Thursday, June 4, 2015

The exposition of relics especially of the Lord Buddha is taking competition to be another art form!

Think for a while. As a society have we gone mad? Exposition of relics of the Lord Buddha and other revered disciples, in Sri Lanka, is now advertised on TV radio and the newspapers more like a form of entertainment. It is regarding this lowering of our values of humility and sincere reverence to our belief system that I wish to get people thinking on.

This recent Poson, where ever one looks and hears there are expositions of relics, for people to pay their homage. It is advertised in a manner all devout Buddhists should make it a point to go to these expositions during this season.

Any scholar or Priest of Buddhism will tell you it is how you lead your life that is important and not how you venerate, where you venerate that matters. Therefore going to pay one’s respects at any point of veneration, is at best merely a family picnic to go on a quick pilgrimage to satisfy one’s demons that you can obtain questionable merit!

The worst challenge here is when the Priest also knows that the devout person is enslaved by this and takes maximum advantage of the pilgrim to gain from this act of showmanship, one upmanship or enhance one’s standing in society for being the temporary custodian of the relics in one’s temple.

Frankly all these are completely un-Buddhist activities as it encourages feelings of desire, and discourages the need to attempt to discard any longings one might have.

Trust me this pattern is going to increase and every Poson festival will feel naked without any exposition of relics. Temples that have relics will become popular for both permitting the use of their relics and transporting them to other places for exposition, and thus be considered very meritorious and receiving temples will similarly be glorified as places that give a person a unique experience. This created even more competition amongst Buddhist Temples to become more popular, and popularity is then measured by size, sophistication of the building and therefore the popularity of the priest is directly related to the size of the establishment and the congregation that he is able to muster.

The secondary benefit is the prestige attached to this never ending litany, and now we have come to expect the words for the fiftieth time, as being more DIVINE than the fortieth time!

Religion has turned into entertainment, and in order to attract crowds the reverence has been replaced by attractions. A Poson Zone today, is NOT complete without Dansals, Pandols, Bakthi Geethas, Lantern competitions, musical shows, stalls that sell all kinds of things intermingled with and around places of worship, that give the stall holders a captive clientele. It has all become one large business venture, and in fact a money making one, as local businesses are asked to contribute to the event, in terms that are worse than a tax, as there is NO benefit except for possible merit if one believes in that, and the Organizers are doing it to make money of the back of the generous benefactors and gullible public who are hoodwinked into thoughts that are factually untrue. All God stuff or good stuff, mind the pun.         

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