Half a decade ago, Beijingar Robert Zhao traveled to Tibet. His experience on the course of the journey was confusing and intriguing. Being a science graduate from the elite Tsinghua University of China, he had been taught to mistrust religion and superstition, but the rare culture and devotion of the Buddhists intrigued him so much that he wanted to know more.
Now at 25 years of age, Zhao is thinking of leaving his current job in an environmental firm to become a monk, as he revealed in an interview with CNN.
In China, Buddhism is an historic religion. This religion was imported by missionaries form India in the era of Han dynasty. However, the rich cultured religion suffered massive setbacks during the Maoist regime.
During that gloomy period, most of the temples and monasteries were demolished in the wake of the revolutionary culture that had emerged, and monks were penalized for having a total belief in superstition. However, currently, a large number of Chinese are beginning to pick up interest once more in the dormant Buddhist movement.
While some people like Zhao are turning to the age-long tradition as a result of a search for a spiritual support in this current day rivalry and revolutionary society, others simply derive pleasure in volunteering and meditating – things the Buddhist tradition affords them to do.
Now that Robert Zhao is contemplating becoming a monk, it is in no way an easy task combining his profession with the tradition, considering the enormous modern life demands of the Buddhist religion. Zhao is an assistant to a boss in one of the environmental companies, and his religion dictates that it is somewhat a taboo to entertain both clients and partners.
He admitted that his social life is suffering because he must not drink, smoke, or even eat meat. As a result, the company has no choice but to incur extra costs by sending another person along with him to entertain clients that actually need to be entertained in the very manner that Zhao’s religion abhors. According to Fenggang Yang, the director of the Center on Religion and Chinese Society at Purdue, the cause of the ever increasing number of youths turning to Buddhism cannot be really explained.
He was quick to underscore the fact that while many naturally develop an interest because their parents and grandparents are devoted worshipers, others are led to the religion in the university due to the fact that they have monks as lecturers, or Buddhist groups are active on campus.
Yang also tried to explain the phenomenon of millennials drifting towards the tradition, rather than other religious congregations, in present due by stating that the Chinese Communist Party policy has “moved toward treating Buddhism more favorably than other religions.”
In addition, he went further to say that the Chinese Communist Party policy kind of elevates Buddhism above other forms of religions, as authorities are cracking down on Christians, which their churches demolished. Until the recent crackdown on Christianity, the religion had been witnessing considerable growth. For little or no reason, the authorities suddenly began to demolish churches and tear down crosses.
Yang also added that people are seemingly getting attracted to Tibetan Buddhism, because of their unique chanting, physical, and spiritual practices.