Fri, Jan 16, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Nanjing to send task force to probe death of two monks

'FOUL PLAY' Taiwanese police said they suspected that one of the Chinese monks killed the other at a hotel in Hsinchu before jumping to his death


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, Xinhua news agency reported on Wednesday.

Nanjing authorities have asked the other members of a delegation from the Buddhist temple to cooperate with Taiwanese police investigating the deaths.

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 Hsinchu early on Wednesday, was believed to have been killed by a fellow monk who later committed suicide.

The two monks, identified as Dharma Master Jing Ran (淨然), the 32-year-old abbot of Linggu Temple, and Dharma Master Chun Ru (純如), 53, from the same temple, were part of a six-member group invited by the Hsuan Chuang Cultural and Educational Foundation, an affiliate of the private Hsuan Chuang University in Hsinchu, to visit on a goodwill tour.

The six-member delegation of four Dharma masters and two other Buddhists arrived in Taiwan on Monday for a six-day visit.

Police said it appeared that Chun Ru hit Jing Ran on the head with a table lamp during a heated argument between them the day before they were found dead.

Shocked that Jing Ran had died from the blow, Chun Ru then jumped to his own death from the top of the hotel, police said. Police later found a note in Chun Ru's pocket that read: “Call the police to arrest me; only then can I find peace of mind.”

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

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

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

The delegation, led by Jing Ran, visited the university on Tuesday and was originally scheduled to visit Zhong Tai Temple and Sun Moon Lake in Nantou County on Wednesday, Tseng said. The group's itinerary has been suspended because of the deaths, he said.

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

The Mainland Affairs Council said it would offer all necessary assistance to deal with the aftermath of the incident.

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