The abbots of 29 temples in Hunan province have started a campaign to make entry to temples in the province free. The move is praiseworthy, because it is against commercialization of temples, says an article in Guangming Daily. Excerpts:
There are tens of thousands of temples in China, and a person needs to buy a ticket to enter one that is even slightly popular. But making entrance tickets mandatory to visit such places is not conducive to preserving the varied culture of China. Besides, the public doesn’t like commercialization of cultural sites, especially temples.
Entrance tickets, however, are only the tip of the iceberg. The root of commercialization of temples lies in travel packages and industrial management offered by profit-minded companies that have no respect for faith or culture.
Businesspeople don’t think twice before using temples to make money. Moreover, some local governments have made incomes from temples a part of their regular revenues. Businesspeople and local governments, however, have been making money at the cost of the public.
When it comes to temple-related issues, monks should have the final say, and local governments and businesspeople should be prevented from intervening in sensitive affairs.
Public opinion should be respected while developing public tourist attractions such as famous mountains and ancient temples. Making entrance to 29 temples in Hunan free is a good way to stop commercialization of temples.