A Romanian layman is asking for offering (his goal is 10,000 Euro) on the internet so that he may continue his studies. In return he will give you small perks and the grand prize is praising the patron as a Bodhisattva, only if you offer more than 500 Euro. Is it a sign of Western culture misunderstanding Buddhism? Or phenomena of our degenerated age; when self importance has became paramount.
Offerings are given to field of merits. They are your guru, monks, nuns, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Or other beings: the poor, sicks, orphan, your aged parents, etc. These have many benefits. But a 27 years old healthy male, should earns his own money even if it is for Buddhist studies.
His passion of wanting to bring Buddhism to Romania is good, but asking for others to donate using the name of dharma practice is extremely risky. The monks and nuns have the appearance of being our merit field is because of their good merit and blessings from the Buddhas, and they in return make offering to us through teaching and living the dharma. Most laymen do not have the merits and virtues to live and teach the dharma fully, nor do we have the merit to appear as the ordained to becoming a field of merits. It is very likely that we are simply depleting our merits if we ask others for donations or offering…
Hope this Romanian friend is a Bodhisattva and he will become a field of merit in the future, and not accumulate the faults mentioned above. Any thought??