Buddhists urged to do away with wasteful ways

Daily Express, September 08, 2009

Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia -- The Buddhist Tzu-Chi Merit Society has urged its members and supporters to review the manner they celebrate their religious rituals, in order to be more environment-friendly and not to be wasteful.

Ong Tuen Yiok, the Person-in-Charge cum Commissioner of Tzu-Chi Kota Kinabalu, proposed they gradually do away with the burning of massive amount of incense papers and offerings of animals such as pigs, chickens and fish to the deceased during the annual Hungry Ghost Festival, as such practice is deemed to be wasteful and to a certain extent harmful to the environment.

The money spent on such items could instead be better used for charity purposes which is more meaningful, he said.

He proposed this while speaking at the mass prayer session organised by the Society at Jalan Teluk Likas, here, last Saturday.

He also considered the usual practice of simply displaying the offerings on the ground as inappropriate and disrespectful to the spirit of the deceased.

Towards this end, Ong hoped members and supporters of Tzu-Chi could seriously consider the proposal and take the lead to make a difference.

He also noted that while the Chinese community traditionally regard the seventh month of the Chinese lunar calendar as a "ghost month" with plenty of taboos, the Buddhists, however, regard it as a joyous and auspicious month to express one's gratitude and affection towards their ancestors and deceased loved ones, adding this can be found in various Buddhism scriptures.

Through the mass prayer session, Tzu-Chi hoped to impart and instil the noble virtue of love and compassion to all living beings on earth, a philosophy vigorously advocated by its founder, Master Cheng Yen, he added.

Besides the mass prayer session, the organiser also put up some elegantly designed donation cans for the faithful and supporters to adopt.

These donation cans will be returned to the Centre once they are filled up, to be used for charity purposes.