BEIJING, Aug 18 (Xinhua) - Wang Zuoan, head of China's State Administration for Religious Affairs, said here Wednesday religious personnel should not seek fame and fortune.
Wang is the first government official comment on a reported scandal by a popular Taoist priest.
Li Yi, the priest, renowned for his reported 30,000 followers, has been found by local authorities to have fabricated several miracles he claimed to have enacted, including holding his breath underwater for two hours non-stop.
The priest oversees the Shaolong Taoist Temple in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality, where expensive health and meditation programs are offered.
Wang said no one could become religious leaders with only the help of media puffery, celebrity endorsements and big money, and warned religious personnel to not believe in the fairy tale of overnight fame.
Instead, religious personnel should have a detached and tranquil mind, acquire merits and virtues through study and religious practice, and win respect with knowledge, integrity and character, he said.
He also called on government departments of religious affairs across the country to constantly enhance the education and cultivation of religious personnel and adopt effective measures to prevent the moral degradation of them.