Buddhist monks earn an average of 397 yuan (US$63.95) per month in mainland China, am730 reported Thursday, citing an extensive survey by Renmin University.
The survey covered 4,383 religious places, including churches and temples, in 234 Chinese counties.
It found that religious workers for China’s five major faiths — Buddhism, Taoism, Protestant Christianity, Catholicism and Islam — have an average monthly income of 506 yuan.
Many netizens questioned the findings.
One said: “We saw some monks from Zhuhai’s Jintai Temple driving a BMW years ago.”
Another echoed that, saying: “We saw monks driving a Porsche in Changsha in 2008.”
A monk at the Lotus Temple in Mount Putuo in Zhejiang province told a netizen the monthly income of monks at the temple was nearly 8,000 yuan, and they have two months of vacation each year.
The survey said Buddhist temples contribute the most to charitable work.
Each temple donated 41,000 yuan on average in recent years, far higher than the average of 18,000 yuan donated by places of worship of the other major religions.
The poll found that 41 percent of the temples or churches have not bought pension insurance for their workers, while 26 percent of them have no medical insurance for them.
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