Help wanted: Ancient Buddhist temple famed for its kung fu monks seeks media directors to build brand. English and social media skills required. Not necessary to be a monk, practice martial arts or eat vegetarian.
That online ad placed by China's 1,500-year-old Shaolin temple already has drawn a brisk response, reflecting the institution's exalted place in Chinese history and popular culture.
Chinese state media reported Friday that 300 people have already applied for the two positions available.
The move is the latest attempt by the enterprising abbot Shi Yongxin to exploit the temple's fame in the name of propagating Buddhist thinking and culture.
The temple, its monks and their distinctive form of kung fu have developed into a lucrative business enterprise, raising controversy among some who accuse Shi of over-commercialization. Shi says he's just defending the temple's reputation and promoting its values.
Since taking over as abbot in the 1990s, Shi has threatened to sue companies that use the temple's name or image without permission, and served as executive producer for martial arts films centered on the temple. The temple takes in foreign students, runs month-long executive martial arts retreats, and maintains a website in both Chinese and English.
Calls to the temple's publicity and assets management offices rang unanswered Friday.