A response to "Activities at Kong Meng San Monastery"

by Jennifer Loh, Singapore, Sept 26, 2016

I refer to your article "Activities at Kong Meng San Monsatery" which I think needs to be corrected.

In the letter, you said, and I quote "The cost of organizing such a grand puja is huge, considering the costs of tentage, the large amount of offerings required, and the amount of manpower involved."
My response are as follows:

Cost of Tentage: There is no tentage costs involved except during a cremation (for diners on the final day of prayer).
Typically (and historically), the cost of all 7 shrines are borne by a few sponsors from the laity for benefit of everyone who wishes to participate in the puja.
Definition of a Few: Countables....from 2 to ....perhaps 10
In the Inner Shrine, there are about 500 sponsors that can fit in when the hall is full. Sponsors can spend from S$ 3200 to as much as $50,000 per person. Do you consider this to be "a few"?

Other sponsorships are broken down as follows:

Outer Shrine - 100 sponsors or more, with each donating sums from S$ 2000 to S$3000 each
Nightly Puja: S$ 6,000 per sponsor x 7 nights
Other shrines: sponsorship from S$20 upwards, varying from S$ 200 to S$ 1,000. Usually close to 5,000 sponsors are obtained.
Other puja sponsors: Ranging from S$ 500 to S$ 3,000 (daily about 10- 50 sponsors).
Does the above count as "a few" as stated in your letter? Your definition is definitely misleading!
From the above, we can easily conclude that each annual puja session can garner about S$3 to 5 milion. Isn't this too much expenses for a 7 days event?
Buddha did not commercialise puja by "commercialising merits". There is a saying in chinese " 随缘吧 随喜功德", meaning by putting a price chart on the schedule of events, one is already selling pujas.
The intent of my letter is solely just this: to convey the message that all Dharmas should not be treated this way commercially. Thank you.