Give us your guidelines Venerable Kwang Sheng
by Aik Theng Chong, Singapore, The Buddhist Channel, March 25, 2014
Puja form a very important practice especially to the Buddhists and more so to the Mahayanists. Be it for the accumulation of merits for a better future life or for the purposes of blessing in this life.
However, nowhere will you find in either the suttas or sutras where material offering or donation which form part of the act of Puja are quantified and in turn lead to a greater accumulate of merits or blessings for the person performing such acts.
In the Kong Meng San Monastery case, one wonder whether the 'Inner Shrines' classification is an act by the management as a reward to those who can afford to donate more to the temple funds and also to encourage others to donate more to the temple’s coffer? But if a laity is prepared to pay the asking price for a so called 'front row seat' out of pure generosity and not for any ulterior motive, perceived gain or status in mind, than it may be acceptable.
Unfortunately such acts of reward to laity by the temple are unnecessary and also unfair to those who do not have the means to do so. It also eventually gives rise to commercialization of religious activities which is not healthy and not what religion and religious practices are all about.
The Venerable Sik Kwang Sheng Abbot of Kong Meng San Monastery and also the President of the Singapore Buddhist Federation (SBF) should at the very least, come out to clarify this matter to prevent further misunderstanding on the whole issue. After all, his word would carried some weight to Buddhists in Singapore and provide some guidelines to organizations that are affiliated with the SBF.