Monday, December 21, 2009
Skateboarding monk shocks China
Photographs of a monk skateboarding inside a historic temple have caused controversy in China.
They were taken by a visitor to the Emei Mountain Temple, in Sichuan province, and posted on the internet, reports Huaxi Metropolis News.
The monastery stands near the top of Mount Emei - the highest of the Four Sacred Buddhist Mountains of China and the site of the country's first ever Buddhist temple.
Internet users were taken aback by the photographs and posted comments criticising the monk for adopting a "modern fad".
"Monks should seek quietness and riding a skateboard is such a contradictory thing to Buddhist life," said one.
However, a spokesman for the temple said that the outside world did not understand the life of a contemporary monk.
"People get their impressions from TV or movies, where monks are praying all day long, without any motivation or desire," he said.
"But these days monks also enjoy sports like badminton, table tennis and skateboarding in the spare time, as well as praying.
"They even use the internet and mobile phones to promote Buddhism. This is not contradictory to Buddhism but actually is part of the Buddhist spirit."