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Giant Buddha Rupas - Pros and Cons - Dhamma Wheel

Giant Buddha Rupas - Pros and Cons

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Giant Buddha Rupas - Pros and Cons

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Feb 28, 2010 11:35 am

[ Split from The Biggest Buddhas in Thailand (maybe on Earth) - viewtopic.php?f=27&t=3731]

“Whoever sees the Dhamma, sees the Buddha.”

What is the use of this colossal image? Is the Dhamma any more visible in Thailand due to its construction? Perhaps a huge meditation centre could have been built in its place, but it would probably be empty most of the time.

Its just a huge sign of the continuing downward spiral of Buddhism — all for outward appearances and no inner development.
Last edited by retrofuturist on Mon Mar 01, 2010 2:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Split from "The Biggest Buddhas in Thailand (maybe on Earth)" in the Shrine Room
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Lampang
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Re: The Biggest Buddhas in Thailand (maybe on Earth)

Postby Lampang » Sun Feb 28, 2010 12:19 pm

I can't help thinking that it's not the wisest use of resources. How much concrete is there in that? How much did it cost? Is it really worth all that CO2 & money?

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Re: The Biggest Buddhas in Thailand (maybe on Earth)

Postby mykeawja » Sun Feb 28, 2010 1:37 pm

Sometime...Nothing is nothing.
Sometime...Nothing is the best.

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Re: The Biggest Buddhas in Thailand (maybe on Earth)

Postby appicchato » Sun Feb 28, 2010 2:17 pm


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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: The Biggest Buddhas in Thailand (maybe on Earth)

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Feb 28, 2010 7:30 pm

• • • • (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)

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Re: The Biggest Buddhas in Thailand (maybe on Earth)

Postby appicchato » Sun Feb 28, 2010 9:48 pm


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Re: The Biggest Buddhas in Thailand (maybe on Earth)

Postby jcsuperstar » Sun Feb 28, 2010 9:56 pm

you know when i 1st saw those huge Buddhas in the picture, i thought about how some would say they are a waste, and i know in the past i would have said the same, however after living with Asian Buddhists for the last 1/2 a decade or so it has dawned on me that this is simply the way things are, the way the dhamma or reverence for the dhamma is expressed for them, so i no longer care, now i see a huge Buddha and i think oh cool, or i want to go see that! i have let go of the want to change things that i have no control of (at least in this instance anyways). but for all the detractors of over-sized over priced Buddha statues and gaudy temples i bet for each of those things out there at least one person was inspired, at least one person got interested or learned more of the dhamma.
and if our (Buddhist) history has shown us anything it only takes one persons efforts to set a wheel in motion.
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

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Re: The Biggest Buddhas in Thailand (maybe on Earth)

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Feb 28, 2010 11:10 pm

• • • • (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)

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Re: The Biggest Buddhas in Thailand (maybe on Earth)

Postby appicchato » Mon Mar 01, 2010 12:26 am


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mykeawja
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Re: The Biggest Buddhas in Thailand (maybe on Earth)

Postby mykeawja » Mon Mar 01, 2010 2:10 am

Sometime...Nothing is nothing.
Sometime...Nothing is the best.

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Ben
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Re: Giant Buddha Rupas - Pros and Cons

Postby Ben » Mon Mar 01, 2010 3:39 am

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.
kind regards

Ben
“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

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retrofuturist
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Re: Giant Buddha Rupas - Pros and Cons

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Mar 01, 2010 3:48 am

Greetings,

I have a question about the funding of these statues.

When people donate dana in Thailand, do they know what the dana is going to?

The main opportunities I've had to provide dana have been reasonably targeted, with the funds going to a specific thing... e.g. an item for a bhikkhu, contributions to a building fund used to fund construction of meditation halls, contributions to running costs. I'm sure some people would be happy to donate to anything, and some people would prefer to be a bit more targeted with their donations.

In summary, do the funds come out a specifically designed "Giant Buddha Rupa Construction Fund" or are they funded by general non-target-specific donations?

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Giant Buddha Rupas - Pros and Cons

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Mar 01, 2010 4:16 am

Bhikkhu Pesala makes some good points about the proper use of the funds, but on a personal level, I have seen some advantages for some large rupas and temples too.

As others have mentioned, it can be a form of skilful means. For example, if you look at my avatar, you will see me inside the Great Stupa in Colorado, U.S. The statue is about 24 feet. The stupa is 108 feet. The administrators at this Buddhist center told me that participation at retreats and other functions was pretty good before this was built, but after this stupa and rupa were completed, the participation and popularity of this place soared. On some occasions that I have been there, I have even seen tourist buses arrive to see the stupa! (non-Buddhists too, come to see the site, since it is sort of a landmark)
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appicchato
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Re: Giant Buddha Rupas - Pros and Cons

Postby appicchato » Mon Mar 01, 2010 4:28 am


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retrofuturist
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Re: Giant Buddha Rupas - Pros and Cons

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Mar 01, 2010 4:35 am

Greetings bhante,

Thanks for sharing your observations.

Metta,
Paul :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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mykeawja
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Re: Giant Buddha Rupas - Pros and Cons

Postby mykeawja » Mon Mar 01, 2010 4:36 am

Sometime...Nothing is nothing.
Sometime...Nothing is the best.

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Ben
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Re: Giant Buddha Rupas - Pros and Cons

Postby Ben » Mon Mar 01, 2010 6:10 am

Dear mykeawja,
Thanks for your nice reply.
Yes, you are right.
However I may personally feel about it, I hope the giant Buddha-rupa will be a beacon that attracts people to the Dhamma.
Just as Angkor Wat, Borobudr and Shwedagon inspires me.
metta

Ben
“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) • •

e: [email protected]..

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Sekha
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Re: Giant Buddha Rupas - Pros and Cons

Postby Sekha » Mon Mar 01, 2010 9:34 am

Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

http://www.buddha-vacana.org

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Dhammabodhi
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Re: Giant Buddha Rupas - Pros and Cons

Postby Dhammabodhi » Mon Mar 01, 2010 5:07 pm

I think a synthesis of the two conflicting ideas might be worth paying attention to. The biggest Buddha rupa in the world, and indeed one of the biggest statues in the world, is currently being built in Kushinagar, India, under the . The organisation which is building it seems to have the right intentions in mind, e.g. to act as a catalyst for developing the region( one of the poorest in India), as well as providing healthcare, education etc to the local populace. It will house huge meditation halls, libraries, and relics, and will attract many pilgrims, tourists and meditators from around the world. There has been some criticism about how the land is being acquired, though. If they succeed in achieving all these goals, with properly engaging locals and helping them towards a better living, I'm all for it.



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Lampang
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Re: Giant Buddha Rupas - Pros and Cons

Postby Lampang » Mon Mar 01, 2010 10:55 pm

I think any consideration of the benefits, and there obviously are benefits, has also to consider the opportunity costs. What else could be done with the same amount of money? Rural Thailand is not a wealthy place and there are real and pressing material needs which should be met. Are the benefits of building a giant statute sufficiently great that they warrant diverting resources away the rather more profane goals of improving health and education? I'm not so sure.


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