In 2016, Beijing Journal published a story about the Longquan Monastery located in Beijing. Unlike any other Buddhist monastery, Longquan is run by some of the world’s most educated monks, with backgrounds in nuclear physics, math, and computer programming. The temple is also unique because it utilizes technology to help its visitors and followers learn the Buddhist way of life.
When asked why he kept coming back to Longquan, Sun Shaoxuan, chief technology officer at an education startup, responds:
Life in the outside world is chaotic and stressful… Here I can be at peace.
Sun Shaoxuan is not alone. Because of Longquan’s proximity to Beijing’s top universities, and main science and technology hubs, the monastery has become popular to young people. Many visitors to the temple are searching for “meaning in a society rife with materialism”, while others visit to escape their gruelling schedules.
Why It Matters
Many tech-savvy Chinese are feeling the brunt of a digital world. Despite the growing materialism within the tech industry, many are beginning to look into religious and spiritual traditions to provide respite.
Questions to Reflect On
- Why did leaders of the monastery, scientists and tech innovators in their own right, leave their “successful” lives to study the ambiguities of the spiritual realm?
- What meaning can spirituality offer our modern world which is becoming dominated by materialist ideology?
- What are the implications of a deeper study of spirituality to our quest to become fully human?
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