Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Spiritual Guidance and Enlightenment vs Material Excess and Abundance

Following on from yesterday’s observations, there was a talk given to parents of children attending the ‘daham pasala’ or Sunday school about how they should choose where they send their kids. They should investigate the quality of the teaching and the teacher rather than the beauty of the buildings and the “janapriya” or fame of the temple.

The shame is that often kids are taken to far off temples by their parents due to the prestige of the temple and its size, in preference to the local temple, which can be devoid of many facilities and grandeur. It was emphasized that the simplicity of the place and its silence and sound of the trees or natural beauty often is more conducive to contemplation, meditation, moral upliftment and learning than distraction based on artificial decorations.

It is this dilemma that I feel some priests are constantly confronted by and then with the egging on of the laity result in an unholy alliance against all the principles of Buddhism. This issue seems pervasive and should be stopped in its tracts, but society had become so materialistic, that religion has also embraced it in its trappings. If one goes to listen to ‘bana’ invariably it is a call for moral improvement and the progressive removal of physical desire. The practice however is the converse and their just does not seem to be a middle ground in acceptability.

Having to grapple with this problem on a daily basis we have to obtain guidance from a body of the Sangha who we can trust in being impartial to determine the deserving cases from those who are not. With 50+ temples in the electorate requesting various forms of assistance from time to time and over 1000 in the district it is important that there is some method of selection adopted, and once selected the true need identified and assistance given as necessary.

The accounting and accountability of funds is subject to degrees of governance that are not standard and transparent, and are open to mismanagement. The Dayaka Sabhas are powerful, with people who cannot be toppled easily and the general public show their displeasure over the proceedings by withdrawing their patronage of the temple and finding one that is more suitable to their spiritual needs. The chief priest holds a position for life and usually only on his demise does the long suffering “Podi Hamuduruwo” who if he is the anointed successor takes on the mantle. I have not seen a true discussion anywhere of the regulation of the Temples and the Priests though they belong to the different Nikayas and so have some affiliation to a particular doctrine. I DO APPRECIATE YOUR COMMENTS

1 comment:

Magerata said...

As always would love to comment but you have so much material, I spend good time reading them :).
Last time we visited SL, we also visited the temple in the area and the experience was not much difference. Except the priest was very rich. Yet they want us to contribute. I do not know if my parents did but I did not. I was equally amazed to find a Hindu temple (nothing against Hindu temples) withing the premises of the temple. Perhaps the head priest was hoping for co-existence of religions within his domain.
We also visited a Church (Catholic) and they were different. Seems well off but did not push us for contribution. They also had a better school program for the kids.