September 17, 2010

How much is that Buddha worth?

fo guan shan

The spiraling price of gold has placed a whole new value on Taoist and Buddhist statuary in Taiwan. Gold, selling at $300 an ounce in 2002, is now pushing $1,300 an ounce. Temples are finding themselves in possession of golden Buddhas whose market values have significantly improved their fortunes. While many Taiwanese are building security systems to safeguard their treasures, not so the Nantien Temple in Ilan, in northeastern Taiwan, which built a 588-lb sea goddess (Matsu) in the mid 1990s. Canadian Business (CB) Online reports:

"One would have difficulty hoisting the heavy statue even with a crane," said temple official Chen Cheng-nan.

So far, I haven't heard of a temple that wants to sell. I just hope you can't borrow against the statues.

Photo: © Rob Mcfarland. Chanting at Fo Guang Shan, a monastery south of Taiwan.

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