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Shaolin Abbot's "purchase" of 160,000-yuan robe receives netizens' criticism
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15:23, June 09, 2009

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Cause of the incident

On June 7, a report titled "Shi Yongxin ordered a custom-made brocade robe; the gold thread used alone standing at 50,000 yuan" was "a great hit" on various major web portals.

The report by Yangtze Evening Post claims that the "brocade robe" specially made for Shi, the Abbot of Shaolin Temple, was successfully fabricated recently, after years of hard work by craftsmen.

The report says that this robe is extremely luxurious, "as two types of gold thread, round thread and flat thread were used, and the cost for the gold thread used alone was as high as 50,000 yuan, not to take into account the costs for other material and labor."






Shaolin Abbot Shi Yongxin displays his 160,000-yuan robe.


Furthermore, the robe is also decorated with a gold hook and a jade ring; the matching hook forged manually with 18k gold for the guaranteed solidness, and the jade ring fabricated with top-class emerald.

Netizens' heated discussions

Netizens criticized Shi Yongxin

After browsing comments and messages posted on a number of web portals, reporters discovered that almost all netizens opposed Shi's ordering of the custom-made robe.

A netizen from Shandong Province responded by asking: Is a robe weaved with gold thread necessary for "saving the masses of mankind?"

A netizen named "Quiet and pure Buddhism" said with pity that at present, Buddhism has lost its true meaning and monks have become mundane businessmen. What would Buddha think if he knew about this?

A netizen dubbed "Ah" said pitifully that, "The property owned by Buddhism should be used for doing good deeds. No matter how valuable a robe you wear, does it have anything good to do with morality cultivation? But, it might be a good deed if Abbot Shi bought the robe to save a factory on the verge of bankruptcy."

A netizen from Guangdong Province thought that the cost of a robe can buy meals for a large number of poor people. Behind the gates of Buddhism, meat and wine go to waste, while out on the road lie the bones of those frozen to death. If monks were able to use money to buy food for the poor, it would never be equaled before or after.


Shaolin Abbot's response

The Brocade Robe was presented by an Institution

Speaking of the online criticism, Shi Yongxin's performance was quite indifferent as he is already a veteran. With a smile on his face, he said, "I've never had a luxurious robe made to order! Do you think I would pay so much for a robe? I don't lack robes at all, and that one was given by the Nanjing Brocade Institution as a gift, means I paid nothing."

Shi told the reporter that he would treat the robe as a collectable rather than a robe for wearing as it is a manifestation of intangible cultural heritage.

"I'm prepared to put it in the museum which is currently planned by Shaolin Temple."

Statement from the institution

The robe is a definitive gift

Wang Baolin, the director of Nanjing Brocade Institution, told the reporter that 98% of the golden threads on the robe are pure gold. The value of the whole robe is about 160,000 yuan which includes the cost of the gold, workmanship and other materials.

Wang also explained that the reason for producing the robe is to make Shaolin culture and Brocade workmanship perfectly integrate.

"I got to know Abbot Shi in 2002, and we were applying for national intangible culture heritage at that time. Now we are both applying for world intangible culture heritage. Shaolin Kungfu is dynamic and our Brocade workmanship is static, we are really congenial with other. As a result, the idea came to me."

By People's Daily Online



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