Top monk clarifies outreach efforts

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Global Times, March 9, 2011
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The top monk at the Shaolin Temple in Henan Province said published reports that claimed they opened 40 offices overseas for commercial purposes were false and misleading.

Shi Yongxin, the abbot of the temple, said they opened centers to promote Buddhism and offer some courses and training without a profit-driven agenda.

He clarified the issue during a panel discussion Sunday at the ongoing National People's Congress (NPC), the Guangzhou-based New Express Daily reported.

Shi, who is also an NPC deputy, said that another report that alleged someone was offering 4,000 yuan ($609) a month to hire professional monks was also erroneous.

In October, a website based in Guizhou Province had a posting that said a local Buddhist was interested in hiring monks.

"This is so misleading," Shi said. "We have never done this and I don't think other temples will ever do this either."

In January, Shaolin Temple, the birthplace of Chinese kung fu and Zen Buddhism, made headlines after reports said it opened 40 overseas companies. There was nationwide debate and some said the offices could be used to commercialize the spiritual icon.

Shaolin Temple owns a website and runs several microblogs on and, with tens of thousands of followers.

As an NPC deputy, Shi handed over proposals this year to better protect the temple's ancient books.

Shi said some Shaolin buildings have been listed as the world cultural heritage and that Chinese kung fu is deemed an intangible heritage. But measures to protect the huge collection of ancient books stored in temple are inadequate, according to a report.

Around 2 million tourists, including 100,000 foreigners, visit the temple every year to learn Chinese kung fu and tour the site. The temple is 1,500 years old.

"We hope to provide a platform where people could enjoy closer links with the temple through more modern and efficient channels and avoid misunderstandings," Shi said.

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