DENGFENG, China — Incense drifting through ancient cedars. Saffron-robed monks, limbs a blur of movement, making quick work of imagined enemies. The boing of a giant bronze bell calling the faithful to prayer.
This is the scene at the fabled Shaolin Temple, a cradle of kung fu and Zen Buddhism nestled in the forests of the central Chinese province of Henan, where legend has it monks have trained in martial arts for centuries. But in recent days, another sound has been wafting across its hallowed grounds: the snickering of tourists trading the latest news about the abbot of Shaolin and his reportedly less than virtuous ways.
Over the past week, much of the nation has been transfixed by salacious allegations that the famed abbot, Shi Yongxin, known as China’s C.E.O. Monk for transforming Shaolin into a global commercial empire, is a swindler and serial philanderer who secretly fathered children with two of his lovers, vows of celibacy notwithstanding.
The accusations — new tidbits have appeared almost daily in the Chinese news media — are mostly based on documents released by a self-described former monk at the temple who says the abbot owns a small fleet of fancy cars, has embezzled millions of dollars from a temple-run corporation and has funneled some of the cash to a mistress now living in Australia.
Beyond the obvious legal repercussions, the abbot’s apparent lust for women, money and bling runs counter to the virtues of chastity and austere living that he has long sought to personify as one of the most prominent figures in Chinese Buddhism. To his growing legion of critics, the scandal has heightened public cynicism about a society in which greed and crass materialism often seem to trump morality, especially among those in positions of power.
The informer, a mysterious figure using a name that translates as “seeker of justice,” has told reporters he is fed up with the abbot’s hypocrisy and wants to see the “grounds of Shaolin purified again.” He declined interview requests and has yet to appear in public, saying he is afraid for his safety following threats from what he called “Shi Yongxin’s henchmen.”
“We want the outside world to know that the Shaolin abbot, using Buddhism as a cloak, is a maniacal womanizer and corrupt ‘tiger’ who brazenly exploits Shaolin’s assets and tarnishes its reputation,” he wrote in a statement last week that pleaded for a government investigation.
Among the evidence he has made public to support his accusations are police depositions and photographs of a woman said to be one of the abbot’s lovers, a Shaolin nun who appears dressed in brown monastic robes while holding the baby she says was fathered by Shi Yongxin. Another supposed mistress claims to have physical evidence of his lechery: semen, collected in a condom, that she sent to a doctor for safekeeping. Over the weekend, she used a social media account to post a photo of the underwear she says she wore during sex with the abbot.

Lust and Kung Fu: Shaolin’s ‘C.E.O. Monk’ Is Under Fire

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الخميس، 6 أغسطس، 2015

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