Please watch this rather distressing documentary. It tells but part of a story that is being played out all over Asia, including in various Buddhist communities. Perhaps the saddest thing about this situation is that it is made possible in part by generous, well-meaning people, Christians and non-Christians, in Western countries who support ‘aid’ organizations without making the effort to find out whether or not they have a ‘hidden agenda’. Organizations like World Vision get a significant percentage of their funding from Taiwan and Hong Kong, where most of the donors are Buddhists.http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5151512921334112942
Friday, July 17, 2009
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Depressing indeed. Will humans ever learn to help the weak instead of exploiting them.
I never donate to Salvation Army, Jesuit missions, and even Red Cross cos I wonder if the money would be used as I intended it to be.
I know organisations like the world-wide Tzu Chi, Mercy Relief and the Singapore Buddhist Fellowship help victims with no strings attached (well, at least at this point of time).
After the Boxing Day tsunami, there were reports about Christian missionaries going to Sri Lanka dangling aid to victims with the condition that they convert to Christianity. This caused tragedy in families when the husband/wife agreed so as to get food for the starving family & the spouse refused. Families are broken up as a result and in some cases, the dissenting spouse killed the whole family to end their misery rather than give in. Sometimes we can't blame Muslims from resorting to violence to vent their anger on the missionaries. They ask for it.
Christian evangelists find the poor and illiterate in third world countries easier targets to bump up numbers. I get upset when I hear someone scold another `you are worse than a beast', as if animals are capable of heinous crimes. I think the most wicked and cruel beings are found in the human realm.
Of course, it might be worth pointing out that there are Christian aid organizations like Caritas and Christian Aid that do not use aid as a conversion technique.
The sad thing is that some Buddhist organizations are adopting such practices of the Christian missionaries. While I was trekking in Chiang Mai, I had a tribal guide. He told me about the Christians who first came and start dangling material aids as incentives to go to the churches. Then the Buddhists saw what was going on, and they came in and start offering material incentives if the villagers attend the temples. Then he said, rather amusingly, that one week the villagers would go to the church because the Christians offered something, and the next week, they would go to the temple because the Buddhists offered something else. I thought that was sad.
Thank you for posting this video, Bhante. We have given to Episcopal Relief Fund in the past, and I truly hope this kind of thing doesn't go on with them. But after the cyclone in Burma, we started giving to UNICEF because they have no religious affiliation and they were one of the few aid organizations that the Junta would allow in Burma. Metta.
Personally, I am wary of giving aid or donation for a cause I have no idea about. It is better to give to single-cause, non-religious charitable or voluntary organisations. Better still (time-consuming) is to nominate a particular child, patient, victim, person to whom you want your aid to go directly to.
The days of 'as poor as a church mouse' are gone. Mega-churches, golden temples, iconic mosques, super-rich religious organisations and millionnaire clergy (monks, priests, pastors) owning bungalows, condominiums, BMWs, Mercedes and country clubs are here. Yet, there are millions of faithfuls, worshippers, devotees, believers and intellectuals who cannot see what a mere child can see: the Emperor has no clothe!
I am a australian who spends time in Bohol.I have for many years followed the Teachings of the Buddah.Be great to catch up with persons of like minded persons.Ed
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