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P.E.I. monks say they feel insulted by accusations over land holdings



Editor’s notice: Learn extra on a latest land use discussion board and accusations in opposition to the Nice Enlightenment Buddhist Institute and Nice Knowledge Buddhist Institute

HEATHERDALE, P.E.I. – P.E.I. monks say they really feel insulted and uncomfortable with accusations from a Prince Edward Island group that Buddhists are shopping for extra land than is allowed underneath provincial regulation.

The Coalition for the Safety of P.E.I. Lands held a public assembly in Montague on March 18 to look at land use in Kings County. On the assembly, the Great Wisdom Buddhist Institute (GWBI) and Great Enlightenment Buddhist Institute Society (GEBIS) have been accused of accumulating extra land holdings than what’s permitted underneath the province’s Lands Safety Act.

“We really feel as if we’re being tied into the Chinese language Communist Social gathering and that we’re (being) funded and that (our existence right here) is only a entrance, that our charity work is only a entrance,” Xing-Chang, one of many monks talking on behalf of GEBIS, mentioned in an interview with SaltWire Community on the monastery in Heatherdale on March 21.

“The varsity is underneath assault. The entire Buddhist group is being labelled as a Chinese language Communist Social gathering entrance. There may be another agenda that we are attempting to deal with (by talking to the media), and we’re attempting our greatest.”

The publicly listed landholdings of GWBI and GEBIS are far under the three,000-acre landholding limits allowed for companies underneath provincial laws. A public search of land purchases on the IRAC web site exhibits GWBI at present owns 448 acres whereas GEBIS owns 576 acres.

On March 21, Sabrina Chang, who’s with GWBI mentioned that the group owns 663 acres, whereas GEBIS mentioned it now owns 577 acres.

One of many featured audio system on the coalition’s assembly, Douglas Campbell, district director for the Nationwide Farmers Union in P.E.I., claimed that organizations and people with Buddhist affiliations personal greater than 15,000 acres of land in P.E.I. however declined when requested by SaltWire Community after the assembly to supply the knowledge that the declare relies on.

Xing-Shu, one other monk SaltWire Community spoke with March 21, mentioned the knowledge just isn’t true.

“It’s numbers they’ve pulled off the Web,” Xing-Shu mentioned. “On one among their (social media) posts (March 21), it mentioned it was as much as 17,000 acres so I assume we purchased one other 2,000 acres within the final two days.”

Xing-Chang, one of the monks at the Great Enlightenment Buddhist Institute Society, stands in the group's field in Heatherdale. - File
Xing-Chang, one of many monks on the Nice Enlightenment Buddhist Institute Society, stands within the group’s area in Heatherdale. – File

Campbell additionally recommended different shell firms or people are shopping for up land that’s then being improperly utilized by Buddhist organizations.

Xing-Shu mentioned neither GWBI nor GEBIS is aware of how to reply to these forms of accusations.

“If that’s the platform for dialogue there isn’t any room for dialogue right here as a result of that’s an accusation straight away,” he mentioned. “How can we reply to that? We’ve commented publicly, we’ve instructed the general public what we’re doing on the Island, that we’re constructing a monastery, that we’re farming organically.”

Xing-Shu mentioned GEBIS and GWBI hire some land out to different natural farmers to help small companies.

He added that previously six years, neither group has purchased massive tracks of land.

Xing-Chang added that there are quite a lot of different immigrants in P.E.I. that practise Buddhism and farm, and a few folks appear to be lumping everybody into one group.

“By some means their lands bought tied into all of this as if we’re one large mega-corporation and that there was a plan for this to occur. It’s merely not true.’’

Chang mentioned GWBI has been greater than forthcoming about its land holdings.

“We’ve appreciated the issues about land and, thus, have welcomed questions and shared our whole acreage of land holdings and utilization in displays inside the local people, together with the (P.E.I.) standing committee in 2020,” Chang mentioned in an electronic mail to SaltWire Community on March 21.

“Since then, we’ve not made any land purchases. We welcome open communication primarily based on details.”

Simply the details

Following is data on the Nice Enlightenment Buddhist Institute Society (GEBIS):

  • Greater than 90 per cent of the monks come from Taiwan, a democratic state off the coast of China, which China considers a breakaway province.
  • Within the mid-2000s, a Buddhist non secular neighborhood, with international members from Taiwan to Singapore, got down to discover a dwelling to coach religious followers in a monastic setting.
  • They discovered Kings County, P.E.I., a rural place the place farming and look after the land have been woven into the social material.
  • GEBIS runs two monasteries — one in Heatherdale and one in Little Sands.
  • GEBIS runs an in depth coaching program for male monks, primarily based on half on the Lam Rim Chen Mo, a foundational 14th century textual content of Tibetan Buddhism.

Dave Stewart is a reporter with the SaltWire Community in Prince Edward Island. He will be reached by electronic mail at [email protected] and adopted on Twitter @DveStewart.

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