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Shaolin Temple defends prices

THE Shaolin Temple, the home of China's kung fu monks, has defended a price list it has issued for an upcoming religious service.

According to a notice on the temple's Website, anyone who gives 180,000 yuan (US$26,351) will be the chief sponsor for a major religious event that will run from this Saturday to May 2.

Those who donate 90,000 yuan will become "deputy chiefs," the local Orient Daily reported yesterday.

The service will be held at the Chaohua Temple in Chaohua Town of Henan Province's Xinmi County. One chief and nine deputies are needed. Chaohua Temple is affiliated to Shaolin Temple.

Also on the price list are sponsorship for Buddhist meals ranging from 100 yuan to 5,000 yuan. Abbot Shi Yansong, who is in charge of the service, defended the prices, saying they were worked out after careful calculations.

"Many people will donate to the service," Shi said. "But the chief position at the service should be taken by the person who donates the most."

As for the meals, Shi said the prices were fair. Citing one meal as an example, he said the price included a lecture by the Shaolin Temple's Abbot Shi Yongxin.

This year's annual assembly would be a major activity with 50 eminent monks attending, he said.


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