Monday, May 21, 2018

The Merit Issue (功德问题)

Being once attached to one of those charity organizations, I know that asking for donations for orphanage and old folks home and the like is a huge problem. But if I would turn the table and said to the donors that they will receive huge merit and that they will be reborn in Amitabah's Pure Land, then the rich ones would be willing to fork out million of dollars.

I once approached a rich businessman for donation for the poor in view of approaching festive season. The person stays in a multi-million house with servants and maids. He had a record of donated a million dollars to a Buddhist center to build a building in Penang.

When I approached him for donation, the businessman said: "Mr. Liew, it is not that I do not care for the poor. But I personally think that the salvation of my soul is much more important. I want to create enough merit so that my family and I can secure places in Amitabah's Pure Land. That is why I am willing to continuously donate to build temples..."

I was baffled and looked at the businessman. I wanted to ask the businessman that how sure can he be by donating to build temples will create merit for him? Isn't that by building temples we also caused those animals, insects and plants to be killed and destroyed as well. I thought killing is prohibited in Buddhism?

My point is that if we want to create merit through donation, at least we donate to the things that are in front of us and that they are tangible. By donating to the poor, orphanage and old folks home etc. will physically help those less lucky ones to be happier and healthier especially during festive seasons.

If we donate to intangible issues such as merit creation, then we are just burning our money for nothing. Also by building more big buildings, we need to ask for more donations just to maintain their operations. That also cause energy wastage not to mention a waste of donors' money continuously.

That is the reason why whenever I pass by a huge Buddhist, Taoist or any charity organizations with tall and huge buildings, I wouldn't want to look at them. Because those money could be used to help a lot of precious lives.


  1. Hi Master Liew, I have the same point of view in this case. I don't donate money to build larger temples or places of worships. I have rather spend the money to help the poor especially dogs and cats that harm by selfish humans. This imply the same towards Thai Buddhist as well. They only care about build and extend their temples larger and larger for the sake of reputation.

    1. Hi Mr. Chang, good to hear from you. Thank you for your comment. Yes. I think our society should say no to those huge temple fund raising and help the poor and the needy instead. People don't know that big temples need expensive maintenance too. That really burns our money non-stop.