Sunday, May 30, 2010


Two days ago was Wesak Day. In every country where there are Buddhists, they flocked to temples to offer prayers, flowers, incense sticks, and lights to the Buddhas. I was happy to see so many young Buddhists in particular. I just hope they remain active in Buddhism as they grow older. I rejoice in their Wesak activities. In the evening I went to watch the annual Wesak Procession. This year there were less floats. It must be a reflection of the bad economic times. Since I have a small baby Buddha statue, I did the Buddha bathing ceremony at my home too. Generally I was happy with the celebration.

I was, however, appalled by some practices that had been going on for years but nobody said anything. I did it too last time but didnot have the good fortune to be corrected by anyone. I stopped it when I realised that it could potentially generate bad karma from throwing objects and if it knocked on any part of the Buddha's body.

Some temples allow devotees to throw coins into the Buddha’s alms bowl or to the Stupa (or “pagoda”) situated in the middle of a pond. I believe you can see these sort of thing happening in Thailand and Singapore too. Please do not throw coins at the Buddha or Holy Stupa. It is absolutely rude and impolite to do that, and not to forget incurring bad karma for throwing objects at the Buddha./Holy Stupa. If your coins hit the Buddha statue, even though just a statue, this is like causing hurt to the Buddha’s body. Just the night before I had to advise several people to stop doing that. But there are just too many of them. So, temple committees and other Buddhist associations should do the right thing to give this advice to your members. This practice has been going on for years but nobody seems to say anything. People treat it like a game. If your coins got into the bowl, the person will be so happy as if he/she had struck gold. Of course, he does not know he had struck bad karma instead. So, STOP THROWING COINS OR OBJECTS AT THE BUDDHA or ANY HOLY OBJECTS. And if you see someone doing that, do advice them. Some temples will do anything to attract the crowd and collect funds from people. It doesn't matter if the sum is not much but on Wesak Day it could still be substantial.

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