Letters

How To Handle Unwanted Buddhist Pictures?

Question: What is the best way to ‘remove’ an old and faded Buddha picture?

Answer: Due to its condition, unless it is a valued antique (and not a mass-produced picture), even if passed to temples, they are not likely to accept it, as it will be difficult to redistribute. (However, they might handle it in the traditional way below.)

The traditional way of totally returning Dharma materials to the elements is to burn them, while respectfully doing chanting, such as of the Buddha’s name, before scattering the ashes in nature (e.g. on grass that will not be tread upon).

However, in the light of the terrible climate crisis now, the Buddhas might prefer us to recycle, and not create more pollution by burning. Recycling is only the last resort if reusing or recirculating is no longer possible. Perhaps it can be folded up and wrapped with other paper to be recycled. This is to make it out of sight, in case it is seen as ‘disrespectful disposal’. When putting in the recycle bin together, practise respectful chanting. The frame, if any, should be recycled separately too.

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