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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Kung fu temple in the cross hairs

By Xuyang Jingjing (Global Times)

07:56, January 10, 2012

Two vendors who claim to be Shaolin monks sell calligraphy to tourists outside the temple on December 23, 2011.(Photo:Xuyang Jingjing/GT)

The Abbot of Shaolin Temple is a very busy man. Not only does he attend to his daily spiritual duties, he also runs a mini business empire that takes him to meetings around the world.

He's not too busy, however, to refute rumors that the temple is overly commercialized and that he leads a shady private life.

Wearing classic yellow robes, Shi Yongxin seems perpetually caught in the middle of a number of rather ugly issues that are likely keeping him far from nirvana.

He's trying to grow awareness of his religion, protect his temple's brand name and care for hundreds of monks, while others turn his millennia-old Buddhist sanctuary into a money-grubbing tourist attraction.

Like a good Buddhist, however, the rotund Yongxin says he doesn't care about the personal attacks that he's endured for decades.

No time for rumors and insults

"I don't have the time to deal with all the rumors about me or Shaolin," said Yongxin in an interview that took over a month to arrange. "The innocent will always remain innocent," he said philosophically.

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