Author Topic: Monks Close Famen Temple To Protest Government Walls  (Read 10869 times)

Ensapa

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Monks Close Famen Temple To Protest Government Walls
« on: June 22, 2012, 04:52:29 AM »
Here's a feel good story from China that perhaps, the Tibetan temples can learn from:

Quote
Famen Temple is a Buddhist temple in Shaanxi province of China. It is very famous and influential. In 1981, the only Buddhist finger bone relic in China was found at Famen. Recently, the monks of Famen Temple have announced that they will close their gates to visitors and worshipers to protest the local government that was building walls around the temple so they can charge people high priced tickets to visit the Famen Temple scenic area. Previously, the monks had tried to stop and destroy the walls that were being built.

The notice from the Famen Temple:

Esteemed many tourists and worshipers:

The Famen Temple Cultural Scenic Area Construction Company, having the strong support of relevant government departments,  is forcefully building walls in front of the Famen Temple gates to create gates in which to sell extremely high priced tickets, even sealing the entrance and exit roads for the temple’s internal cars. This has seriously violated the State Council’s promulgated “Regulations on Religious Affairs”, infringing on Famen Temple and the entire world’s religious masses’ lawful rights and interests, and seriously harming all Buddhists’ religious feelings.

Famen Temple, in accordance with safeguarding the dignity of the country’s law, have decided that from 1:00pm today, Famen temple will close its gates and engage in lawful resistance/protest, and respectfully request that all worshipers and tourists give their understanding and support.



http://www.chinasmack.com/2009/stories/monks-close-famen-temple-to-protest-government-walls.html

It is very nice to see that there are still true Buddhist practitioners in China who can still be pure despite the obstacles that surmount them. If it is not a problem for them, and they use patience to conform to the law, why cant the Tibetan monasteries who complain of religious oppression do the same? They are supposedly more "advanced" than Chinese Buddhism but yet their actions are somewhat....inconsistent.

Jessie Fong

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Re: Monks Close Famen Temple To Protest Government Walls
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2012, 05:45:29 AM »
I feel that to charge a small sum at entrance to the temple is not too much to ask.  The monies collected can be directed back to the temple for maintenance and upkeep.  But if the entrance fee is going to be expensive, that may deter people from visiting the temple.

They can also provide a donation box for visitors / tourists / worshippers to drop-in any amount to support the temple and the monks.

Dorje Pakmo

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Re: Monks Close Famen Temple To Protest Government Walls
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2012, 04:44:06 PM »
Jessie Fong,

I think the Famen Temple are doing quite well by itself from the donations given by local and internationa visitors. The problem is with those unscrupulous and shameless people trying to make money out of a Temple built for the spread of Dharma and the benefit of sentient beings. Money has blinded so many, that they don’t even care anymore what kind of Karma they are creating for themselves making money and along the way, deter people from getting the Dharma. But it is consoling to know that the Temple authority themselves are against the move of the so called, Cultural Scenic Area Construction Company.
 >:(
DORJE PAKMO

Ensapa

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Re: Monks Close Famen Temple To Protest Government Walls
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2012, 05:26:53 PM »
Actually, according to the article, it is the local government who wanted the money and who built the wall against the wishes of the monks so that they get more money. Note that not a single cent goes to the temple, but directly into the pockets of the government officials. In lieu of this, the temple walls were broken down but it seems that they have decided to not break the law but at the same time refuse to show their approval towards the local government's actions because it is against the Buddha's direct teachings to break the laws of the land. Somehow, I cant help but to feel that the tibetans should take a page from this story to reduce their unhappiness in China or something because most of their "problems" and "religious oppression" comes from the local government and not following the laws, protocols and procedures. This Chinese temple, although oppressed, still manages to hold their ground and follow the Buddha's direct instructions. I truly applaud their courage!

Dhiman

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Re: Monks Close Famen Temple To Protest Government Walls
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2012, 02:00:06 PM »
I find it touching to see the pictures of the monks breaking the walls in unity and it is very much agreeable that the Tibetans should learn something from this. However, I read that the Shaanxi government contributed a land extension of 150 acres to the Famen Temple. On top of that, they've built a new complex featuring the 148m Namaste Dagoba and vault and renamed it to "Famen Temple Cultural Scenic Area". The scene is breathtaking.

I agree that it is not right to reap profit (indirectly) from a temple but having contributed so much to enhance the landscape of the place, I think it is reasonable for the local government to charge foreign visitors a small entrance fee, not the locals who goes to worship. Part of the collection should also be donated to maintain the temple, that way it will attract more tourists to visit.

Tenzin K

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Re: Monks Close Famen Temple To Protest Government Walls
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2012, 02:51:14 PM »
Sounds like the government is so desperate! But it’s so bad in trying to make money in such away. They don’t understand what is spiritual I guess. The monks were so cooperative and really showing them a lesson. What important is a clear message send down from the government because by getting their support it will benefit more. Of course for this incident Farmen Temple is not compromising and hold their stand strong.

Yes, I agree with the rest if the Tibetan monastery would do the same. They should go all the way for their freedom of protector practice.

Tianni

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Re: Monks Close Famen Temple To Protest Government Walls
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2012, 02:56:16 PM »
I read few article on Chinese website about Famen Temple. There are so many stories about that, but one thing for sure they need lots of money to maintain it. So Famen Temple need to be sustained, money is necessary. However in the other hand, we should realize that the main purpose of temple is to promote Dharma.  The increase of the ticket price should not stop people to learn Dharma.

Temple is to plant the seed of Dharma in people, so is important to think about any action taken should not create a cause to stop people to get connected to Dharma.

bambi

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Re: Monks Close Famen Temple To Protest Government Walls
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2012, 04:16:37 PM »
Sigh! Practicing Dharma sure have its obstacles in many ways but this one is a bit too much! If the government is building the walls to collect fees from anyone who enters, they should donate an appropriate amount to the temple for the upkeep of the huge temple. The government only know how to make money for themselves without thinking of the benefit that the temple will bring ie. bringing tourists from all around the country and world.

I looked at the pictures of the monks breaking down the walls and I think its not right for them to do so. I believe in peaceful demonstration and not using force. What impression will it bring to people who are non Buddhist? Buddhism is supposed to be about tolerance, patience, compassion, love, humility, forgiving,etc. Maybe I am not so familiar with the way their government works but I believe that everyone can work together. Probably sign a petition, get famous people to help them appeal to the government, send a representative to negotiate on the division of fees charged by the government,etc.

There are many temples in the world who charge fees for entrance but some are from the temple itself as they need donations to sustain. That I understand and will definitely donate for a good cause.  ;D

Vajraprotector

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Re: Monks Close Famen Temple To Protest Government Walls
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2012, 09:03:59 PM »
I find it touching to see the pictures of the monks breaking the walls in unity and it is very much agreeable that the Tibetans should learn something from this. However, I read that the Shaanxi government contributed a land extension of 150 acres to the Famen Temple. On top of that, they've built a new complex featuring the 148m Namaste Dagoba and vault and renamed it to "Famen Temple Cultural Scenic Area". The scene is breathtaking.

I agree that it is not right to reap profit (indirectly) from a temple but having contributed so much to enhance the landscape of the place, I think it is reasonable for the local government to charge foreign visitors a small entrance fee, not the locals who goes to worship. Part of the collection should also be donated to maintain the temple, that way it will attract more tourists to visit.

Is this another of the government's excuse to build infrastructure but later trying to squeeze resources or funds?

I do not object to charging an entrance fee as it is practical and helps to upkeep the temple/ venue, but building that without consulting the monks, or forcing the monks to charge a certain fee by imposing their plans to develop it into a 'scenic' tourist attraction, perhaps that is not right.  :(

kurava

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Re: Monks Close Famen Temple To Protest Government Walls
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2012, 10:00:43 PM »
Wouldn't this be avoided if there were some meetings and discussion between the two parties before the wall was erected?

Misunderstanding arises due to lack of communication.

The authority , from its standpoint, has a valid reason to do what they did and so are the monks of the  Temple. Nothing can come out of destructive actions.

An amicable solution would be to charge a lower entrance fee so as not to discourage visitors and devotees and apportion certain percentage to the Temple management.

Politic and religion have always been mixed for as long as we can remember. A good balance between the two will help to make the dharma flourish and peace to the people as in the times of King Asoka and the Tang dynasty.

pgdharma

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Re: Monks Close Famen Temple To Protest Government Walls
« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2012, 03:19:58 AM »
It is a shame that the government is so desperate trying to make money in such a way. It is alright to charge an entrance fee  but it is not right to charge such exorbitant fee and not using part of the fee for the maintenance of the temple.  A temple is a place of worship for people to pray, learn the dharma and find solace.  By charging such high fee, it will deprived many locals of that and eventually become just a tourist attraction.

ratanasutra

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Re: Monks Close Famen Temple To Protest Government Walls
« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2012, 04:14:46 AM »
I find it touching to see the pictures of the monks breaking the walls in unity and it is very much agreeable that the Tibetans should learn something from this. However, I read that the Shaanxi government contributed a land extension of 150 acres to the Famen Temple. On top of that, they've built a new complex featuring the 148m Namaste Dagoba and vault and renamed it to "Famen Temple Cultural Scenic Area". The scene is breathtaking.

I agree that it is not right to reap profit (indirectly) from a temple but having contributed so much to enhance the landscape of the place, I think it is reasonable for the local government to charge foreign visitors a small entrance fee, not the locals who goes to worship. Part of the collection should also be donated to maintain the temple, that way it will attract more tourists to visit.

Its a right thing for the government to provide or contribute money or properties to religious places so that it can expand and benefit more people which the government of most of countries has been doing this in the past till now. As we are aware temple are sustain by donation  from people and government.

In the case that government want to do something with temple especial to collect entrance fee, i think it should be discuss with the Abbot, committee of the temple first that will be the best isn't it. Harmony is the key for everything and i think the government knew about that.

i won't like to see the picture of monks destroy the wall. i don't think they are not please to do that too but there is no other choice for them to choose. I hope this issue will be solved as soon as possible by the news spread far and wide with social media.

   

   

Carpenter

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Re: Monks Close Famen Temple To Protest Government Walls
« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2012, 04:46:15 AM »
As Human life is not easy to obtain, it could take once in a few hundred life times. If we missed out this chance to practice Dharma this life, it might take us many more decades until we can be human again.

Making money from Dharma for our own selfish purposes is very bad, because it is directly stopping people who are poor but need buddha’s blessing to continue their spiritual path. And can you imagine how heavy the karma will be by stopping people from practicing Dharma? 

Famen temple is doing a very good choice for keeping the door close to protest the government:
1.   It can stop the government from creating more karma by making money from temple.
2.   Can give the practitioner a fair chance to make offering and to get blessing.
3.   In one way, you can also take it as a purification process for the nearby practitioner to go through this difficult situation.

Midakpa

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Re: Monks Close Famen Temple To Protest Government Walls
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2012, 08:20:04 AM »
Temples and monasteries are big tourist attractions. People are attracted to the beautiful architecture, the scenic beauty of the area and the festivals that are celebrated within the temple grounds. The Chinese Government may be atheist but they are promoting tourism to religious sites because of the tremendous profits to be earned. Did you know that 80% of the profits go to the Government? In the 1980s, the Chinese authorities started to renovate and rebuild temples and monasteries destroyed or damaged during the invasion of Tibet. A good example is the Ganden Sumtseling Monastery also known as Songzanlin Monastery near Sangri-la. It is often packed with tourists, so much so that it is impossible to take a photo without some visitors in it.

In a way, I'm glad the Famen temple authorities are protesting against this kind of exploitation. This will highlight the plight of the monks who need the peace and quiet to practice. If the place becomes a tourist attraction, they also become part of the tourist attraction. Is it really what they want? Obviously not.

Carpenter

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Re: Monks Close Famen Temple To Protest Government Walls
« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2012, 10:25:29 AM »
Temples and monasteries are big tourist attractions. People are attracted to the beautiful architecture, the scenic beauty of the area and the festivals that are celebrated within the temple grounds. The Chinese Government may be atheist but they are promoting tourism to religious sites because of the tremendous profits to be earned. Did you know that 80% of the profits go to the Government? In the 1980s, the Chinese authorities started to renovate and rebuild temples and monasteries destroyed or damaged during the invasion of Tibet. A good example is the Ganden Sumtseling Monastery also known as Songzanlin Monastery near Sangri-la. It is often packed with tourists, so much so that it is impossible to take a photo without some visitors in it.

In a way, I'm glad the Famen temple authorities are protesting against this kind of exploitation. This will highlight the plight of the monks who need the peace and quiet to practice. If the place becomes a tourist attraction, they also become part of the tourist attraction. Is it really what they want? Obviously not.

It is really sad to see temple in all around the world has been used to be a money making place, this show so much degeneration that we are in now that we even twisted the main purpose of a temple.

For the right of spiritual practice, for the benefits of the practitioner, we must make a strong stand on our ground so that spiritualism can be continued and preserve the essence of Buddha's teaching.
Famen Temple is doing very right, because if we don't protect our right, very soon, all temples in all places will lost out the main purpose already and became the money making tourist attraction.