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.