June 2013

Woman sought help from faith healer for abdominal pain

A woman in Tainan travelled to Changhua and asked for help from a Buddhist monk called Master Jianyin. He “diagnosed” that she was possessed by a demon. He recommended an exorcism. After the ritual, the woman was distressed and made a police report, accusing the monk of molesting her at the third floor of the Lotus Club.

Outrageous ritual

It boggles the mind that in this day and age, there are people shunning modern medicine for its cost and invasive nature, resorting to painless miracles performed by faith healers instead.

The female victim alleged that on June 6 2013, she went to the Lotus Club in Yuanlin Town, seeking treatment for her stomachache. The reputed healer was 76-year-old Master Jianyin. She was told to go to the third floor of the club and told to to lie on the floor of the hall. Master Jianyin then proceeded to take pictures of her; first a few head shots and then some full length shots. He then reached out into her clothes and touched her breasts through her bra. He explained his actions, saying that the demon was hiding there because it thought that he would not dare touch her breasts because he was a monk.

The woman was frightened and resisted, but Master Jianyin spoke to the demon again saying that it has been harbouring inside the victim’s body for years and was difficult to remove as it was lodged very firmly. Reaching inside her blouse and grasping her breasts through her bra at first, he then ordered the victim to remove it. Once her breasts were exposed, he proceeded to knead her breasts. The victim was terrified and when he said that it was done, she quickly put her bra back on. But Master Jianyin then said that the demon was still there and had moved somewhere else. He ordered her to lie down again.

Disoriented by her ordeal, she complied. Master Jianyin then began to tap her body towards her crotch. Master Jianyin then claimed that the demon has fled to her genital area was was hiding there. He rubbed her crotch through her jeans at first. When she did not respond, he unbuckled her jeans, slipped his hand into her crotch and fondled her genitals through her underwear. At this point, the victim could not bear the assault anymore. She got up, ran away from Lotus Club and reported the matter to the police.

Master Jianyin’s original name is Wu Qijian. He was born in Peng Hua County, Taiwan in 1938 and started his Buddhist studies in 1978 but only became a full-fledged monk in 1990. Since then, he had numerous followers, thanks to his witty presentations. Indeed, he has been invited to speak at many Buddhist temples and functions throughout the country for many years. He massive following and reputation is known throughout Taiwan. When he answered the charges, Jianyin admitted to pinching the woman’s nipples, but he insisted that the purpose for all his actions was to dispel a demon from the woman’s body. He claimed that the alleged victim did not say “no” but actually told him that she felt “very comfortable.”

It was consensual

When Changhua District Inspection Office commenced legal proceedings, Jianyin (Wu Qijian) admitted to grabbing her chest and pressing her genitals, but he stressed that he did not restrain her and had even obtained consent from her.

The prosecution told the court that being a respected figure in the Buddhist world, Jianyin should abide by Buddhist precepts, be a good role model, be altruistic and not engage in any sexual activity with believers. It is deplorable for a religious leader to exploit his believers’ trust and yield to their own lust, molesting believers in the name of religious rituals, causing significant physical and mental harm to the victims. These acts would damage the reputation of the organisation and breed distrust within society.

The staff at Lotus Club was not available for comment on the case. Wu Qijian was eventually sentenced to 8 months in prison. Interestingly, he is back in “business”. There are many websites carrying his CV and teachings. He even has a Facebook Page.