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Should monks accept gifts?

Jocelyn Ford Aug 24, 2006
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Should monks accept gifts?

Jocelyn Ford Aug 24, 2006
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TEXT OF STORY

LISA NAPOLI: An ethical debate’s brewing online in China. It has to do with the nation’s most famous kung fu monk and cash. Marketplace’s Jocelyn Ford reports.


JOCELYN FORD: Monks from Shaolin Temple are known for their austere lifestyle and hard training.

So, should the abbot of the Shaolin Temple accept a luxury sports car valued at $125,000 dollars? The local government gave him the car as a reward for boosting tourism.

A majority of Netizens say the gift is not appropriate for a spiritual leader.

Other religious figures are also under fire. Monk Tenzin is a Tibetan Buddhist from China’s far west. He says tourism and donations from ethnic Chinese believers have brought riches to many Tibetan monasteries.

MONK TENZIN: Monks will spend their time on enjoyment, like nice house and fancy life, like a car, maybe cell phone maybe . . .”

He believes many monks fail to find a balance between spirituality and worldliness, but he says some monasteries are also using the extra income for good deeds, like building schools and orphanages.

In Beijing, I’m Jocelyn Ford for Marketplace.

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