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We spend too much building temples but not people

by Alvin Wong, Singapore, The Buddhist Channel, Dec 15, 2009

I refer to the news item on the launch of the pavilion sheltering the Goddess of Mercy at the Penang Kek Lok Si temple.

My last visit to Kek Lok Si in Penang was few years ago, and felt that it is just another tourist attraction instead of centre of Wisdom learning.

Having visited many ancient temples in China, most of the temples are amazing well design with colourful decorations.

However, something deep inside me is that we spend too much effort in building the temples, but there are little works on the building of the people like teaching of the Dharma and propagation activities.

End of the day, it attracts tourists. But this is not what the devotees want, the central function of the temples and monastries are to spread and practise the teaching, and organising value added activities and not tourism.

Imagine that we spend RM40 million (US$ 12 mil) to renovate the pavillion, but little do we know that the temples has done any great effort to propogate the religion. End of the days, the younger generation will abandon the religion, and the temples serve no value added function to serve the Buddhist community.

If one study the history, why once a Buddhist China easily wiped out by the short wave of communism, partly because there are little engagement of the clergy with the general lay Buddhists in general who are the majority.

So many have no basic Buddhist educations and understanding of the religion. Even there are hundred thousands monastries and temples, but its unable to resist the ideology that reject religion.

It is our sincere wish that our respectable monks and Sangha to have a deep thought on this issue.

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