Spiritual guides or charlatans?

Updated: 2015-12-14 07:13

By Raymond Zhou(China Dadily)

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Spiritual guides or charlatans?

[Wang Xiaoying/China Daily]

If you have fame and fortune, what more do you need? It turns out that many are in need of a personal religious counselor.

Zhang Tielin, a movie star from the 1980s who regained his celebrity status from the 1998 runaway television hit Princess Pearl, was recently given "Living Buddha" status in Hong Kong.

The one who granted him this status has since been found to be someone from Fujian province, named Wu Darong, whose claims of being a Living Buddha have been refuted by the Tibetan Buddhist monastery he said had granted him the title.

This piece of news did not surprise anyone.

As the joke goes, there are as many as 300,000 Rinpoches residing in Beijing's Chaoyang district alone and most of them do not speak Tibetan or Tibetan-accented Chinese.

Rather, their accent gives them away as hailing from Northeastern China, or the Tieling area to be specific.

That area has also produced a disproportionate number of comedians.

So, the running gag portrays them as jobless comedians who fail to get into a sitcom or sketch comedy.

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