Author Topic: Donate coffins to collect huge amount of merits - true or fable ?  (Read 20439 times)

Tammy

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When approached to make donation for good causes, i.e. build temples, offerings to sangha members, help charitable homes, build schools, etc etc people after have many excuses for not contributing. One of the weirdest reasons is : they prefer to donate coffin to those who can't afford as it is believe that donating coffins (and /or funeral expenses) generates huge amount of merits not other donation can beat.

This practise of donating coffins is being promoted in Thailand in a big way... Refer to links below for information

http://www.mybuddha108.com/wats/bangkok/w_hua_lamphong.html

However, I would prefer to donate to support those who are still living then those already dead and hence do not understand the rationale behind this phenomena of coffin donation.
Down with the BAN!!!

Barzin

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Re: Donate coffins to collect huge amount of merits - true or fable ?
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2012, 11:46:03 AM »
Interesting post.  I have also heard from many before that donating a coffin collect huge amount of merits but have no idea what is the explanation behind it as the person has already passed away, and what if that person is a crook?

The only explanation could be, it is very generous and kind as we would make an effort to do one last thing for the deceased, paying him/her respect and offer him/her a resting place.  And it will also comfort the living members of the family.  As for gaining merits, I have not figure that part out yet...

dondrup

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Re: Donate coffins to collect huge amount of merits - true or fable ?
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2012, 12:12:05 PM »
Irrespective of the methods (as long as the methods do not bring harm to any being) to give or donate, the most important factor is the motivation of giving. I have not heard of the practice of donating coffins being promoted in such manner as described!  However if it is done correctly, it sure helps the needy or the poor who couldn’t afford the cost of the coffin.  It is meritorious if the donation is done correctly.  Whether or not the merits accumulated is higher than the other methods depend on the motivation.  If it is with the genuine bodhichitta motivation, then the merits accumulated are vast!

RedLantern

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Re: Donate coffins to collect huge amount of merits - true or fable ?
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2012, 01:26:44 PM »
The pursuit of merit is the Buddhist way to develop a wise sense of self.Merit then sets out in general terms the types of meritorious activities that conduce to the happiness ,focusing primarily on three:giving,virtue and meditation.The happiness of generosity can be maximised by wisely choosing the proper motivation for giving  a gift' a proper gift,and a proper recipient for one's gift.
In the course of developing a wise sense of self in the pursuit of merit,one already learning how to let go of unwise ways of "selfing" as one learns how to overcome stinginess,apathy,and hard-heartedness through the development of giving,virtue and goodwill.

Jessie Fong

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Re: Donate coffins to collect huge amount of merits - true or fable ?
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2012, 02:17:47 PM »
Tammy - your post got me searching about coffin donation in Thailand, and I came across the article below.
Not only can you contribute towards the cost of a coffin, you can also contribute towards the white cloth and/or grave lot.

How this type of donation can generate huge amounts of merit : I would garner a guess that since this Foundation is helping accident victims and unidentified corpses, they are helping society by arranging the last rites for otherwise unclaimed bodies.

Barzin asked : ..... the person has already passed away, and what if that person is a crook?

So what if he/she was a crook --- does that prevent him from getting a decent funeral or final send off?  Do we discrimate?



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http://www.eugenegoesthailand.com/?p=10956
Besides coffin offering to the destitute deceased at Ruamkatanyu Foundation next to Wat Hua Lamphong Temple, there is another non-profit organisation – Poh Tech Tung Foundation. Founded in 1910, this charity organization has been established by Dr. Utain Techapaiboon for arranging funerals for unidentified corpses, such as accident victims. Supported by Thai Chinese living in Yaowarat, Bangkok’s Chinatown, people from all walks of life step forward to offer a helping hand. Each coffin is 650 Baht (about S$28 or US$20.00) as compared with 500 Baht at Ruamkatanyu Foundation.

Making a contribution (Poh Teck Tung Foundation, Bangkok)

Making A Donation :
Coffin – 600 THB
White Cloth (‘cloth for the dead’) – 50 THB
Coffin + White Cloth – 650 THB
Single Grave Lot – 5000 THB




DS Star

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Re: Donate coffins to collect huge amount of merits - true or fable ?
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2012, 03:28:39 PM »
Donating coffins to the poor who cannot afford it is providing them the last human right: to die in dignity.

Asians, especially Chinese believed that when we help the deceased to be buried properly or at least have a decent funeral, we are helping them to be reborn in a better 'place', thus, we are creating numerous good karma a.k.a. merits in common understanding.

In my opinion, there is really no different between helping the dead or the alive because they are still consciousness in the dead and the many more lives they'll have to take rebirths in; so at least we help them to leave in 'peace'.

If we think helping the alive now is better then we are only looking at the issue of THIS life; that means we didn't think of the future lives to come. As Buddhists, we know this is not the only life we'll have, there are more to come...

Jessie Fong

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Re: Donate coffins to collect huge amount of merits - true or fable ?
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2012, 03:51:32 PM »
Donating coffins to the poor who cannot afford it is providing them the last human right: to die in dignity.

Asians, especially Chinese believed that when we help the deceased to be buried properly or at least have a decent funeral, we are helping them to be reborn in a better 'place', thus, we are creating numerous good karma a.k.a. merits in common understanding.

In my opinion, there is really no different between helping the dead or the alive because they are still consciousness in the dead and the many more lives they'll have to take rebirths in; so at least we help them to leave in 'peace'.

If we think helping the alive now is better then we are only looking at the issue of THIS life; that means we didn't think of the future lives to come. As Buddhists, we know this is not the only life we'll have, there are more to come...

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Thank you DS Star.

If that is the case, are there any other countries (apart from Thailand) that practices this? Or is this just a cultural practice specifically isolated in Thailand?

Then that is not a Buddhist practice but more a culturally influenced practise by Chinese.  Would this be widespread in China?

Aurore

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Re: Donate coffins to collect huge amount of merits - true or fable ?
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2012, 04:37:26 PM »
Donating coffin can collect some merits because of the motivation of wanting to help others who cannot afford it.
However, I do not think one can collect a huge amount of merits because to do so, the object must be of great benefit to others. For example, the reason why donating to a temple or monastery or even a spiritual teacher can collect a lot of merits is because of how many people it can benefit in comparison to one coffin to ease a family's mind.

bambi

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Re: Donate coffins to collect huge amount of merits - true or fable ?
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2012, 05:10:00 PM »
I agree with Aurore. Donating to temples collect much more merits than donating for a coffin.
I believe that one collects more positive karma than merits as we are helping someone with a good deed like what ds star said. There are many out there who cant afford a proper burial. Helping those they left behind will ease their mind and easier for them to have a closure. Of coz it would be much better to help those alive while we still can..

Tenzin K

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Re: Donate coffins to collect huge amount of merits - true or fable ?
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2012, 09:03:35 PM »
To donate coffin to the very poor that died (esp. those without relatives/loved ones) will bring good karma to the donor. Remember that intentions, like anything else, can and should be trained and refined. 

For me, I think the dead does not really care if its earthly remains rests in a coffin or not.  I often  see people perform funeral and burial ceremonies and I see that the living suffer more than the dead when it comes to the burial-ware as I am fond of calling it.

So, beside good karma, it also makes those who are left behind, feel better about themselves.

brian

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Re: Donate coffins to collect huge amount of merits - true or fable ?
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2012, 02:48:09 PM »
Donating coffins to the dead and collect loads of merits is really foreign to me. I suppose this has certain benefit to the sponsor to a certain extend because of the nature to help another sentient being. Having said that i am not so convinced of the amount of merits/karma that the sponsor collects if the dead is of a former criminal i.e. bad person. I see a point from a sponsor, the sponsor gets the merits/karma of sponsoring whoever and he collects the karma because it is from the sponsor and whoever receives the benefit does not matter.

pgdharma

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Re: Donate coffins to collect huge amount of merits - true or fable ?
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2012, 03:47:39 PM »
The idea of donating coffin is to provide the deceased with a decent final resting ground. From a Taoist point of view there will be less homeless, wandering spirits. From the Buddhist point of view, after physical death, the soul would have left the body trying to be reincarnated so it does not really matter if there is a proper burial.

Nearly everyone in the world has certain beliefs regarding burial procedure for the dead. Some will just throw the corpse of the dead loved ones into the valley for the birds to prey on while others feel a proper burial is the right thing to do. So that is why the belief and culture of helping the poor with coffin donation comes about.

Many people in Thailand and other Asia countries are too poor to provide a proper burial for their dead loved ones and they will seek help from the temples. As times go by, the practice of coffin donation by devotees to help the poor becomes a norm and a way for Buddhists to gain merits, and gain good karma. To them coffin donation is for good luck and to reduce the impact of negative karma.

Benny

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Re: Donate coffins to collect huge amount of merits - true or fable ?
« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2012, 06:00:20 PM »
The practice of donating coffins and funeral rites to poor and unclaimed deceased goes back in China's long history. Back in those medieval days , it was common for young maidens to be bartered to the funeral donor as slaves or wives , when their parents pass away without leaving them anything to pay for the funerals.

It is has been considered an act of filial piety for a child to pay for his or her parents funeral. So it has been the case in China that many poor people were sold into slavery in exchange for a decent funeral for their parents. If you noticed in many kung fu movies the poor wife or child of the deceased would parade around and place the dead relative in a busy market place to look for donors/sponsors.

I believe that this act of kindness , when done with correct motivation i.e. not in exchange for a slave or wife ! would be very meritorious indeed , as in any act of giving to persons (dead or living ) who are in dire straits. To give a person his last rites and decent funeral not only benefits the dead but also the living .

ratanasutra

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Re: Donate coffins to collect huge amount of merits - true or fable ?
« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2012, 02:51:28 AM »
The motivation of making donation towards coffin is not much different from we contribute to the family of dead people whom we know, just one is the person we knew and another one is someone we don't know.
So why we contribute or give donation to the the family of the funeral of people who we know??.

As a Buddhist we know what type of offering and to who that collect a huge amount of merits. That is just one way of how to attract and encourage people to make donation which is same as giving/gernerosity as one of the six paramita.

People who are kind, generous and have metta always looking for opportunity to help other either they know or not which is show their bodhicitta mind.


     

Jessie Fong

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Re: Donate coffins to collect huge amount of merits - true or fable ?
« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2012, 03:40:29 PM »
Dear Ratanasutra

By the sound of your name, it seems you are from around Thailand area?

Would you like to give your personal thoughts on why this is prevalent in Thailand? I have not heard of this practice anywhere else, not yet anyhow, except through this post.

Are there any more practices that are only peculiar to your country? Please share with us. Thank you.