Please don"t “bribe” Gods and Deities!

Update: 24/03/2015
Visiting temples, pagodas in the New Year has become a beautiful Vietnamese culture. Every

Please don


Every Lunar New Year, on Lunar January, people all over the\r\nplace are excited to visit pagodas to pray for their families a peaceful\r\nand prosperous year. That cultural beauty has been preserved and\r\npassed to the following generations. 

 However, it is said that few people know how\r\nto visit pagodas in the proper way that is suitable for the teachings\r\nand the rules of Buddhism. Many people simply think that going to pagodas is\r\njust to pray for luck, peace and promotion in their job. And the bigger\r\nthe offerings are, the more attention Gods will bless them. That is not\r\nBuddhist culture. 

In the old days, visiting temples was started from rice\r\npaddy farmer's culture. Going to temples, people only bring incense or some\r\nproducts produced by the family. Therefore, visiting pagodas are\r\nmeant in spirit more than in formality. 

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nTemples and pagodas themselves are tranquil\r\nplaces but, in fact, going to pagodas is getting\r\nmore integrated and so more hustle, selfish and people don't\r\nunderstand the nature. In the recent years, many stories about people\r\ngoing to temples and scatter money all over the place, even throw it to the\r\npond, lake, or put money into Buddhist's statues mouth, hand or\r\nlitter the money everywhere. Those actions are not difficult to\r\nsee now. In the sacred and pure place, that is so repugnant. It's not\r\ncultural attitude anymore, it's now ‘bribery’ to Gods and\r\ndeities.  Ancient people always had a mind that Gods are\r\nsanctity power from the heaven, and so we should behave the spirit\r\nwith the respect, not the way of purchasing goods.


Buddha is always in our mind and He always blesses those who\r\nhave pure mind. Therefore, we shouldn't bring bad habits to the pagodas and\r\nthose sacred places because of the money.

How to put money in the temples in the right way is\r\nsomething people need to figure out. In old days, when attending praying\r\nceremonies, people put money drops on a plate at the alter, but the money was\r\njust enough for the incense or small contribution for supplies. Part of it\r\nwould be paid for the person who worked there. Money drops would need to be put\r\nrespectfully to avoid insulting the Buddhas. 

\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThe donation is different. When somebody\r\ncontributes to rituals, it would be written down in the book and the record of\r\nwhere the money was delivered to. Normally, the money is used for\r\nreconstruction or community purposes. Ancient people understood that donation\r\nwas the last, not the first. Merit has a strong connection with religious\r\nway, which takes the merit as a priority. Being wise could reach the merit\r\nand pure ego which is appropriate with the religion. You have knowledge before\r\nthe merit. It's the spirit of loving people as you love yourself and merit is\r\nthe last. Nowadays, both of them are all blurred. Why do nobody raise questions\r\nand answers that where the money goes to and what is it used for?\r\nPeople do know the answer but they try to avoid answering it. Folk culture\r\nresearcher Tran Lam Bien has said.


Understand the issue from another point of view,\r\npeople going to pagodas and donate money to contribute to\r\nthe construction and renovations. It is meant as physical\r\nmaterials to transfer from the mind and the intention towards the Buddhas in\r\norder to honor and concretize human mind with the spirit of\r\nBuddhism. 


Don't spread the money all over the place or put money into\r\nBuddhas' statues' hands, mouth or eyes. It's a libel, “Bribing Gods”,\r\nwhich is totally inconsistent with the Vietnamese culture as well as\r\nBuddhism's custom, rules and teachings. 

 Việt Nguyá»…n

Translated into English by Ho Truc Ly.

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