that we need to be careful when we are collecting donations. It does not matter whom we collect from, as long as something of monetary value is passed to us or an offering material, we need to exercise care to ensure it is channeled to its intended use.

For example, if the money is collected for “Auspicious lamp lighting”, make sure you have a place for devotees to light a candle and place the offering somewhere at the altar. It is not adequate to just put up their names on the board. You do want the candle (or in the case of Than Hsiang temple – a bulb) to be actually lighted and offered to the Buddha. If you promise to it for them later, make sure it is done - every single one of them. Also, it is good to be clear as to whether a partial amount or the entire donation/ sponsorship go to foot the cost of the event. In order to prevent any negative karma, it is good to state that whatever balance of the sponsorship for that particular event will go to the general funds of the temple. This is so that people are clear as to its use. Money - no matter how little is from being’s hard earned blood and sweat. Money is even more precious in the current economic bad times.

I bring up this matter with good intentions as I have read in The Nectar of Manjusri’s Speech (by Kunsang Pelden) and in various other teachings that people who handle temple money or offerings must be extra careful with them. There are stories being told inside this text and it gives me the creeps. The stories tell of the serious consequences of mishandling them. The negative karma will come, even though there are other positive ones from your service to the temple.

So, even though if someone were to repeat this advice again and again, WE DO WANT TO HEAR IT! There is no such thing as “being too careful” when it comes to sentient being’s offerings.

Sometimes, we get too carried away with fundraising until we forget our responsibility to the donors/sponsors.

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