Some say musical monks create discord
Updated: 2012-10-11 11:17
Tiantai Temple's Buddhist art troupe has been criticized by some believers for deviating from orthodoxy, playing Western instruments and allowing men and women to sing and dance together, abbot Shi Wule says.
Director of the Chinese National Academy of Arts' religious arts research center Tian Qing prefers not to weigh in.
Instead, he says the performances are "100 percent unrelated to Buddhist music", because the genre has its own traditions.
The Buddhist community generally embraces an attitude of tolerance toward the troupe, believing Buddhism is inclusive and has many facets.
Buddhism keeps pace with the times by absorbing different elements, which leads to healthier lives and a more harmonious society, says one Buddhist Academy of China master, who requested anonymity.
He says playing Western instruments doesn't violate Buddhist tenets, since foreign music and culture have become part of life in China.
But he says involvement in the arts shouldn't lead to self-indulgence but rather should expand students' understanding of Buddhism.