I thought to tell about some benefits [of offering gold.]
In the time of Buddha Kashyapa, one person offered gold to a stone elephant and was reborn having an elephant that was gold and had golden kaka. The king confiscated the elephant at that time, but the elephant dissolved into the ground. However, for the man, his karma was to get another similar elephant.
Another benefit of offering gold is to be born with golden-colored skin. Like that, there are unbelievable benefits. Unbelievable, like that.
If someone offers a small flower or some rice to a buddha statue, a stupa or scripture, then the benefit extends from that time up to enlightenment. Amazing, amazing. It is said in the Sutra of Piled Flowers that on top of that benefit you achieve ultimate happiness—liberation from the causes of delusion and karma—and on top of that full enlightenment, all the realizations and the omniscient mind. After this, then you can liberate numberless hell beings, pretas, animals, humans, suras and asuras from the ocean of samsaric sufferings and bring them to full enlightenment. When all beings are brought to enlightenment, only then are all the results of the offering achieved.
So by offering gold, then wow, wow, wow. Can you imagine the result! From only a tiny offering of a flower or rice, so much benefit is received due to that statue. So really, holy objects are wish-fulfilling gems, unbelievably precious.
I have another story. In ancient times in India, there were four fully ordained monks. They were fully ordained but not aryas with the direct realization of emptiness. One person offered food to these monks and was later reborn as King Kashika. But now you are offering gold, so can you imagine the result. Wow, wow, wow, wow.
Another benefit, in order for you to get the idea, comes from the Sutra of the Mudra of Developing the Power of Devotion. In that sutra it says that someone who merely sees the image of a buddha, great or small, immediately creates numberless merits. The food of the devas is nectar and their cloth is extremely precious—all the wealth of the world is not enough to buy their ornaments. Compared to making an offering of the devas’ food and cloth one hundred times to solitary realizers equaling the sand grains of the universe for one hundred eons, to just look at the statue of a buddha has unimaginably more benefits. Wow! Wow! So imagine now offering gold. Offering has far, far, far more merit than seeing a buddha.
Now you see why we build big statues that people from all over the world come to see. You can see how the benefit is there.
Thank you very much for your understanding.