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Shi Yongxin

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Shi Yongxin
2345 1~1
School Chan Buddhism
Nationality Chinese
Born 1965
Senior posting
Title Ch'an master

Shi Yongxin (Chinese: 释永信; Pinyin: Shì Yǒngxìn) is the current principal abbot of the Shaolin Temple. He is the thirteenth successor after Shi Xingzheng. He is the Chairman of the Henan Province Buddhists Association, Vice Chairman of the Buddhist Association of China, a representative of the Ninth National People's Congress and also the first Chinese monk ever to get a MBA degree. [1] Yongxin is not a martial abbot, but a clerical one, and his duties are scholarly which involves presiding over large ceremonies at Shaolin; martial abbot Shi De Li is responsible for training monks at the Shaolin Temple.


Yongxin was born in Anhui Province in Yingshang County. At the request of his parents, he entered monastic life at the age of 16 at Shaolin Monastery, and received full precepts in 1984. At the age of 22, he became the heir-apparent to the abbotship of Shaolin after completing his education at various Buddhist colleges, and a Dharma gathering was held between August 19 and 20, 1999, in the Shaolin Monastery, Songshan, China, for Yongxin to formally take office as abbot.


Per tradition in Chinese Buddhism, Yongxin wears the robes of the abbot, a yellow robe with a red sash, called a patriarch's robe. It is forbidden to wear if one is not a high ranking monastic, which is applicable in all Chinese Buddhist sects (though it is not illegal, wearing such a robe without proper training is considered offensive towards the Buddhist community).


Yongxin has been widely criticized in the online martial arts and Buddhist communities for commercializing the temple and running it like a business, earning him the nickname "CEO Monk"[2][1]. Most of the criticisms involve gifts he has accepted such as a special robe[3] worth 160,000 Yuan ($23,439 USD)[4] in 2009 and a Volkswagen Touareg 4x4[5] worth over 1,000,000 Yuan [6] in 2006. Other criticisms involve the way the temple itself is operated. After paying admission, visitors to the temple are asked to pay exorbitant fees to burn incense (as high as 6000 yuan or $770 USD) [7].

In November of 2009 the official Shaolin Temple website was hacked twice. The first time, the message "Shaolin evildoer Shi Yongxin, go to hell" was posted in traditional calligraphy[8]. The second time, hackers posted a letter said to be written by Yongxin in which he apologized for living a materialistic lifestyle and commercializing the temple.[9] [10][11]

Yongxin has countered these criticisms by claiming that commercialization is just a modern tool to promote and spread traditional shaolin culture and martial arts, and thus is good for everybody in the end. In his view, "Commercialization or industrialization, whatever term you use it, is a path leading up to the truth of Zen. My vision is that Shaolin will eventually become a source of consolidating Chinese people's confidence and wisdom." [12]

Shaolin Inc

In the documentary by NGC called Secrets of the kung fu temple, it is said that Shi Yongxin is also the head of Shaolin Incorporated, a multi-million dollar corporation that apparently specialises in tourism, merchandising, world tours, and Shaolin franchises in the US and Europe. [13]


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