China's richest man donates $150 mn for Buddhist temple

The Economic Times, 10 Nov, 2010

BEIJING, China -- The Grand Bao'en Temple, a Buddhist monastery which had unveiled relics purported to have been sent by Emperor Ashoka, has received a mammoth donation of $150 million from the country's richest man.

Wang Jianlin, Chairman of the property company Dalian Wanda Group made the donation offer, regarded as the biggest donation besides being the first of its kind to a religious place.

Wang who was ranked first on the Hurun Research Institute's China Property Rich List this year, promised to donate the money from his personal wealth for reconstruction of the Grand Bao'en Temple in Nanjing, East China's Jiangsu province.

The amount would be donated to the China Charity Federation in December, and the federation will allocate it to the city of Nanjing in three stages, state-run 'China Daily' reported.

Wang said his donation is out of respect toward traditional Chinese culture, even though he is not a Buddhist.

"It's a good thing for entrepreneurs to donate for the protection of historical relics, as too much donation flows into the sectors of disaster relief, education and health care in China," Deng Guosheng, deputy director of Non-Governmental Organisation Research Centre at Tsinghua University said, commenting on the donation.

The Buddha's relics, which were discovered in the Nanjing temple premises, were consecrated in a ceremony telecast live nation wide by the state-run television earlier in the year.

The Grand Bao'en Temple was considered one of the three most famous temples in Nanjing in the early years of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).