Buddhist tradition vs protecting the planet

I don’t know if this just bothers me or if other people also agree, but I really hate seeing people in Taiwan crumpling up and burning endless stacks of paper to pay respects to the traditions of Buddhism. And it’s even worse when most of them are doing it without even thinking or praying at the time. I’ve seen countless people just standing their folding and burning paper while carrying on conversations with the people next to them about food or the weather.

I’m sure if he was real, Buddha would certainly not approve of us contributing to the destruction of the planet in order to pay homage to him. Why can’t Buddhist monks get this message across that it doesn’t matter how much paper you physically burn, all that matters is what’s in your heart?

I’m an Atheist, but I do often go to temples and bai bai and I quite enjoy the spiritual feelings that accompany the visit, but for the life of me I can’t figure out why people feel the need to also burn a stack of paper to get the full experience of Buddhism. Why can’t people just fold a single piece of paper, focus on giving undivided attention and praying to Buddha, and then if need be burn that single piece of paper and be done with it? Obviously not burning any paper would be ideal but if you absolutely must do it, what is the difference between 1000 or just 1? And the incense too. Do we really need to burn and throw away 12? I’m sure Buddha wouldn’t mind at all if we just did 1 and used our hands to bai bai for the rest.

It’s not a Buddhist practice. hongy.wordpress.com/2006/06/01/t … offerings/

Yes, not Buddhist, but drives me crazy all the same. It’s a practise that has no place in a modern society. Ghost month sends thousands of kids and old people to the hospitals every year with asthma attacks. I’ve confronted people in my neighborhood many times and said this causes cancer, asthma and so on, why are you doing it? Some actually engage me and explain it is tradition, they;ve been doing it for decades with no ill effects, and so on.

I don’t really blame people. Government needs to step in an enforce a ban. Problem is people are very sensitive about that because of Taiwan’s Martial Law history and previous KMT attempts to destroy local religious culture. So whereas Honk Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and even China can ban this Taiwan can’t.

Some neighborhoods are better than others. Depends on the village chief. And lots of places now do central burning at temples.

But the practise has to stop.

Plenty of Buddhist masters are adamantly against the practice, which though mixed with Buddhist elements, is really Daoist and Chinese Folk Religion.

But, plenty of Buddhist monks also officiate at these mass money burning rituals. Gotto pay the rent ya know? (keeps congregants coming).

But don’t blame Buddhism.

Who makes the stuff though? I know you can buy them near temples and so on, but who’s actually profiting from it?

skea.com.tw/

I dig the name. 死 + IKEA. They make everything from paper houses to paper iPhones.

Well even if it isn’t explicitly a Buddhist practice, I’ve rarely been to a Temple and not seen several furnaces with groups of people gathering around it crumpling up stacks upon stacks of paper and burning them. As I believe Buddha himself wouldn’t approve of this kind of behavior it seems odd that the monks at those very temples wouldn’t just choose not to have the furnaces at all and not even provide a place to purchase the gold paper in the first place.

The same should go for the incense as I said. Why don’t more Buddhist monks care enough about the environment to advocate each person simply lighting ONE incense stick and carrying it around to bai bai to all the Buddha’s and then pray at the largest gathering area and place the incense inside the “thingy” Why 6, or 9, or even 12 as I’ve sometimes experienced. Is there something wrong with 1?

Of course all the people we regularly see on the side of the road or outside their offices burning paper, we need to take a stronger stance towards this obviously harmful practice. The fact that it is tolerated in this country shows just how little Taiwanese people actually care about the environment and the people whom we share the worlds oxygen with.

And don’t even get me started on shark fin soup :fume: :fume: :fume:

[quote=“Hokwongwei”]http://www.skea.com.tw/

I dig the name. 死 + IKEA. They make everything from paper houses to paper iPhones.[/quote]

Yeah, some of those are awesome.

[quote=“Mucha Man”]
I don’t really blame people. Government needs to step in an enforce a ban. Problem is people are very sensitive about that because of Taiwan’s Martial Law history and previous KMT attempts to destroy local religious culture. So whereas Honk Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and even China can ban this Taiwan can’t.

But the practise has to stop.[/quote]

In fairness, I do recall the government suggesting people should burn a single paper credit card instead, but the counter-argument was that the ancestors wouldn’t understand how to use them- cars and airplanes, OTOH… :unamused:

I did like the argument from the guy in the Buddhist link about how this was causing inflation in Hell- maybe we could get our own sulavaca to travel around to temples explaining how this ghostly Keynesianism is ruining the infernal economy, and the solution is to tell the ancestors to get off their lazy butts and get a job instead of relying on handouts.

[quote=“MikeN”][quote=“Muzha Man”]
I don’t really blame people. Government needs to step in an enforce a ban. Problem is people are very sensitive about that because of Taiwan’s Martial Law history and previous KMT attempts to destroy local religious culture. So whereas Honk Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and even China can ban this Taiwan can’t.

But the practise has to stop.[/quote]

In fairness, I do recall the government suggesting people should burn a single paper credit card instead, but the counter-argument was that the ancestors wouldn’t understand how to use them- cars and airplanes, OTOH… :unamused:

I did like the argument from the guy in the Buddhist link about how this was causing inflation in Hell- maybe we could get our own sulavaca to travel around to temples explaining how this ghostly Keynesianism is ruining the infernal economy, and the solution is to tell the ancestors to get off their lazy butts and get a job instead of relying on handouts.[/quote]

My Matsu, that is brilliant. If he could convince them to burn gold it would solve all the problems of Taiwan at once.

Time goes fast. I thought we had a similar thread a few months ago. No, it was one year ago!

Amazing isn’t it? In times where you can do most everything with your Smartphone or in a 7 Eleven, people still burn paper money. Tech freaks out there, please, invent a paper-burning app for mobile devices or a machine that burns virtual paper money in a convenience store, smoke free of course. Can’t be too difficult, can it?

[quote=“hannes”]Time goes fast. I thought we had a similar thread a few months ago. No, it was one year ago!

Amazing isn’t it? In times where you can do most everything with your Smartphone or in a 7 Eleven, people still burn paper money. Tech freaks out there, please, invent a paper-burning app for mobile devices or a machine that burns virtual paper money in a convenience store, smoke free of course. Can’t be too difficult, can it?[/quote]

They exist. Also a bwo bwei app.

[quote=“MikeN”]

I did like the argument from the guy in the Buddhist link about how this was causing inflation in Hell- maybe we could get our own sulavaca to travel around to temples explaining how this ghostly Keynesianism is ruining the infernal economy, and the solution is to tell the ancestors to get off their lazy butts and get a job instead of relying on handouts.[/quote]

Not sure that’s a good idea. You could easily set off waves of panic burning.

A couple of related threads

forumosa.com/taiwan/viewtopi … 121&t=4661
forumosa.com/taiwan/viewtopi … 21&t=81860

[quote=“Tempo Gain”][quote=“MikeN”]

I did like the argument from the guy in the Buddhist link about how this was causing inflation in Hell- maybe we could get our own sulavaca to travel around to temples explaining how this ghostly Keynesianism is ruining the infernal economy, and the solution is to tell the ancestors to get off their lazy butts and get a job instead of relying on handouts.[/quote]

Not sure that’s a good idea. You could easily set off waves of panic burning.

A couple of related threads

forumosa.com/taiwan/viewtopi … 121&t=4661
forumosa.com/taiwan/viewtopi … 21&t=81860[/quote]
If you mixed in some Viagra with the Paper Money…would that cause Hyper-Inflation? :popcorn: