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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 September 2005, 20:41 GMT 21:41 UK
Chinese monks to study business
Shi Yongxin, abbot of the Shaolin Temple, works on the computer April 8, 2005 in Dengfeng, Henan Province, China.
Monks in China are working hard to protect their heritage
Eighteen Buddhist monks in China are pausing in their spiritual pursuits to concentrate on more worldly issues.

They have joined business classes in temple management at Jiaotong university in Shanghai, according to China's official Xinhua news agency.

Their study will include corporate strategy and religious product marketing.

Much of China's Buddhist heritage has been rebuilt by the Communist Party in the last 25 years to attract tourists.

"Through this programme, we want to learn how the secular world is managed," Xinhua quoted Chang Chun, a Zen Buddhist monk who works as general manager of Shanghai's Jade Buddha Temple, as saying.

The monks' reading will also include 'The Art of War' by Sun Tzu, a an ancient Chinese philosopher, which is now required study on MBA courses around the world.

The 100-year-old Jade Buddha Temple, home to 280 monks, already has statues at the entrance bearing plaques naming donors who have given $1,200, Xinhua said.

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