Monday, July 18, 2011

Temples of change

No longer cloistered, Buddhist monasteries now house thriving communities that develop in tandem with the rest of secular China. Cang Wei visits two leading temples and talks to the abbots.
It's not easy becoming a Buddhist monk. To gain admission into the Lingyin Monastery at Hangzhou's scenic West Lake, a would-be monk needs to complete four years of seminary studies. Graduation still does not guarantee him a place. He would have to go through a rigorous selection process that includes having a glowing testimonial from the seminary, which will then qualify him for a preliminary interview with senior monks.

Master Guangquan, abbot of Hangzhou's Lingyin Temple, thinks the best way to spread Buddhism is through a softer, cultural approach.

But if he does gain admission, he would be part of a slowly growing community facing daily challenges and changes.
According to Master Shuguang, who heads the Qixia Temple in East China's Jiangsu province, there are more than 2,100 temples in the country and about 250,000 monks, including 70,000 who are ethnic Han and 130,000 Tibetan Buddhist monks.....

Continue reading at China Daily.

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