Saturday, February 11, 2017

Ostentation in the name of Religion?

I always try to stay clear of religion in my postings, but I just couldn't help keeping my mouth shut this time. 

A member of one of our WhatsApp chat groups has posted several photographs of a Lunar New Year celebration in a town called Jenjarom near Banting in Selangor, Malaysia. I am taking the liberty to produce four of them here.

I am nominally a Buddhist, not as a religious follower, but a general believer of Buddha's philosophy - more on the account of his sense of compassion than anything else. He witnessed human sufferings and decided to give up everything to seek enlightenment and finally he achieve Nirvana. I really do not know much about the detailed teachings of Buddha to try to preach anyone. The little I know about Buddhism, besides compassion, centres around these few words: A mind that is pure and devoid of individual passion, hatred or delusion. 

Great Buddhist monasteries and temples are usually austere in form and substance. I really don't think Buddha would want to be remembered or worshiped in the manner shown in the first picture. I also don't think a monk, no matter how accomplished he is, should also cultivate the type of personality cult shown in the other three pictures. And honestly, when I went through the wordings in the posters, aren't they of the motherhood wisdom type? I particularly take strong exception at one of the lines which reads: Speak Good Words. If it is an intention, it certainly sounds somewhat phony, or put-on, or fake to me. Isn't this somewhat contradictory to what the great sage's teachings are all about? 

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