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SirPalomides

Donating to temples and monasteries in China

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For those of us living in Western countries, is there an easy way to donate, directly or indirectly, to help struggling monasteries and temples in China? Years ago there was the Taoist Restoration Society but for some unknown reason they closed shop and I haven't seen anything comparable. I know some associations like Parting Clouds will distribute some of their funds to various temples  but that is not the dedicated purpose of donations to them.

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Nope. Currently I believe that overseas donations to religious entities are taxed at ~30%, minimum 20%, when donations come from¬†overseas. I am involved in getting donations to a temple once a year and it is¬†a major hassle that involves transferring money to a rich businessman in the west who has bank accounts in China and the US. He gets cash in the US and then transfers the equivalent to the temple from his PRC accounts via WeChat in small increments to the account of an individual in China who then has to get the money to the temple in cash later on. Sometimes he can do 10,000 yuan at a time, but sometimes that sum inexplicably locks¬†his account and he has to wait several days and can start again with a 3,000 yuan WeChat transfer. This ťļĽÁÖ© has been getting worse for the last few years. I'm always embarrassed asking for his help but luckily he is willing to help as he has some ťĀďÁ∑£ and is committed to assisting us.

 

Bitterwinter.org gives a taste of how dire things are at some temples nowadays. Donations from overseas, in addition to being taxed, may also draw unwanted attention.

 

Beginning circa 2017 all NGOs in the PRC came under the purview of the inaptly-named Public Security Bureau. The Taoist Restoration Society closed up shop long before then, but nowadays it would be far harder for anybody to do what they once aimed to. If you come across any organization claiming to have a similar function, probably best to double and triple check their background! 

 

ÁłĹšĻč, fuck Xi Jinping. Á¨ĎŤáČŤôéŚĎÄԾƍāŹśó•ÁȆÁöĄŤ°ÄB„Äā

Edited by Walker
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5 hours ago, Walker said:

Nope. Currently I believe that overseas donations to religious entities are taxed at ~30%, minimum 20%, when donations come from¬†overseas. I am involved in getting donations to a temple once a year and it is¬†a major hassle that involves transferring money to a rich businessman in the west who has bank accounts in China and the US. He gets cash in the US and then transfers the equivalent to the temple from his PRC accounts via WeChat in small increments to the account of an individual in China who then has to get the money to the temple in cash later on. Sometimes he can do 10,000 yuan at a time, but sometimes that sum inexplicably locks¬†his account and he has to wait several days and can start again with a 3,000 yuan WeChat transfer. This ťļĽÁÖ© has been getting worse for the last few years. I'm always embarrassed asking for his help but luckily he is willing to help as he has some ťĀďÁ∑£ and is committed to assisting us.

 

Bitterwinter.org gives a taste of how dire things are at some temples nowadays. Donations from overseas, in addition to being taxed, may also draw unwanted attention.

 

Beginning circa 2017 all NGOs in the PRC came under the purview of the inaptly-named Public Security Bureau. The Taoist Restoration Society closed up shop long before then, but nowadays it would be far harder for anybody to do what they once aimed to. If you come across any organization claiming to have a similar function, probably best to double and triple check their background! 

 

ÁłĹšĻč, fuck Xi Jinping. Á¨ĎŤáČŤôéŚĎÄԾƍāŹśó•ÁȆÁöĄŤ°ÄB„Äā

I think you mistranslated¬†ťļĽÁÖ© as ŚļüŤĮĚ.

 

Fuck Xi jinping indeed.

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23 hours ago, SirPalomides said:

For those of us living in Western countries, is there an easy way to donate, directly or indirectly, to help struggling monasteries and temples in China?

 

You can donate to help out a newer struggling Taoist hermitage up near the top of the Andes mountain chain in Ecuador.  It's easy, with Paypal,  just go to the about page and scroll down to find the donate button.       Tien Shan Hermitage

 

indexpic1.jpg

Edited by Starjumper
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A suggestion for those in the United States:   donate to temples and teachings and retreat centers in the United States.

 

Particularly for those retreat centers that share their space and or do not have a price for admittance or classes.

 

It is easy to be struck by students who thank a teacher profusely and over a long time but donate little or nothing and then tell you of the retreat they went on that cost $2100 for the week not including airfare. People who have spent tens of thousands on medical treatments and recovery and enjoy what energy work they receive from you and then tell you of the programs or treatments they are thinking of enrolling in that will cost thousands - all with a clean naked bowl in front of them. 

 

Its fun to support exotic getaway places - but do take a look in your own backyard - Eastern teachings are still very much budding here in the West, disco yoga may be nearly everywhere but the real stuff can use your help.

 

People here in the States do not think of donation much but have little problem with payments - in fact they often feel uncomfortable making a donation without first asking "how much should I donate" whereas specifically asking for a $20 donation is more likely to pay the rent or at least part of it.

Edited by Spotless
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1 hour ago, Starjumper said:

 

You can donate to help out a newer struggling Taoist monastery up near the top of the Andes mountain chain in Ecuador.  It's easy, with Paypal,  just go to the about page and scroll down to find the donate button.       Tien Shan Hermitage

 

Monasteries are where monks and nuns live, right? You are a monk? Don't you fuck and smoke weed?

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9 hours ago, Walker said:

 

Monasteries are where monks and nuns live, right? You are a monk? Don't you fuck and smoke weed?


 

I’ve been meaning to ask- what do y’all make of the claims that some of the Shangqing scripture revelations were facilitated by cannabis?

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11 hours ago, Walker said:

Monasteries are where monks and nuns live, right? You are a monk? Don't you fuck and smoke weed?

 

Actually it's not a monastery but a hermitage, and we don't observe stupid anal retentive rules like monasteries do.  I used the word monastery because the OP used it, and may not have known about the differences.  I'm not a monk, and my teacher, who was a monk in a previous life, wished to avoid their stupid rules, including vegetarianism.  He was married and smoked cigars.

 

Monasteries are for immature seekers who need rules and babysitting, for people who proceed but slowly down the path.  On the other hand this is a place of freedom for mature and rugged individuals who wish to live far from big shities and practice the path of power, and get there fast.   They are welcome to bring a family if they wish, and to grow their own little garden of whatever they wish.  I aint no steenking monk, I come from a long line of assassin wizards, and wizards commonly do have a wife.  I'm pretty much celibate now, and I don't smoke pot much any more either, but the miracle youth drug from China was/is the preferred plant medicine for the Taoist Shamans of old.  In fact, the oldest known writing in the world is from a Chinese Shaman, from around 7000BC (or 7000 years ago), which was titled "Ode to the Green Bud'.

 

 

Edited by Starjumper
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I know what is and isn't a monastery. That you would describe your place, cool as it may be, as a monastery when you well know it isn't one, doesn't inspire great confidence.

 

And for what it's worth, I think monks and nuns are cool.  

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11 hours ago, Spotless said:

A suggestion for those in the United States:   donate to temples and teachings and retreat centers in the United States.

 

Particularly for those retreat centers that share their space and or do not have a price for admittance or classes.

 

It is easy to be struck by students who thank a teacher profusely and over a long time but donate little or nothing and then tell you of the retreat they went on that cost $2100 for the week not including airfare. People who have spent tens of thousands on medical treatments and recovery and enjoy what energy work they receive from you and then tell you of the programs or treatments they are thinking of enrolling in that will cost thousands - all with a clean naked bowl in front of them. 

 

Its fun to support exotic getaway places - but do take a look in your own backyard - Eastern teachings are still very much budding here in the West, disco yoga may be nearly everywhere but the real stuff can use your help.

 

People here in the States do not think of donation much but have little problem with payments - in fact they often feel uncomfortable making a donation without first asking "how much should I donate" whereas specifically asking for a $20 donation is more likely to pay the rent or at least part of it.

 

 

A really good point. My thought was that USD can go a very long way in China but authentic Taoist teachers in the US could use plenty of help too.

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20 minutes ago, SirPalomides said:

I know what is and isn't a monastery. That you would describe your place, cool as it may be, as a monastery when you well know it isn't one, doesn't inspire great confidence.

 

I guess you missed the link I posted which was clearly titled "Tien Shan Hermitage", check it out.

 

20 minutes ago, SirPalomides said:

And for what it's worth, I think monks and nuns are cool.  

 

Sure, monks and nuns are cool.  Everyone is 'cool'.  YAhahahaha

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22 minutes ago, Starjumper said:

I guess you missed the link I posted which was clearly titled "Tien Shan Hermitage", check it out.

 

Pffffffffffft, you used the word monastery till you edited your post 14 minutes ago, dear "mature and rugged individual" lol. Thank god you don't live somewhere for "immature seekers who need rules and babysitting," your abbot would probably go broke replacing all the canes he'd have to break on your head. No wonder monasteries need donations... :rolleyes:

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I feel some people are too thick to understand the vast and invaluable significance that monasteries have played in preservation and spreading of important technological and cultural heritage, especially during troubled times. Most monasteries have also operated or supported charitable institutions to help suffering humanity.

 

Totally uncool to to follow altruistic rules and limitations which give the monks and nuns a superb position to share their merits and blessings with everyone, huh huh. Better just huff with the green bud and puff wizardly smoke rings because that is the real measure of humanity and attainment, folks.

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1 hour ago, Starjumper said:

 

I guess you missed the link I posted which was clearly titled "Tien Shan Hermitage", check it out.

 

 

Sure, monks and nuns are cool.  Everyone is 'cool'.  YAhahahaha

A hermitage is where hermits live. The term is often used in Christian circles¬†to designate a type of monastery, stricter than a skete or coenobium. Lots of ‚Äústupid‚ÄĚ rules and anal retentiveness.
 

If you’re dicking around on the internet soliciting funds and shitting all over the genuine monastic tradition that has done so much to cultivate and protect spiritual traditions while appropriating their good name to line your pockets I think it’s safe to say you are not a hermit.

Edited by SirPalomides
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1 hour ago, Walker said:
2 hours ago, Starjumper said:

I guess you missed the link I posted which was clearly titled "Tien Shan Hermitage", check it out.

 

you used the word monastery till you edited your post 14 minutes ago,

 

Ah, so observant you are, Baby Walker, but you lie.  The link always was titled as Hermitage.  Frankly I felt the two names were close enough in meaning that it was not such a big deal for the purpose of the OP, but since you pointed out the error of my ways in your typical thoughtful manner, I changed out the word monastery where I did use it, not to trick you, but to make it more clear for future readers.  I had no idea the OP was already an expert in these things and would be so anal about it.  In fact I don't post for him, but for future readers.  Normally I don't solicit any donations, but some people do want to help.  In any case, we did run out of money to buy food for this month and I do appreciate the donations very much.

 

To the other criers here:  I'm offering an authentic lineage of chi power and spiritual cultivation that any gringos are highly unlikely to find in a monastery in China.  You kids may now continue to dig your own fucking graves.  Bye now.

Edited by Starjumper
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As a non-gringo I suspect I can safely steer clear of the hairy gringo in the Andes yelling through his keyboard. I guess basic honesty is one of those stupid rules reserved for the monks and the chumps who respect them.

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15 minutes ago, Starjumper said:

Normally I don't solicit any donations, but some people do want to help.  In any case, we did run out of money to buy food for this month and I do appreciate the donations very much.

 

Wouldn't it be just great to have a monastery located reasonably close to you? Those monks or nuns really would want to help and support people in need such as yourself.

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Anyway I've come across the following US organizations that seem legitimate as far as I can tell, and which accept donations:

 

www.daoistfoundation.org (affiliated with Dr Louis Komjathy who strikes me as a sincere and kindly scholar-practitioner)

 

www.partingcloudsdaoisteducation.com

 

https://tao.org/

 

If anyone wants to chime in, feel free.

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6 hours ago, Starjumper said:

your typical thoughtful manner

 

You noticed that I'm thoughtful! :wub:

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Getting back on the rails and off the petty stuff - 

 

I have found that if you wish to give in certain areas - (and in any area) - it can be best to support some "thing" they wish to accomplish such as create a new concrete walkway or purchase a printer and office stuff or build a building or buy a gong. 

 

It is a donation that is specific and they can show you real results rather than it going into someones pocket - which is not always a bad thing either - but if you get my drift - they can show you they used your donation and send a picture with a big smile. 

 

If you are ever trying to raise funds for a group - you can ask for support to accomplish certain tasks and that you are looking for sponsors of those projects. 

 

For a lot of people that want to help out and donate it helps to materialize their donation and feel more close to some portion of what is happening. Even things like a building - a family may remember that their father donated to that building and helped build it and later they may be interested in putting a new roof on "their" building or a paved parking lot or new windows or a porch.

 

Some people donate hours in work of all kinds - some donate legal and other professional skills - some donate money - some donate things - some teach - some cook. Often you can travel to a destination overseas with a pre-arranged schedule for you to stay and work/donate your time while also Being there with those that are full time and partaking in early morning meditation and other scheduled reverent practices.

 

You can also offer a donation of space in your home for someone who wishes to study in your country. I know of several students that travel here to the Bay Area of San Francisco to be involved in Interfaith Council studies.

 

 

Edited by Spotless
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Good idea to get back on topic and off of pestering each other, fun though it is to try and pursue eternal youth by acting like we're still cranky toddlers :D

 

Returning to the OP, I think it is a noble thing to wish to give donations to temples in China but in addition to the obstacle I talked about already here are some other considerations:

 

I think it can be said that, generally speaking, religious institutions in China are doing quite (if not extremely) well financially. Much of the populace has been generous with their newfound disposable income, local governments support temple building that is likely to attract tourism, and some of the country's rich and mega-rich have seen to it that massive quantities of money have flowed into monastery and temple coffers. Buddhism has been the main beneficiary, but Daoism hasn't done badly, either. Here's a photo that illustrates what I mean:

 

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Ain't no gaunt cheekbones to be seen on any of those guys, and they're standing over practically a city of temples!

 

Opulent sites such as the above can be found all over China now, and often they're nearly empty of people even pretending to be Daoists for their day jobs, to say nothing of actual cultivators (a complex I visited in Longkou, Shandong province last year that is nearly as big as what you see in the photo above only had one guy wearing a Daoist costume; the place felt barren of spirituality and I'd bet my bottom dollar he is basically a security guard in old-timey clothes). These concrete behemoths can be built in a year or two and often, though they fall under the jurisdiction of the Chinese Daoist Association, their real purpose is to attract tourists. It's really quite amazing--temples, even serious ones, struggle to find enough Daoists to fill their ranks (a minimum number is necessary to perform certain rituals) and staff their halls, despite the fact that there are now, according to a monk I know, more Daoists than there ever were at any time in history! Construction-mad China has plenty of ghost cities, and it has plenty of ghost temples to go with them. 

 

Sadly, because money flows so easily now and planning is often incredibly poor, I've also seen huge donations squandered by well-meaning monastics. One example that I am very privy to involves a temple that got a huge gift from a businessman who felt that rituals performed on his behalf helped him earn windfall profits. The money was spent to build a two-story retreat building, but the construction was so poorly executed that as soon as it was finished the entire place was stricken with such terrible mold that nobody could bear to live inside of it. Though it was a Daoist temple one hardcore Buddhist nun attempted to stick it out for awhile, but soon enough she gave up, too. I has lain fallow for years, never once put to good use. What a waste! Within an hour's drive of that place I know of a gigantic concrete Buddhist temple that was abandoned shortly after its construction when the master in charge died, and a half-finished mess of a Daoist temple built on land given to them after it was confiscated from a half-finished mess of a Buddhist temple! Sometimes I think it'd be better if we just gave most of this land back to the plants and animals, honestly. 

 

Now, despite everything I just said, I am quite certain there must be sincere cultivators in China who could use some support. Poverty remains rife for hundreds of millions of people there, and because so many financially solvent temples happen to be places that attract lazy (if not downright libertine and licentious) monastics, I know that some sincere cultivators choose not to live in them. Thus, I just wouldn't recommend making donations without doing some serious boots-on-the-ground exploration first to suss out the people, the temple, and the ways the money might be used. That is, unless you take a Diamond Sutra-inspired approach to giving, and you are content to make a donation and give no further thought to how it is used (which, from a certain standpoint, is also an approach with real merit). You'd probably need some good yuanfen, luck, and connections to find really sincere cultivators who really need the money. A place like the Zhongnan Mountains might be a place to look, but even it has become a magnet for tourists and, now, (I heard) luxury home developers, so I don't really know. 

 

In Taiwan I do know people in a group that has bought land and is undertaking sincere efforts to build the first dedicated Quanzhen monastery somewhere in the center of the island. I personally have mixed feelings about these things, as I think one more giant gash cut into¬†forested earth to be covered with a pomp-and-circumstance concrete structure may not, in this day and age, bring humanity any closer to something resembling sanity. I might be terribly wrong, too, but the world is already crawling with temples, churches, mosques, and so on, and, well... look at us! Then again, I personally have benefited tremendously by the fact that these places exist in very tangible ways, and perhaps we all benefit even more so in ways that are impossible for the naked, mortal eye to see. One famous Buddhist who has spoken directly of this dilemma, ŚáÄÁ©ļś≥ēŚłę/Ven.¬†Jingkong, said he takes no money for temple building, and uses it for DVDs and book printing, only. His use of donations¬†also benefited people (including me, as I watched one of his long video courses and learned a lot), so at one point I tried to copy it on a small scale and raised several thousand dollars worth of RMB to print a Daoist book in China. However, the project has been on hold for years¬†now thanks to the political climate.¬†In fact, when the CCP decided they could no longer abide by Ven. Jingkong's growing influence (his teaching materials made it into the homes of millions and millions of Chinese people), they began¬†a crackdown a couple of years ago, and communist cadres were sent to all Buddhist and Daoist temples in the land to confiscate his books and DVDs and destroy them. It's very tricky to try and be of help in the religious world (or via NGOs, public interest law firms, indie media, or anything you can imagine except silently sending positive vibes) in the PRC these days.¬†

 

If all of the above sounds a bit chaotic, well, it is! There are real-deal Daoists still, including some young ones that I've met over the years who will carry on the tradition, but they're not always the first people you'll meet. I hope you have luck finding a worthy project to support, and if you want further help (including possibly with finding a suitable project in Taiwan), feel free to PM me.

 

Good luck!

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1 hour ago, Walker said:

Opulent sites such as the above can be found all over China now, and often they're nearly empty of people even pretending to be Daoists for their day jobs, to say nothing of actual cultivators (a complex I visited in Longkou, Shandong province last year that is nearly as big as what you see in the photo above only had one guy wearing a Daoist costume; the place felt barren of spirituality and I'd bet my bottom dollar he is basically a security guard in old-timey clothes).

 

Yes, in the Wudangshan national park, I do believe they are real Daoist priests/monks/nuns but with a different focus. Of course, it's a giant tourist site, so roles will vary. But when I was eating a snack outside somewhere, I couldn't help but chuckle at the guy in the robe and hat, scrolling through his smart phone like any other bored, minimum-wage worker at a museum in the west haha.

 

I was told religion is banned in China. I think there is a footnote somewhere that says "unless portrayed in heritage-site form, where one charges through the roof for tickets" ;)

Edited by Rara
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Based on my experience visiting Christian monasteries in Russia, I'm guessing bored monks and nuns scrolling on their phones at tourist sites is a global phenomenon. When I lived in China, smartphones weren't on the scene yet but I also noticed young monks at Baiyunguan, Huashan, and Taishan kicking rocks, whittling, or goofing around on the flute. I think dealing with the tourists is probably an obedience usually assigned to novices to test their patience.

 

I hope the present re-assertion of anti-religious attitudes in the CCP blows over. To a certain extent I can understand the PRC's paranoia about foreign funding- the US and other Western countries have a nasty habit, in the Middle East and Latin America, of exploiting NGO's, religious groups, charities, etc. as vectors of influence or destabilization. This does not justify the harassment and repression of China's indigenous religions.

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6 hours ago, SirPalomides said:

I also noticed young monks at Baiyunguan, Huashan, and Taishan kicking rocks, whittling, or goofing around on the flute.

 

Still, if any monks were to be more playful, I'd expect it more from Daoists than anyone else.

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