Monks by Day, Anti-Terrorism Squad by Night

Living quarters of the Lingyin monastery. (Image:  Joshtinho  via  wikimedia  CC BY-SA 3.0)
Living quarters of the Lingyin monastery. (Image: Joshtinho via wikimedia CC BY-SA 3.0)

After he bloody and violent incident that took place at the Kunming Train Station, an anti-terrorism squad was assembled in a renowned Chinese Buddhist temple with nearly 1,700 years of history. The monks chant Buddhist scriptures during the day and practice martial arts at night. This phenomenon has sparked controversy and heated debate on the Internet.

According to China News,the first-ever anti-terrorism squad based in a shrine was convened in one of the oldest temples in China, the Lingyin Temple. Currently, there are 45 members on the squad made up of 20 monks from the temple and 25 security guards.

According to the report, the purpose of forming this squad was to guard the safety of the temple. To meet the needs of this squad, Monk Hengjue said that there are several places in the temple designated to store shields, police batons, and explosion protective equipment. The 25 security guards carry pepper spray and police batons at all times.

Rock reliefs at Feilai Feng at Lingyin monastry; the panel at lower left depicts the pilgrims of the “Journey to the West”. (Image: Sumple via wikimedia CC BY-SA 3.0)

Rock reliefs at Feilai Feng at Lingyin Temple; the panel at lower left depicts the pilgrims of the “Journey to the West.” (Image: Sumple via wikimedia CC BY-SA 3.0)

Heated debate on the Internet

When photos of the squad members practicing their combat skills were posted on the Internet, they sparked debate. The following are comments made by Chinese netizens preceded by their screen names.

Sense of urgency!: “Even a temple that teaches self-cultivation has its alarm on… shall we [all] learn some kungfu for our own protection?”

Happy Blue Cat: “It’s gotten so bad that even a Buddhist temple that is supposed to be serene has picked up violence.”

Happy to be Alive: “Severe social conflicts and our incompetent government force everyone to become a warlord to guard his place.”

People from Huaiyou: “We will have vigilante groups in all places soon.”

Fly Freely 41021: “Nonsense; do we need an anti-terrorism squad in every profession?”

John Tiger: “Where can I find a quiet place now?”

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