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China to send special panel to help handle death of monks

January 15, 2009

From Taiwan Headlines

The Nanjing city government will send a special task force to Taiwan to help deal with an incident in which two visiting monks from the city’s centuries-old Linggu Temple died at a Taiwan hotel, China’s official Xinhua news agency reported Wednesday.

According to the report, the Nanjing city authorities have asked the other members of a delegation from the Buddhist temple to cooperate with Taiwan police in the investigation of the case.

The report came after Taiwanese police said earlier in the day that a visiting Chinese monk, who was found dead in his hotel room in the northern Taiwan city of Hsinchu early Wednesday, was believed to have been killed by a fellow monk who later committed suicide.

The two monks, identified as Dharma Master Jingran, abbot of the Linggu Temple in China’s Nanjing City, and Dharma Master Chunru, supervisor of the same temple, were part of a six-member group invited by the Hsuan Chuang Culture and Education Foundation, an affiliate of the private Hsuan Chuang University in Hsinchu City, to visit Taiwan on a goodwill tour.

The six-member delegation of four Dharma masters and two Buddhist followers, from the famous Nanjing Buddhist temple, arrived in Taiwan Monday for a six-day visit.

According to police, it appeared that Chunru hit Jingran on the head with a lampstand during a heated argument between them the day before they were found dead.

Shocked that Jingran had died from the blow, Chunru then jumped to his own death from the top of the hotel, police said. Police later found a note in Chunru’s pocket that read “Please urge the police to catch me; only then can I find peace of my mind.”

Hsinchu police said they are further investigating the incident and the motive behind the apparent murder.

Meanwhile, local prosecutors said postmortems will be conducted on the two bodies, with the consent of relevant personnel, to try to clarify the facts of the suspected homicide-suicide case.

Tseng Kuo-hsiu, chief secretary of Hsuan Chuang University, said the university has maintained close contact with the Linggu Temple since 1998.

The delegation, led by Jingran, visited the university Tuesday and was originally scheduled to visit Zhong Tai Temple and Sun Moon Lake in central Taiwan Wednesday, Tseng said. The group’s itinerary has been suspended because of the death of the two monks, he added.

The Linggu Temple, which belongs to the Pure Land School of Buddhism, was built in 514, and Jingran, 34, became its abbot in 2007. The temple is one of Nanjing’s most popular tourist attractions.

Taiwan’s Cabinet-level Mainland Affairs Council said it will offer all necessary assistance to deal with the aftermath of the incident.

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