Xinhua — A State Bureau of Religious Affairs official has condemned rumors that Shaolin Temple abbot Shi Yongxin (释永信) were embroiled in a sex scandal and a corresponding legal case. Suggestions made on the internet that the abbot had been arrested for using the service of prostitutes were rumors which adversely affected to the image of Buddhism and Shaolin Temple, which was very sad. Such rumors should not be believed, not be spread, and religious personalities should be respected, state newsagency Xinhua quoted the Bureau on Saturday.
Being the abbot of Shaolin Temple, Shi also belongs to China’s political establishment. He was a member of the Ninth National People’s Congress, and is or was chairman of the Henan Province Buddhists Association, and vice Chairman of the Buddhist Association of China.
Shaolin Temple had denied prostitution allegations in a post on its website on May 8, reacting to posts on Weibo (微博, or other microblogging platforms).
Shi’s name can frequently be found on the internet, connected with sonorous car brands. He has been criticized for commercializing the Temple.
There will be Traditionalists and earthly-minded people alike who feel inclined to believe in the recent rumors, as a popular picture about a Buddhist monk is about lazy fat people in robes and living on the alms of working people, who still wouldn’t deny themselves the joys this side of the cupboard has to offer.
» China’s Golden Vase of National Unity, Dec 26, 2010