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The abbot of Ci'en Temple in Zhejiang province never thought the chance to live as a Buddhist monk would attract so many people.
The temple in Taizhou city published a notice on its website, offering people the experience of living as a monk or nun, starting July 15. As of Tuesday, more than 1,000 people had applied, far beyond the capacity of the temple.
Shi Zhidu, the abbot of Ci'en Temple in Zhejiang province, has been getting many phone calls about the temporary Buddhist experience, July 9. [Photo/CFP]
The temporary experience can last from three months to one year. Both men and women can apply, and they don't need to shave their heads. The temple provides free meals and accommodation, and they can bring their computers and mobile phones.
"Every day I receive numerous calls, and I'm too busy to reply to all of them," said Shi Zhidu, the temple's abbot.
Some gave reasons that the abbot could not reject. One said he had wandered along the river for a while and wanted to commit suicide. He asked the abbot to accept him.
"To purify the soul and find myself," "To strengthen the will and tranquilize the soul," "It can correct bad habits," were some of the most frequently mentioned reasons among Internet users discussing the topic.
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.