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Inside The Hsi Lai Temple

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Gavel To Gavel: Fund-Raising Hearings

Inside The Hsi Lai Temple

Where did the money come from?

Did the money used to reimburse the nuns come from temple accounts in Taiwan? Overseas money would also be illegal.

hsing yun

Asked where the money originated from, Hsing Yun said, "The money that is here with them is American money. It's from America."

The temple says the money came from believers in the United States and from temple bookstore sales.

While Gore has regrets about the temple affair, Master Hsing Yun has none. He's known the vice president since 1989 when Gore, then a U.S. senator, visited his headquarters in Taiwan.

"We joked around: I told him, 'You might be president one day.' And he said, 'Do I look like a president?'" Hsing Yun said.

The master, a permanent U.S. resident and eligible to make campaign contributions, sees nothing wrong in helping his high-profile political friend.

"I feel I'm qualified. I'm here legally. And besides, I don't need the money for myself. I'm very rich," he said.

And his nuns, whose testimony some Republicans hope will damage Gore, remain philosophical. Asked if she is ready to go to Washington to testify, Suh-Jen Wu said, "If it is necessary I'll do it."

How does she feel about that?

"There's a Chinese proverb: real gold is not afraid of fire," she said.

In his world, though, Gore has already been burned.

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