Spiritual ambition

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Spiritual business

The new cultural centers and overseas activities have been with the allegations the temple is too commercialized.

Shi responded by saying all profits are used to help charities, promote Chinese Buddhism, and protect the heritage of traditional culture.

"We do these things to promote Buddhism. Both the process and the purpose matter, so we focus on promoting Buddhism in a way that the majority is willing to accept and participate in," Shi wrote in his book, Shaolin in my eyes.

Cui Wei, a researcher at the Buddhism Academy of China, told the Global Times that the Shaolin Temple is both the promoter of Chinese kungfu and Chinese Buddhism.

"The overseas growth of Chinese Buddhism is still very limited. We have no official missionary monks and no officially funded temples, but the cultural centers launched by Shaolin Temple are a good way to promote Chinese Buddhism," Cui said.

However, Cui said most foreigners identify Shaolin with kungfu, instead of its Buddhist traditions. "I believe that is because Shaolin kungfu is more visual compared to Buddhism, and is easier to learn and understand," said Cui. "But we should not ignore the Buddhist nature of Shaolin Temple."

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