Tuesday, 03. March 2015
13. 06. 14. - 16:00
Most girls dream of careers, marriage, fun and happiness - but for this young woman, fulfilment lay in becoming a monk.
In her previous life Ting Tien, 24, liked designer clothes and make up, as these snaps of her in a miniskirt show.
But that was a long way from where she is now, after she shaved her head and abandoned the designer label clothes that were the hallmarks of her life growing up in Jinan City in eastern China.
After graduating from Qingdao University in Shandong Province, the young woman became disillusioned with the materialistic and shallow lifestyle of her career minded pals. She retreated to a monastery called Xinlongdongzhi Temple, 13,000 feet up a snow covered mountain in Sichuan Province, and there, she said, she found fulfilment in the search for true enlightenment.
She changed her name to Caizhenwangmu, and spends her day in prayer and meditation in a life of Buddhist spiritual fulfilment. She is surrounded by fellow monks who have shunned the material world to live their cloistered existence.
After posting a photo of herself online in her new life, she became a hit across China. In a country where the pursuit of money and success is now a national mania, many applauded her for choosing a different, more tranquil path in life.
But there were also others who could not understand why such a beautiful girl would give up the material world for the secular one.
Responding on her Twitter account, she said: "It is hard to answer why I choose to be a monk. Nothing bad had happened to me, and I’m not trying to escape from the world. I just feel a need to gain an understanding of life and death, and what it's all about. I’m also eager to do what I can to make the world a better place for all living creatures. What’s more, believing in Buddha makes me a monk. "
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