On June 28th, Zhejiang’s Ci’en temple offered laymen a chance to join its eight Buddhist monks for between three months and two years. In the past, fewer than ten people have responded each year, but over the past week, 500 mostly young applicants and thousands of the merely curious have brought the temple’s website to its knees. From Chang Meng and Zhang Xiaobo at Global Times:
“The pressure of my job and marriage has tortured me for a while. I need to find a place to release this stress,” a 32-year-old Web user surnamed Li, from Zhengzhou, Henan Province, who is ready to apply for the chance, told the Global Times.
[…] Activities include chanting, doing manual labor and physical exercise. All activities are free, including using Wi-Fi to access the Internet, but the amount of time they can spend online is restricted.
[…] A similar phenomenon has also occurred in Chaoyang Temple, where the majority of participants in its Zen meditation and short-term monkhood programs are young, as a clear mind is quite helpful in terms of grasping the doctrines, said Master Rulin.
“Many of them came exhausted and confused due to high pressure, high family expectations and the increased responsibilities brought about by the competitive social environment. We hope to communicate and guide them toward finding intrinsic power, and facing hardships with inner peace,” she said. [Source]