China / Society

Fake Buddha apologizes, resigns posts

By Xu Wei ( Updated: 2015-12-08 19:13

A self-proclaimed Living Buddha who "ordained" Chinese actor Zhang Tielin has issued an apology and resigned from all posts after a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery denied certifying him as a Living Buddha.

Baima Aose said on his Sina Weibo account on Tuesday that he will resign from all posts, give up all titles, honors and certificates, and devote himself to religious practice.

He called himself a yoga practitioner, rather than a Living Buddha, in the online statement.

"Issues involving my ordination and reincarnation have caused resentment and doubts from Buddhist monks and practitioners as well as the public … It has also caused misunderstanding from the public about Buddhism itself. I deeply regret that," he said.

Before the resignation, he was the chairman of the World Trade United Foundation and co-founder of the Hong Kong Buddhist Culture Estate.

However, he insisted that the video footage featuring Baima Aose and actor Zhang Tielin dressed like Buddhist monks was not a Living Buddha enthronement ceremony.

The video went viral on the Internet in late November, and Baima Aose has since come under mounting fire from Internet users as well as Buddhist practitioners for violating Tibetan Buddhist practice. Many also doubted the authenticity of his status as a Living Buddha.

In response, Baima Aose posted a video on his Weibo account on Nov 28 which he claimed to be of an enthronement ceremony hosted by Mozha Rinpoche, a Living Buddha from the Katuo Monastery in Sichuan province's Garze Tibetan autonomous prefecture.

However, the Katuo Monastery said in a statement on Sunday that it has never ordained Baima Aose as a Living Buddha, and will relieve him of posts he held in the monasteries' Hong Kong branches.

Baima Aose, 39, whose original name was Wu Darong, is from Quanzhou, Fujian province, the Beijing News reported. His family moved to Hong Kong when he was 8 years old.

Tibetan Buddhism holds that the soul of a Living Buddha is reincarnated in a child on his death. The reincarnation procedure is strict and lengthy, and a candidate must obtain government approval before the enthronement ceremony.

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