Living as a monk, temporarily

Updated: 2013-08-19 13:24


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Living as a monk, temporarily

People read Buddhism scripture for more than 2 hours after the noon break at the Ci'en Temple, in Taizhou, Zhejiang province on August 16, 2013. Men and women sit separately, and they will also take a short break during the reading period.[Photo/CFP]

The Ci'en Temple in Taizhou, Zhejiang province recently posted a notice on its website offering visitors the experience of living temporarily as a monk or nun.

The temple's website announcement went viral in July, with more than 1,000 people signing up, which is far beyond the temple's capacity.

Due to such overwhelming interest from the public, the 1,400-year temple had to postpone the opportunity, but those who didn't see the notice online still went and were allowed in as their actions were appreciated by those who run the temple.

There are nine monks at the Ci'en Temple including Shi Zhidu, the temple's abbot. Currently, 30 visitors are experiencing what it is like to live as a monk.

Overall, temple life is simple. Morning class begins after waking up at 3 am. Luckily Buddhism beginners are not required to be professional as remaining devout and quiet is enough.

Breakfast is served after the morning class. Men and women sit separately and talking is prohibited. Most of the meals prepared consist of vegetables.

After the noon break, people engage in cleaning the temple and reading Buddhist scriptures. At 6 pm Shi Zhidu leads people through meditation for thirty minutes with men and women also sitting separately.

At 8 pm the evening drum is used to signal the day has come to an end.

Ma Liang, a professor at Zhejiang Gongshang University, said this phenomenon is a reflection of how many people are under great pressure and are restless.

"On the one hand, many people have lost their goals in the struggle of study or work, and hope to have reflection time through the activity; on the other hand, people want to find a place to get out of life and work pressures," said Ma.

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