Buddhist Monks Attend Business School In Shanghai

Bernama, Oct 10, 2005

SHANGHAI, China -- Buddhist monks, long regarded as seclusive and irrelevant to secular matters, are joining white-collar workers in this cosmopolitan city in a business school for MBA courses, the Xinhua news agency reported Monday.

The 18 monks in bright yellow cassock in the Antai Management College of Shanghai Jiaotong University are studying how to better manage their ever-modernising temples.

"Monks have to adapt to the change of times while inheriting the religious tradition," said Jue Xing, abbot of the Jade Buddha Temple of Shanghai.

According to Xinhua, the six-month training programme offered by the Shanghai Jiaotong University included courses on organisational engineering, human resources, marketing and financial management.

Monks are expected to better their skills on marketing Buddhist books, souvenirs through the trainings.

Places of worship have been revamped and refurbished across China in the past decades to attract visitors, and some have been upgraded to landmark modern buildings with elevators, escalators and electronic monitoring devices.

The new equipment makes it necessary for temples "to reform its traditional way of temple management in accordance with modern management concepts," Abbot Jue Xing said.