Advocates of Buddhism have always promoted the benefits it can bring to an individual through the sense of harmony it bestows. However, according to the China Fuzhou News Network, it could also radically improve agricultural yields. It cites the example of an experiment that has been underway for the last three seasons in Liangshan village in Fujian. The local farmers have been playing the Buddhist Thanksgiving Song and other of the religion’s zen-like hymns to their rice crops (via speakers that look like lotus leafs, no less). The music players are all solar-powered and automatically loop 30 Buddhists songs 24 hours a day. To test its impact a quarter of Liangshan’s 27 hectares of paddy have used the music, while the others have not. The villagers have found that the yield on those with the Buddhist mantras playing have been 15% higher. Chinese agricultural experts said this might be because the music was deterring insects and mice. Liu Jianfu, associate professor of the Department of Biological Engineering and Technology with Huaqiao University, goes further saying musical sound waves can promote increases in plant growth by affecting their organs’ cell division. He even proclaims the system as “a new agricultural technology.” But Apple Daily say many of his compatriots are dismissive of the claims: “Internet users thought that the news was nonsense, even reminiscent of the Great Leap Forward when officials exaggerated yields, claiming 50,000 kg per mu (i.e. about 666 square metres)”.
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