Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Kentucky Fried Kung Fu?

"Foreign countries attach more importance to the spread of Buddhism compared with China, that's why we place extra emphasis on other countries these years," Qian Da-liang, head of the Intellectual Property and Intangible Assets Management Center at Shaolin Temple, told reporters.

[Shanghai Daily 10 Jan 11] The controversial abbot of Shaolin Temple says he will continue to concentrate on the overseas market even after the world famous temple has opened more than 40 centers around the world to teach foreigners kung fu and Zen Buddhism.
"Only if the temple grows stronger abroad will it have a bigger influence at home," Shi Yongxin, the temple's 30th abbot, told a cultural industry forum at Peking University over the weekend.
Shi said the ancient temple in central China's Henan Province came up with a convenient foreign development method - firstly renting houses to teach kung fu and then using the tuition fees to buy the premises.
"We almost do not need money, but only need to send out young monks (as trainers), rent a local house, decorate it and then start enrollment," he said.
The abbot said the temple did not aim to make money but to promote the Shaolin culture around the world.

 Abbot Shi Yongxin
Since taking up his post in 1999, the abbot's commercial activities - opening pharmacies, kung fu schools and online stores - have come under fire, with critics saying a temple should not engage in so many money-generating and publicity-gaining activities.
But Shi said he is determined to continue with commercial development to revitalize the 1,500-year-old temple and conserve its rich Buddhist and cultural heritage.
The temple had set up "culture centers" in cities such as London and Berlin where monks could teach in foreign languages, the abbot told the forum.
He said each center could enroll more than 1,000 students every year, mostly adults curious about kung fu and Zen.
Shi goes to some centers once every two years to test foreign students on kung fu.
The centers also taught the Chinese language and lifestyles of monks to introduce Shaolin culture to foreigners.
"I hope other temples in China can also send monks to world cities, because it has become an ideal way to promote Buddhism across the world," Shi said.
The temple also sends monks to perform kung fu shows around the world.
Shi said more than 400 martial monks performed abroad last year. They performed in 56 cities in 29 countries in the past three years and won many prizes.

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6 reader comments:

Anonymous said...

The controversial abbot of Shaolin had visited Sacramento, CA in Mar 2009 and made a statement saying that Tibetan monks in Tibet enjoy freedom of religion and that they also lead good lives [http://www.kcra.com/r/18997070/detail.html].
It is not surprising that he repeats the official communist party line, since Abbot Shi Yongxin also sits as a representative in the People’s Congress in China. It is also known today amongst knowledgeable people in the Chinese Buddhist and martial arts communities that the grand question of Shaolin is - Who is, and who is not, a real ordained monk. There are hundreds of martial artists from Henan province claiming to be real Shaolin monks, and some of them have settled in the West and opened schools in the name of “spreading the culture of Shaolin and Zen Buddhism.” Some Shaolin monks that are badly-behaved, or are not real monks, have caused controversy and scandal.

Stephen said...

It is strange that Mandarin-speaking Chinese in China have been and are converting to Christianity in incredibly large numbers. Doesn't speaking Mandarin help the cause of either Buddhism, Taoism or Confucianism ?

Anonymous said...

How much is a franchise, there could be real money in this gig

Stephen said...

Since Mandarin-speaking Chinese in China are rapidly converting to Christianity in extremely large numbers, the "Shaolin monks" have to do marketing outside China.

Stephen said...

While in China itself, they are ignored by Mandarin-speaking Chinese who are rapidly converting to Christianity in large numbers. Think about it.

ernie said...

Very... Nicee... Blog.. I really appreciate it... Thanks..:-)