The end of the world?
Updated: 2012-12-17 08:12
According to some readings of the Mayan calendar, the world will end on Friday, Dec 21. China Daily canvassed the views of a popular Buddhist monk, a student who invented a clock that tells people how much longer they have to live, an astrologer, a best-selling science fiction writer, and an entrepreneur.
Master Yancan is the abbot of Shuiyue Temple in Cangzhou, Hebei province, and also vice-chairman of the provincial Buddhist Association. Renowned for his easygoing personality and lively sense of humor, the abbot has more than 4 million followers on Sina Weibo.
A1: There is no such concept as Doomsday in Buddhism. This is a word from Western culture. I see it (Chinese people talking about it) as a result of East meeting West, and some people are confused by that idea. Personally, I don't see any sign of doomsday approaching; it's just a joke the Mayans left us. People have never thought the Mayans were humorous. However, they were good at black humor and that humor has frightened a lot of people.
I suggest we nominate Dec 21 as World Humor Day to commemorate the humor of the Mayans. If you don't feel happy, just make fun of yourself; that is something human beings have always done.
A2: Dec 21 will be a carnival for office workers. The kids are just behaving as usual, while seniors are indifferent. But one thing is for sure: The Internet is full of talk about doomsday coming on Friday.
A3: I haven't made preparations, but I am busy answering people's questions about doomsday online. Some of the "little apprentices" (orphaned children adopted by the temple) have asked me to stay with them on the day, so that they will feel safe. They also asked me to save seats - on Noah's Ark! - for their friends and teachers at the kindergarten. Actually they have no idea what doomsday is; they just think it's another holiday and they can all travel together.
A4: Buddhists should be completely indifferent to worldly temptations. If I had any regret, it would be that the few TV programs that featured me haven't been broadcast yet, and I wish I could have the opportunity to watch them.