TOO MANY MONKS!
I came across this article about how a monastery in China was overloaded with applicants wanting to become ordained! The surge in traffic to the monastery’s website caused it to crash!
Earlier this summer, Ci-En temple in Zhe Jiang Province announced that they were accepting 20 applicants to join their short-term sangha (monk/nun) program. Applicants were invited to hold ordination vows for a minimum of 3 months, or up to 2 years. During the program they would learn about Buddhist culture, read Buddhist scriptures, live an ascetic lifestyle, follow a vegetarian diet, perform morning and night exercises and participate in Buddhist activities.
It all sounds inviting for those already within the temple’s order, but the monastery didn’t expect 1,100 people to apply!! They vetted through the applicants, and due to space constraints, accepted 200 people. According to Ci-En temple, majority of their applicants were born after 1980.
I rejoice that Ci-En temple offers short-term ordination programs. In most parts of the world, people are unable to be ordained due to the lack of facilities… and in some countries even unable to practice Buddhism due to the lack of religious freedom.
The overwhelming response is encouraging, and I pray for their programs to continue being successful!
Short-term monk program suspended at China temple
HANGZHOU – A large influx of applicants has forced a Buddhist temple in East China’s Zhejiang province to suspend the recruitment of “short-term” monks, the temple said Thursday.
“Safety concerns and media pressure have made the program deviate from our original intentions,” said Zhidu, master of the Ci’en Temple.
In July, the secluded mountain monastery in the provincial capital of Hangzhou started inviting both religious and secular men and women to live as monks for periods of time ranging from three months to two years.
The program is free but requires that participants follow the ascetic, vegetarian monk lifestyle.
To date, the temple has received applications from more than 1,100 people. Some of the applicants said they were feeling too much pressure at work and hoped to gain spiritual support and enrichment, Zhidu said.
“The number of applicants has far exceeded the temple’s ability to accommodate. Safety is also a big issue,” he said.
“The program aims to provide a halcyon period of time for participants, who can enrich and sort out their minds in the process of learning about Buddhism,” a post on the temple’s website says.
The program sparked heated discussion after a local newspaper posted the notice on Sina Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter.
“We have communicated with the applicants and introduced some of them to other temples,” Zhidu said.
[Extracted from: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2013-07/18/content_16795840.htm?]
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