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高僧色与堕 | 纽约时报

Ian Johnson 英文联播 今天

#MeToo in the Monastery: A Chinese Abbot’s Fall Stirs Questions on Buddhism’s Path

BEIJING — Over the past two decades, religion in China has boomed, and no faith has benefited more than Buddhism. The number of temples has tripled, monks and abbots have become well-known public figures, and China has used the faith to build ties around the world, sending out nuns and monks on good-will missions.

过去二十多年,中国宗教繁荣昌盛,其中佛教受益最多。寺庙数量增加了两倍,僧侣和住持成为知名的公众人物,中国借助佛教结交四海,派僧尼进行友好访问。


The person most closely associated with this revival is the Venerable Xuecheng, a charismatic monk who was fast-tracked for success. He became abbot of his first temple at 23 and head of the Buddhist Association of China at 49. His use of social media and emphasis on compassion attracted the sort of bright, white-collar professionals who once spurned traditional Chinese religions. Many rank him as the most important Chinese Buddhist reformer in a century.

与佛教复兴关系最密切的人是释学诚,这位快速发迹的僧侣颇有个人魅力。他23岁就主持了自己的一座寺院,49岁成为佛协会会长。他善用社交媒体,主张悲天悯人,这让他吸引了某些一度排斥中国传统宗教的高智商职场白领。许多人将他视作一个世纪以来中国佛教界最重要的改革者。


But over the summer, all of these worldly successes vanished.

但这个夏天,所有这些尘世的成功都烟消云散了。


Accused of lewdness toward nuns and financial misconduct, Xuecheng, 52, has in recent weeks been stripped of his titles and banished to a small temple in his home province of Fujian. Government investigators now occupy the cleric’s main temple in Beijing, have purged his cadre of loyal monks and are scouring his books for financial wrongdoing.

52岁的学诚被控猥亵尼姑且有财务问题,几周前被虢夺头衔,逐到福建老家一个小庙里思过。政府调查人员入驻他的主道场,审查其亲信和账目,核实财务不端的证据。


That makes Xuecheng the most important national figure to be felled in China’s small but tenacious #MeToo movement, a rare case of a politically connected figure here falling to charges of sexual misconduct. It has also prompted widespread discussion among Buddhists about whether their faith’s rapid growth has come at too steep a cost.

中国的“MeToo”运动规模不大却很顽强,涉及者中学诚是最重要的一位,也是为数不多因性行为不检而落马的权势人物。这引发佛教徒广泛讨论,佛教的快速扩张是否带来严重的代价。


Many worry that Xuecheng’s model of a supercharged Buddhism that embraces social trends lacks the very spirituality that drew people to the faith in the first place. His downfall also presents a potential setback in the Chinese government’s efforts to push Buddhism as a kind of national religion that can win friends abroad and offer moral values at home.

许多人担心,学诚顺应社会潮流的超级佛教模式一开始就将劝人皈依的精神性付之阙如。中国试图将佛教尊为某种国家宗教,从而实现“对外交好、对内教化”,他的落马也证明这种努力可能遭遇挫折。


“It’s impossible not to feel pained and sorrowful” at recent developments, two monks wrote in a 95-page report detailing accusations of sexual and financial misdeeds against Xuecheng. They asked the government to act quickly or “we dare not imagine where Xuecheng will lead this group of Buddhists!”

这些事“不能不让人感到痛心和悲哀”,两名僧侣在长达95页的控诉学诚性行为、财务行为不端的详细报告中写道。他们要求政府迅速采取行动,“我们不敢想象学诚会将这些佛徒引向何方”。


Until recently, Xuecheng’s rise had seemed unstoppable.

此前,学诚一路升迁,势不可挡。


Born in 1966, he graduated from the nation’s top Buddhist academy in Beijing in 1988 with top grades and experience studying in Sri Lanka. Two years later, he was abbot of Guanghua Temple in his native Fujian Province. At the time, educated religious figures were rare, and the government’s national Buddhist leader, Zhao Puchu, defended appointing such a youthful abbot, comparing him to Communist guerrilla fighters who led troops into battle while still young.

他出生于1966年,1988年毕业于位于北京的国家顶级佛学院,学业优秀,并赴斯里兰卡进修。2年后,他成为福建老家广化寺住持。当时,受过教育的宗教人物很少,佛教领袖赵朴初力主任命这位年轻人为住持,还将他比作年轻时就带兵打仗的共产党游击队员。


Around this time, biographers say, Xuecheng made a vow. Buddhism was strong in China’s prosperous south but had no major, socially active monasteries in the north. He pledged to change that, and in 2004 got his chance, taking over a largely ruined temple in Beijing’s western suburbs called Longquan, or Dragon Spring, Temple.

传记作者说,这一时期,学诚立下誓言。佛教在经济繁荣的中国南方香火旺盛,但在北方则没有香众繁盛的大寺院。他发誓改变这种情况,并于2004年获得机会主持北京西郊一所颓败的寺庙——龙泉寺。


Within a few years, Longquan Temple was one of the most active in China. Xuecheng tapped into a widespread desire among wealthy Chinese to give something back to society, taking over a charitable foundation and moving it into his temple, and reaching out to well-educated but spiritually adrift people in the university community in western Beijing.

几年内,龙泉寺成为中国最出名的寺院之一。学诚抓住中国富人回报社会的渴望,接管了一个慈善基金会,将其搬到寺院中,并广结京西大学区内受过良好教育但精神漂泊的人。


Soon, officials were visiting Longquan Temple to learn how to do charity work. Although the party’s 90 million members are supposed to be atheist, they lauded the temple for its Communist-style selfless sacrifice.

很快,官员纷纷到龙泉寺学些如何做慈善。虽说拥有9000万党员的执政党主张无神论,但他们赞许这个寺院共产主义式的无私奉献。


Bespectacled, handsome and with a winning smile, Xuecheng was a compelling figure, able to woo graduates from China’s top universities with his vision of an altruistic society that helped the poor and weak.

戴着眼镜的学诚容貌英俊,笑容迷人,是一个令人信服的人物,他能够吸引中国顶尖大学的毕业生,他的愿景是建立一个助穷济困的利他主义社会。


He said little about Buddhism itself — theology seemed a secondary concern in his speeches and writings — but he was savvy at anticipating government policy. He set up an animation department at the temple that developed videos aimed at combating online violence and pornography, adroitly launching the clips on the same day as a government campaign aimed at the same vices.

他不大谈佛教本身——他的演讲和作品中,神学理论是第二关切,他很善于预判政府政策。他在寺院里成立了动画部,曾制作旨在打击网络暴力色情的视频,在政府开始打击这些恶行的当天发布。


As a delegate to the annual session of a Communist Party advisory body in 2012, he gave an interview with The New York Times in which he questioned the ability of government-run cultural centers known as the Confucius Institutes to promote Chinese culture and China’s image to foreigners.

2012年起担任政协委员的他曾接受《纽约时报》采访,采访中他质疑“孔子学院”这种官办文化中心的能力,后者旨在向外国人推广中国文化和中国形象。


“The Confucius Institute only teaches Chinese language, which I think is far from being enough,” he said. “The influence of Confucius Institutes is limited.”

“孔子学院只教中文,我认为这远远不够,”他说。“孔子学院的影响有限。”


Instead, he said that China needed to promote Buddhism. Around this time, Longquan began opening branch temples and cultural centers in Los Angeles, Botswana, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Tanzania. This expansion came as Western critics began accusing the Confucius Institutes of being propaganda tools.

相反,他表示中国需要推动佛教发展。当时,龙泉寺开始广开分寺和文化中心,有洛杉矶、博茨瓦纳、德国、荷兰、意大利和坦桑尼亚。扩张的背景正直西方批评者开始指责孔子学院是宣传工具。


Sylvania Tragenani, who teaches contemporary Buddhism at Groningen University in the Netherlands, said Buddhism seemed to have been chosen over China’s other three legal religions — Islam, Christianity and Taoism — as the most appropriate to represent it abroad.

在荷兰格罗宁根大学教当代佛学的西尔瓦尼亚·特拉吉纳尼说,相比中国其他三个主要法定宗教——伊斯兰家、基督教和道教——佛教看起来被认为最适宜在海外代表中国。


Islam and Christianity have too many ties to other countries, she said, while Taoism is an indigenous Chinese faith that foreigners often have difficulty understanding. Buddhism, by contrast, is familiar because of the popularity of Japanese versions, like Zen.

伊斯兰教和基督教许多国家都信,她说,道教又太过中国了,外国人搞不懂。相反,佛教因为日本禅宗大受欢迎而为人所知。


“Buddhism is the religious flag of China,” Professor Tragenani said. “It’s like Catholicism used to be for Italy, France and Spain.

“佛教是中国的宗教旗帜,”特拉吉纳尼说。“就像意大利、法国和西班牙的天主教。”


It was this program of sending clergy abroad that led to Xuecheng’s downfall. Most of those sent overseas were nuns. Like Xuecheng, they had taken a vow of chastity. But unlike other clergy members, who are banned by monastic rules from using cellphones, these nuns were given phones so they could communicate when overseas.

正是让僧侣走出国门的项目导致学诚的倒台。多数派往海外的是女尼。与学诚一样,她们都曾立誓保持贞洁。但不像其他僧侣要遵守不能使用手机的戒律,女尼们有手机,保证在海外时可以相互通讯。


Then half a dozen were summoned to meet Xuecheng for instruction. Xuecheng began sending them explicit messages, according to transcripts reprinted in the 95-page report, such as asking one if she would be willing to be caressed and have intercourse. When she said no, he said she had to “break through” this kind of thinking. He started a conversation with another nun, asking her, “Who do you belong to?” Her answer: “The Master,” meaning Xuecheng, an exchange that made clear the power relationship between the two.

当时六个女尼受召面见学诚听法。根据这份95页的报告,学诚开始发送露骨的信息,如问她是否愿意被抚摸并发生关系。她拒绝后,学诚说她必须“突破”这种想法。他还同另一位女尼交谈,问她,“你属于谁?”她的答案是师父,即学诚,这种谈话表明两人之间的权力关系。


Late last year, the nuns contacted two senior monks, who took up their cause. In their report, the monks also assert that donations to the temple were siphoned into Xuecheng’s personal bank account.

去年底,女尼联系了两名高级僧侣,后者要为她们出头。报告中,他们还说寺院的捐赠被转到学诚的个人银行账户中去。


But — symptomatic of China’s top-down system — the monks alleged that Xuecheng blocked their efforts to begin a formal investigation. In February, the monks forwarded their report to the government, and in August someone posted it on social media. Later that month, Xuecheng was stripped of his main titles and the authorities confirmed he had sent the messages.

但在一个自上而下的体系中,两名僧侣称学诚阻止了正式调查。2月,他们将报告提交政府,8月有人将报告贴在互联网上。当月末,学诚被免去其主要职务,当局称他发送骚扰信息的问题经查属实。


Li Tingting, a prominent Chinese feminist activist now living in London, said the charges represent the spread of the Chinese #MeToo movement beyond relatively soft targets, like figures in academia, the news media and nongovernmental organizations, who in China generally have little political clout.

居住在伦敦的中国女性主义活动人士李婷婷(音)表示,指控代表中国“#MeToo”运动突破了软目标,不限于学院、新闻媒体和非政府组织的人物,他们在中国没什么影响力。


Unclear, though, is why the allegations against Xuecheng were made public. One reason may be that the monks were worried that the report was being swept under the carpet. (Efforts to reach the monks who wrote it were unsuccessful.)

但尚不清楚的是对学诚的指控为何被公开。一个原因可能是僧侣担心该报告会被压下去。(本报尝试联系到这两名僧侣但未获成功。)


But others say the report was intended to wake up the faithful to the dangers of Xuecheng’s embrace of social media and social elites.

但也有人说报告旨在唤醒信众,让他们知道学诚运用社交媒体、结交社会精英的危险。


A prominent scholar at Renmin University in Beijing who advises the government on religious policy said many people feel that temples are too commercial and just a way for people to make money. Asking for anonymity because of his work for the government, he said the authorities had begun cutting or eliminating entrance tickets and banning temples from engaging in business, adding: “Otherwise, it’s hard to argue that you’re offering an alternative to materialism.”

中国人民大学一位知名学者和政府宗教政策参议说,许多人认为寺院太商业化了,不过是某些人捞钱的法子。在体制内的他要求匿名。他说当局开始降低甚至取消门票,禁止寺院参与商业活动,还说,“否则,你很难说你提供了不同于物质主义的东西”。


Many of Xuecheng’s followers think he has been given a raw deal and hope he will be back.

许多学诚的信众认为他受到不公平对待,希望他能回来。


“Xuecheng did a lot of good things; he had great virtues,” said one, a 25-year-old who runs an inn for pilgrims near Longquan Temple and asked for anonymity for fear of government trouble. “You can’t deny him totally, even if he did it.”

“学诚做了很多好事,他有大德,”一位25岁的受访者说,他在龙泉寺旁边开了一家旅社供朝供者住宿,他要求匿名,担心给自己惹上麻烦。“你们不能彻底否定他,就算他做了那事。”



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