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Raising Money And Praying Not at Odds, Says Political Advisor
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Business-oriented promotion of Shaolin Temple and its renowned martial arts will offer Shaolin culture more widespread fame around the globe, a political advisor said on Saturday.

"We (Shaolin monks) will keep practicing a market-oriented transformation of Shaolin Temple to protect the legacy of traditional martial arts and Zen Buddhism, which is also in line with China's social system," said Shaolin abbot Shi Yongxin, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), China's top advisory body.

To raise money for Shaolin Temple is not merely for themselves, but is a symbol of their responsibility in carrying forward Shaolin culture, Shi said. "If I failed, history would remember me as a sinner."

Shi said he would raise a proposal concerning the development of Shaolin Temple during the 12-day Fifth Session of the Tenth CPPCC National Committee.

Shi, head of the 1,500-year-old Shaolin Temple in Dengfeng City of central China's Henan Province, has sought to shed the reclusive reputation of the temple since he was appointed abbot of Shaolin in 1987 at the age of 22.

In 1994, he played a leading role in the Chinese religious community in the application of registering "Shaolin" and "Shaolin Temple" as trademarks, and established a company for managing relevant intellectual property.

When the Internet was in its first stage of presence in China, he established a website for Shaolin Temple.

Over the past two decades, he has led Shaolin monk delegations to more than 60 countries to perform Shaolin martial arts shows, and set up six overseas Shaolin Temple martial arts training institutions.

With its fame escalating around the world, the temple gained a revenue of 75.5 million yuan (US$9.4 million) in 2006 thanks to nearly three million domestic and overseas tourists including President Vladimir Putin earlier in the year.

(Xinhua News Agency March 3, 2007)

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