||Wu Chengzhen, a 52-year-old native of Wuhan, became the first female abbot in the 2,500-year history of Taoism yesterday on November 15 when she was appointed head of the city's Changchun Taoist Temple, Chinanews reported. |
||An inauguration ceremony, attended by more than 1000 Taoists from as far away as France and Egypt, was held in the Wangmu (Queen Mother of the Western Heavens) Hall of the Changchun temple. |
||The selection of a Taoist abbot, the highest rank in the religion, is very strict and requires the candidates to practice self-discipline and maintain a good reputation.|
||Wu, who became a Taoist in 1984, is director of Hubei Taoist Association. She is well known for her charitable work and since 2000 has collected more than 4 million yuan (US$585, 859) for distribution to the poor and the building of public facilities. She has also visited Europe and Southeast Asia to promote cultural exchange.|
||A fellow abbot from Wudang Mountain in Hubei Province said Wu is a very modest person who is very popular with the public.|
Changchun Taoist Temple, located on Shuangfeng Mountain in Wuhan, is one of the most famous Taoist centers in China. It is believed a Taoist temple has existed on the site since the 3rd century BCE. The Temple is named after Qiu Chuji, a Yuan Dynasty (1271 -1368) Taoist who became known as the Immortal Changchun.
(China.org.cn translated by Wu Jin)