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The Control and Ownership of Temples

Posted: Wed Dec 30, 2009 10:21 am
by Bankei
With the recent controversy over the 'Perth incident' the control of temples has become an issue.

Who do you think should own or control temples and why?

Bankei

Re: The Control and Ownership of Temples

Posted: Wed Dec 30, 2009 12:47 pm
by Zack
Perth incident?

Re: The Control and Ownership of Temples

Posted: Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:29 pm
by Bankei
Ajahn Brahm has been expelled from the Wat Pah Pong Group and now some monks of that group are agitating to take over the temple in which Brahm is Abbot..

see http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... &start=320" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Re: The Control and Ownership of Temples

Posted: Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:59 pm
by chownah
I think the people who use them should own them....but this is just a run of the mill worldly view on this....ulitmately it doesn't really matter....things can't be owned....temples aren't necessary.
chownah

Re: The Control and Ownership of Temples

Posted: Wed Dec 30, 2009 3:41 pm
by appicchato
chownah wrote:....ulitmately it doesn't really matter....temples aren't necessary.
:thumbsup:

Re: The Control and Ownership of Temples

Posted: Wed Dec 30, 2009 3:58 pm
by DNS
From what I understand and from my own experiences, temples are run by a non-profit organization, usually "certified" by the government so that donors can make tax-deductible contributions. The organization is the "official" owner. A Board of Directors is set-up, usually with about 4 to 20 members. Each has one vote in the say of the temple's functions.

Typically there are lay people as well as monks on the Boards. Financial issues could be handled by a lay attendant, but in practice, there have been monks doing this too. Here is an example of the make-up of a Board of Directors:

http://dharmavijaya.org/insidepages/aboutus.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I don't know the specifics of Australian law, but I imagine that for Ajahn Brahm's community, they will just continue to exist, just autonomously from the organization in Thailand. The only way they would have to close down is if the donations to run the place stopped coming in, which I doubt would happen.

Re: The Control and Ownership of Temples

Posted: Wed Dec 30, 2009 11:17 pm
by cooran
Hello David, all,

Buddhist Society of Western Australia (Incorporated)
Constitution
http://www.bswa.org/modules/articles/article.php?id=3" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Management Committee and Portfolios
http://www.bswa.org/modules/articles/article.php?id=25" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Non-committee Co-ordinators Portfolios
http://www.bswa.org/modules/articles/article.php?id=26" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

metta
Chris

Re: The Control and Ownership of Temples

Posted: Thu Dec 31, 2009 1:21 am
by suanck
Thanks, Chris, for the info. A summary from their website:
.....
The Buddhist Society of Western Australia is a Theravada Buddhist group based on the forest tradition of SE Asia. It was started by a small group in 1973 and has since grown to become the largest Buddhist organisation in Australia. We have members throughout Western Australia, in all states of Australia and Christmas Island, and overseas in countries such as Canada, UK, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and USA.

Our members encompass a wide variety of backgrounds, ages and nationalities.We have Australians from Anglo, Thai, Malay, Germanic, Sinhalese, Italian, Burmese, Vietnamese, Dutch, Singaporean, Chinese, and other backgrounds.

.....

Suan.

Re: The Control and Ownership of Temples

Posted: Fri Jan 01, 2010 9:24 pm
by mikenz66
Beyond the necessary, but ultimately uninteresting, technicalities of having a properly registered non-profit organisation, etc, etc, I think Chownah goes to the heart of the matter:
chownah wrote:I think the people who use them should own them....
My Wat exists because we, the people who use it, put money and time into it, and the Monks try to maintain the Dhamma-Vinaya.

If the people didn't do this, it wouldn't exist. If the monks didn't do this, it wouldn't exist.

Metta
Mike

Re: The Control and Ownership of Temples

Posted: Sat Jan 02, 2010 12:03 am
by Bankei
Its interesting how the ownership is structured in Western societies. I have heard Sri Lankan temples are often owned by families and control of the temple is maintained by appointing a family member abbot.

It could be possible for control of a temple in the west to be taken over by a large influx of members who then vote in office holders.

Thanks for all the links Chris.

Bankei

Re: The Control and Ownership of Temples

Posted: Sat Jan 02, 2010 12:11 am
by Cittasanto
I believe in the western temples within the FS including Bhodhiyana the legal ownership is the charitable organisation who deal with the finances, collect the donations etc.

Re: The Control and Ownership of Temples

Posted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 3:31 am
by Bankei
Does anyone know the situation in Thailand. How are temples owned there?

Re: The Control and Ownership of Temples

Posted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 4:34 am
by appicchato
Bankei wrote:Does anyone know the situation in Thailand. How are temples owned there?
With 30+ thou-sand temples, both ancient as well as recently constructed, there's a pretty wide spread possibility of scenarios...my knowledge concerning this area (C and O) is limited although it seems (to me) that land is donated (by individuals or otherwise) and temples are built and overseen by a lay committee (in concert with the abbot (who is appointed by, and answerable to, said committee))...I'm sure there's much more to it, and many other ways to slice the pie (city/town/village), but most definitely NOT the way the 'West' goes about it...kind of like apples and oranges...they're both fruit...but...

Re: The Control and Ownership of Temples

Posted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 5:35 am
by Bankei
Thank you Bhante. I was just wondering because there are so many different types of temples in Thailand - the historical temples, the modern one donated recently, and then there are samnaks which are religious places, but not actually Wats I think as they have no siima. And then there are groups such as Wat Pah Pong and its branch temples, Dhammakaya, and I beleive that Tiger temple in Kanchanaburi is now affiliated with Ajahn Mahabua somehow.