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PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 June, 2013, 12:23pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 June, 2013, 2:17pm

Shaolin Temple abbot says he believes in 'aliens'

BIO

Amy Li began her journalism career as a crime news reporter in Queens, New York, in 2004. She joined Reuters in Beijing in 2008 as a multimedia editor. Amy taught journalism at Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in Chengdu before joining SCMP in Hong Kong in 2012. She is now an online news editor for SCMP.com. Amy can be reached at chunxiao.li@scmp.com, or follow her on Twitter @AmyLiSCMP
 

Days after a Shandong man allegedly electrocuted an alien after claiming he saw five, China’s most controversial Buddhist abbot, Shi Yongxin, said he believed in the existence of “lots of aliens”.

Shi made the confession during a recent buddhist meeting, reported China's Southern Metropolis Daily.

Asked by reporters whether Buddhists would be able to study religion in outer space, he said: “Buddhists believe in the existence of multiple universes, and thus we believe there are many aliens.”

Shi's comments attracted criticism and derision on China's blogsphere. 

"Maybe Buddha himself was an alien," one wrote, apparently amused.

Abbot Shi, chief of the famed Shaolin Temple, has in the past been accused of turning the Shaolin Monastery into a cash cow at the expense of the integrity of religious instruction.

Shi, himself, came under scrutiny in 2006 after accepting a one million yuan luxury SUV from the local government for his contribution to tourism. The temple was criticised again in 2011 for spending US$430,000 on some luxurious toilets.

Xuehai, a Chengdu-based monk, told SCMP.com that he agreed with Shi since Buddhism does believe in the existence of an unlimited number of universes. 

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