View Full Version : Shaolin Temple

12-28-2000, 08:17 AM
Hey guys I just read an article, saying that the monks in the shaolin temple aren't real.

I was wondering if someone can clear that out?

12-28-2000, 08:38 AM
You heard of communism right?

well if you did you would know that they destroy anything in thier path that isn't communist

really feel bad for the tibetians that are in exil from communist china

12-28-2000, 09:54 AM
In area of shaolin temple in Song San, there is a Wushu school that are not monks and is government runned. Many foriegn ppl. who go there to train, train at this school. Then there is the temple, who have monks who practice buddhism and MA, and also monks who just train in MA, and not buddhism.
It is hard to tell, but the real shaolin monks practice buddhism.

China is just a communist gov't in name, it is hardly communist like former Soviet Union. There is no "banning" of any religious belief, except for Fan Lun, which is more like a cult, and also claiming Tibet as its own.

12-28-2000, 01:29 PM
The Shaolin Masters left the Shaolin Monastary
between 1928-1933. What they left was only fragments of knowledge and Contemporary Wushu practioners have resided there since.

Being a Monk does not make your kungfu, Shaolin kungfu. There may be monks there, but shaolin kungfu left with the masters.

12-28-2000, 03:57 PM
That broad statemants about what people think is "communism" are very misleading. The form of Government China has is not communism, but an opressive police state with a powerful ruling class imposing their ideals on the people, thus ensuring their power.

True communism is potentially a wonderful thing, and according to Mark could only successfully take place in countries that are extremely technologically advanced. In fact I believe he picked Germany and the United States as the countries likely to successfully apply communism.

I am a socialist, and I am firmly against what the Chinese Government has done, and continues to do. But I also am harassed quite often by people preaching the "evils of communism" because of examples like China and the former Soviet Union.

But you are right in saying that the Chinese Government has interfered in everything, practically destroying their countries own history and heretige.


12-28-2000, 07:49 PM
Fifty years ago while Hong Kong was under British Control, my grandfather could hang non-china flags outside his flower business' shop. If he still lived today, he would be forced to pull the flags out of sight or fear imprisonment.

Go to China and go on any internet service. Try to go to a site that stresses democracy. What do you see? 404, buddy. We may have filters here at our schools, but the Chinese Government has their internet providers filter out most of the things on the internet that oppose what they enforce.

If you are in China, your choice of profession is limited.

If this isn't communism, I don't know what is.

Underaged Drunken Monkey

12-28-2000, 07:54 PM
I am not defying "Mark", but the U.S. wouldn't be changing their primary political parties any time soon.

Lets say I was a socialist trying to run for president. When you get over a certain ammount of votes, the government provides you with something like 10 million in funds and a promised position in the next election even if you lose. This percentage is 5 percent. That may seem miniscule, but its a lot.

And no matter what you say, a campaign won't win without some bad ass funds. I am not sure what the figures bush and gore used, but they are well into the 8-figures.

The only way communism would be successful is if its principles were slowly sewn in into our current parties and then democracy would be phased out over many years.

Underaged Drunken Monkey

12-28-2000, 08:26 PM
The form of Government China has is not communism, but an opressive police state with a powerful ruling class imposing their ideals on the people, thus ensuring their power.

As an opponent of communism/socialism, I believe this is the inevitable result of a communist system.

Whether China is actually communist is another matter...

But a main beef that anti-communists have is that communism, through centralized economic planning, inevitably leads to an accumulation of power among the planners (i.e. the ruling class), who inevitably limit the freedoms of the citizens in an effort to ensure their continued power.

Communists have great difficulty reconciling the fact that this accumulation of power has happened in all communist countries.

In the real world, communism hasn't worked well. Since there aren't any successes to point to, communists typically assert that communism has never been properly implemented.

But I also am harassed quite often by people preaching the "evils of communism" because of examples like China and the former Soviet Union.

I believe that true communism will always result in an accumulation of power among centralized economic planners, leading to massive corruption, and economic instability for the people.

Communism is, IMO, based on a false premise that major rifts will inevitably form between classes in a capitalist system. This isn't necassarily the case. Capitalism has proven that wealth distribution can follow fairly evenly with upper class, upper-middle class, middle class, lower middle class, and lower class.

It isn't a struggle between the haves and the have nots. It is a distribution, with the majority being in the middle class, and whereby people can move between classes throughout their lifetimes and throught generations.

I'm not saying that pure capitalism is the proper alternative to pure communism. But I am saying that a capitalist system with democratic social controls produces a morally superior result than the system Marx envisioned.

12-28-2000, 09:10 PM
The only way communism would be successful is if its principles were slowly sewn in into our current parties and then democracy would be phased out over many years.

IMO. communism will never fly in the United States, absent a major revolution and the abolishment of the US Constitution.

Some principles have been sewn into our society with mixed results. Welfare didn't work out so well, social security did. Both borrow on principles of communism.

So I think you're right in the broad sense, that we can adopt some principles that allieviate class divisions and poverty.

But I don't think we can gradually move to the elimination of private property, absent major chaos.

The US constitution is rooted in protecting individual freedoms, including property rights. Communism is rooted in eliminating class strife throgh the elimination of individual property rights. I don't think they are really compatible at all.

old jong
12-28-2000, 10:35 PM
Whatever the name,political injustice has always the same results;misery,non respect for liberty and life in general.
As for these "shaolin kung-fu monks"Well... they may attract some tourisme.Circus is in town! :eek:

C'est la vie!

12-28-2000, 11:13 PM
from what I was told by people who have been there:

The "shaolinsi" there is akin to learning Kung Fu sets; you can learn the "outside" and look good "dancing", you have to "prove" yourself before learning the "inner" parts, higher levels.

The "public" areas of the Mainland China Shaolin temples are the "outside" of the forms. Hired Monks, small skilled, paid fronts. In order to access the "real" Monks, Kung Fu, masters, warrior monks, one has to be admitted to the "inner" parts of the temple.

In short: who you know.


12-28-2000, 11:22 PM
I agree with ShaolinMantis, as i said b4 in my previous post, there is the outside wushu school runned by government for tourism and the real Temple which has buddhist monks, some which practice kungfu.

About China and communism, i won't get into that cause i am not talking about politics, but i would like to ask how many ppl. actually been to China or Shaolin?

12-28-2000, 11:22 PM
Ok let me get this straight

They banned the Shaolin Temple because of communism. But why didn't they banned the Budhist temple?

12-28-2000, 11:28 PM
During Mao Tse Tung rule and the Cultural Revoulution many things were banned including kungfu and destroyed, but after Deng Xiao Ping and the current leadership very few religious faiths, are banned except the one i mentioned b4.

12-28-2000, 11:31 PM
Check your definitions of communism people. I was tempted to dust off the communist manifesto, and start placing some anti-capitalist propoganda up online, but I figured I had better wait for my shipment of ak-47's to arrive...

As I said, I do not agree with what is happening in China.
And Just so you know, Marx said the only way Communism was going to be able to be implimented was through revolution, preferrably non-violent, but by ANY means possible.

I am not asking any of you to vote socialist. Jesus, it wasnt a statement against America I made or any such nonsense. I was a Marine, I served America for eight years. I have earned the right to voice my political mind. weather you like communism or not, it is a valid political philosophy. If you want to go far bac enough Socrates said that the ONLY government system that would work is the City state ruled by a philosopher king.

You think America is free? I could site pages of things that should be entirely up to the individual that the government misleads citizens into thinking they have no choice on.
The idea here is to put aside your stereotypes and stop being so ethnocentric. Here we place the utmost value on individual human rights. In other parts of the world (Asia in perticular) the rights of individuals tend to be based more on how they fit into a society as a whole. Neither way is "better" or "correct" just different.

We tend to think and pass jugement on other places based on our own set of American morals and values.

What is happening in China and Tibet is an atrocity. No doubt about it something has to be done. The murder, rape and plunder of entire nations cannot be allowed by any means. You cannot blame a philosophy on corrupt officials, because we have them here as well.

In America we are just not as open about it.

"I am not a crook..."
"I did not have sex with that woman... s. Lewinski..."

We are so ready to pass judgement on the ideals of others when they are not in alighnment with our own.

Thankfully I do not care a bit about what others think of my politics.
:D I dont threaten anyones freedom, and I encourage people to do what they have to do to ensure what they feel is right.

I didnt intend for my statement to be a foundation for a political joust. I just want people to check their history and sociology texts. Make sure you know what you are throwing rocks at before you let go.

I was simply making an observation that the Chinese government is not in fact Marx's idea of a true communist state.

Love me or hate me for it. It makes no difference.


12-29-2000, 12:36 AM
Chinese, Russian, and Cuban governments are NOT communists. Real communism is not what is beeing led in these countries.

I highly recommand researching on marxism which IS real communism and you will see that it is very very different from these goverments.

12-29-2000, 12:53 AM
There was a story about when a US president met the Chinese premiere (I don't remember which administration), and the Chinese leader admitted that a farmer will stay up all night with a sick hog if it's his own, but he won't bother if the hog belongs to the commune. That's what's wrong with Marx's theories in a nutshell, in my opinion--a fundamental misreading of human nature.
I will say in Marx's defense that at the time he was writing, Capitalism WAS pretty horrible. But, he failed to foresee the rise of organized labor unions and elected officials passing laws mitigating the worst aspects of Capitalism---like child labor laws, workplace safety laws, minimum wage, anti-disrimination laws, Social Security, Welfare, Medicare/Medicaid, Unemployment benefits, maternity leave, Anti-trust/monopoly laws, product and food safety standards, etc...

12-29-2000, 01:24 AM
Just as a side note it is illegal in China to follow the Dahlia Lama or to be Roman Catholic. In fact they normally jail and put into labor camps any Roman Catholics found practicing in China several priest have spent several years behind bars and in force labor camps. This is a proven fact, communism may not be evil but something is up with that government.-ED

"The grappling arts imply most fights end up on the ground...take them there. The striking arts imply all fights start standing up...keep them there. The mixed martial arts imply any fight can go anywhere...be ready and able to go everywhere."-a mix martial artist

old jong
12-29-2000, 01:26 AM
Just something I heard...The shaolin monks touring the world and giving demonstrations everywhere would be in reality SOLDIERS!!!
Could that be true? :eek:
("Take the bullet from my hand grasshopper!") :D

C'est la vie!

12-29-2000, 01:28 AM
Interestingly labor unions are socialist in nature. Many of the other programs you were referred to were not set into place untill the end of the depression. It should also be noted that capitalism is far from perfect. (I mentioned Socrates' idea so please dont think I am defending or opposing anything I am with the old dead Greek guy.)
Our richest 1% in America's financial resources vastly outweighes every other economic class' resources in the country combined! The class division is only getting wider, and it is because of what Ky-Fi mentioned about the farmer and his pig. Everyone is watching out for their own interests.

In a sociology class I had in college we did an "island expariment" similar I am sure to many such social science classes. We tried to set up a governing body for a group of castaways.

The professor noted that the expariment was part of a separite project she was working on, and the results were of all the classes she had assigned this "island expariment" nearly 100% of the time the resulting form of government was based in true communism.

I thought that was interesting...

old jong
12-29-2000, 02:04 AM
Is that a forum on kung fu or political science?
The topic was "Are these guys pulling logs attached to their balls and praying standing on their heads for real?" :rolleyes:

C'est la vie!

12-29-2000, 02:25 AM
In a way, Communist ideology exists in the pop culture of US of A. USS Enterprise, IMHO, is a reflection of such a community. Goods and sevices are exchanged freely on board of this marvellous ship. But then again it doesn't have the main stream support.

Communists in China came to power with a lot of luck and was perceived by the grass root level a lesser evil of the two "at the time". They got the blessing of mostly unedcated commoners. In reality though, they've done more harm than good. How could you ask a government which was composed of uneducated and uncultured officials to respect culture and traditions. It is like playing piano to a bull. This is why they fear any form , civil, martial, or spiritual, of education. If true be told they were and are no difference to scandalous thieves and robbers ( my grandfather termed it that way).

I always stress on a point that the strength of Chinese people is not some foriegn ideology and political might but the cultural integrity and community spirit. Being somewhat of a Taoist, I don't believe in centralization or one form of ideology is better than another. Good and evil is just two side of the same coin. Leave it be.

As for Shaolin temple and monks today, I tend to agree that they are Cirque du Shaolin.

"Beam me up, Scotty, Kurt out."


Contraria Sunt Complementa

[This message was edited by mantis108 on 12-29-00 at 06:41 PM.]

12-29-2000, 03:10 AM

12-29-2000, 11:06 AM
Thats what they tell the inquisitive to keep them interrested.

12-29-2000, 08:58 PM
People still believe in the legend that Shaolin is the mother of all martial arts or had a great role to play in history of Chinese martial arts which is actually not true. It is fact that they did practice and study kung fu it is obvious in all the drawings and writings upon the walls within the temple.

However, In reality most of what we think of in terms of Shaolin is merely a fairy tale.

The truth is that Shaolin was a Zen Buddhist temple and that is pretty much where it ends. We hear of the story where Ta Mo left India and went to Shaolin (The Liang Dynasty,506-56A.D.)and taught the monks Buddhism and realized that they had no exercise for the physical body and taught them a series of exercises and that was the basis for Kung Fu.

China had organized warfare and fighting skills way before the Liang Dynasty, the time Ta Mo is said to have come to the temple.

During other periods in China, long before the Liang Dynasty, such as the Warring States Period, there were hundreds of wars. War tactics were continously being developed and improved. there is alo proof of Chinese Martial Arts existence before Shaolin during the Three Kingdoms Period (A.D.211).

Shaolin was definitely a famous Buddhist temple, if Ta Mo taught exercises there is still not proven or debatable. Before he arrived to Shaolin there were individuals practicing kung fu there already. Many of the monks at the temple were men arriving at the temple seeeking refuge. Many ofthem were criminals. Many of them had some kung fu technique already and Shaolin was a perfect place to work on further developments.

they lived simple lives and had plenty of time to practice their arts and exchange ideas. Because of this, it may have caused the kung fu at Shaolin to improve or become sophisticated but never was it considered to be a place to go and learn Kung Fu like a school.

Someone earlier on the forum stated some reasons why they were going to leave their school, one of the reasons was because the instructor stated that he only taught the staff because it was the only weapon used by the ancestors. there may be truth to this if it is a so-called Shaolin style.

The most famous weapon there was the staff. Any or most Chinese or other styles, one first learns the staff. It is the most fundamental, basic, inexpensive,but yet effective weapon of the time.

In reality, Shaolin was a Zen Buddhist Temple, It was considered a holy place and no weapons were allowed. As with most Churches, Courts, and Hospitals. There are several things that you do not handle or behaviors you do not do. Therefore the staff became an effetive weapon in Kung Fu that was practiced at Shaolin.

It is known that shaolin got its fame during the Tang Dynasty by helping the government put down a rebellion and for their assistance they were honored by the government.

After the Tang dynasty many civil wars, uprisings and rebellions broke out and it is not known whether Shaolin assisted in these are not. However, it was claimed by many people involved in these civil wars and uprisins that they claimed that they were from Shaolin.

During the Ming Dynasty, which is an important period for Chinese Martial Artists, A General by the name of Kwong wrote a book, after extensive research in kung fu, in order to better train his soldiers and there was no mention of Shaolin Kung Fu.

During the Qing/Ching Dynasty, Shaolin was neither popular or was it famous.However, during this period it began to be greatly known because of secret societies that connected themselves with the temple. By doing this, their sense of purpose, to overthrow the Manchus' was now something holy.

A lot of fiction novels helped to popularize Shaolin as a fighting system. They ahve implicated that there were many Temples. Fukien,GuangDong,Henan,Siquan and other other provines. There is evidence of only one and that is the one that is at Henan.

Sifus' of those time also carried out the propoganda of Shaolin by claiming to be a disciple there, when they acually were not. Because it was such a legend, they could increase their enrollment and popularize their style. they needed to make a living and didn't care about misconception. Similiar to what many people do today.

Can anyone relly define what hte Shaolin Kung Fu System is? What most people considers to be Shaoln is the Long Fist System (ChangQuan). Actually there many styles of the Long Fist System, one of these is Jia Men , which is actually from the Chinese Muslims.

"The key is to begin at the beginning;high level short cuts can only lead to dead end."
"If You can't be honest nothing can happen."

12-30-2000, 09:58 AM
That's strange. Wasn't there a movie, "Shaolin Temple" filmed at the Shaolin Temple? There have also been numerous documentaries about the martial arts on TLC showing Shaolin monks demonstrating their skills at Shaolin Temple. There is also a real-life and well-documented Shaolin Temple monk that immigrated to the US and is teaching in NY. He and his students demonstrated in that "Blade" movie special a couple of years ago on TV.

12-30-2000, 01:24 PM
You believe everything you see on TV?

Gargoyle again
12-30-2000, 10:47 PM
true imaloser,

but I think you are confusing the physical site of Shaolin with the art of Shaolin kungfu. Just because the physical temple structure survives to this day, doesn't mean that the people that have recently repopulated it are "genuine". Look up some interviews with Jet Li and the filmakers who filmed "Shaolin Temple" in the 80's, when they filmed the temple and surrounding area were uninhabited except for a dozen or so caretakers, and had been uninhabited since the '30's. There was nothing being practiced there, for all intents and purposes the temple was "dead". As for the people that have moved back in during the '80's and 90's, whether or not they preserve the authenticity of their predecessors is up for debate, and will likely never be answered.

"You should never, never doubt what no one is sure about."
--Willie Wonka

12-30-2000, 10:55 PM
The media via TV,Film,Comics and other fictions has greatly distorted the truth not only behind Shaolin, but in Chinese Kung Fu in general.

This is why so many people give traditional Chinese Kung Fu a bad rep.

A lot of what most people think is Chinese Kung Fu isn't. The whole internal and external thing is out of proportion as well, that was started by a Chinese writer long ago, inquiring and writing about Chinese Kung Fu and trying to categorize it.

All styles of Chinese Kung Fu have elements of hard and soft. Their approach to these elements are somewhat different however. Some begin the student out teaching them the hard elements and later in the advanced level, they are taught the soft, depending on the physical requirements of the style. Others teach their students soft elements from the beginning and then as they advnace the harder ones.

The misconception of "southern fists and northern legs" is another misconception. All proproganded by media and the kung fu craze.

For the most part, if things seem to be fascinating and magical, you can bet your dollar that most of the time it isn't.

"The key is to begin at the beginning;high level short cuts can only lead to dead end."
"If You can't be honest nothing can happen."

12-30-2000, 11:42 PM
Did you see it in Crouching Tiger? That place is beautifull. I say it kicks shaolin's ass hands down.

If your not bleeding, your not having enough fun.

12-30-2000, 11:57 PM
To put it nicely, IMHO, I think KickMantis's argument is pretty much a standard "scholar" perspective in keeping with "Party Line". I appologize to you, KickMantis, in advance. I really could not find any other way to put.

In the year 4001, you will find "records" and "Documented material" from Government archives that Kung Fu never existed. It's a mythical cult!

It is true that WuShu (martial SKILL) existed in China way before Bordhidharma's time but it is him who elevated it to a higher plateau - one that is spiritual not just technical. Creative conditioning of the body, mind and spirit through hard work and chaos give you the merits. That's Kung Fu the core concept. You become a better person not a better killing machine. Shaolin and Bordhidharma are important in Kung Fu because they have inspired many to systematically transmitt their arts. WuShu today has already developed into a martial sport. It's sole purpose is to please the higher power be it the Government or paying customer, and to satisfy the Alpha Male Complex.

If WuShu perspective is in vogue then by all means follow it. I know my path is Kung Fu and I would take a stance (pun intended) against the WuShu hype even if it means I am going against popular believe.



Contraria Sunt Complementa

12-31-2000, 02:32 AM

You said "It is him (Ta Mo) who elevated it (Kung Fu) to a higher plateau, one that is spiritual not just technical."

There is no proof of this. The only proof is from a legend that says Ta Mo brought Zen Buddhism from India to Shaoilin and that he meditated there for approximately 8-9 years or so and introduced breathing exercises to the monks for their physical health. Nothing about a fighting, martial or war like art. This may well have been adopted in the regime of the kung fu that was practiced at the temple from those that sought refuge there.

There is nothing spiritual about Kung Fu per se. Buddhism and Kung Fu are two very different things
Being spiritual doesnt make your kung fu anymore or less practical than the price of tea in China.
What it may do, if you are serious about your spiritualism or religion is make you a more person of good values and morals. This makes the Kung Fu person a good Kung Fu person. And in ancient times they would use their art for the preservation of life, liberty and the protection of their family,friends and communities instead of robbery and stealing.

Thats what has all these people off the wall these days now.Thinking there is something mystical and mysterious about kung fu. There isn't. Kung Fu is hard work and when one masters working hard at their kung fu then they become proficient in it. There are no real secrets. no real magic, just magical tricks that attract the naive, unlearned and ignorant.

"The key is to begin at the beginning;high level short cuts can only lead to dead end."
"If You can't be honest nothing can happen."

12-31-2000, 06:33 AM
Can't resist an easy way out... :)

In God We Trust - this is printed on the US dollar bills. Do we have to prove that God exists before we acknowlegde the value of this piece of green paper? Not everyone has to be Christian to use it as long as he or she has faith (not the religious faith) in the system. This faith is an edvience of spirtuality, not to confuse with religion believes, that everyone has. A Christian would perhaps appreciate the currency more so than a non Christian because of the spiritual implication, yet a non Christian also enjoys the value just the same. There are evidences of Bodhidharma's existence such as the cave which he meditated in, 18 Lohan routine, etc... What is the benefit of discarding their existance? I drawn such a parallel in response to the last part of your post.

There are a few things to consider before discarding Bodhidharma's influence in Kung Fu.

1) Although Bodhidharma is consider the first patriarch of Ch'an (later became Zen Buddhism in Japan) which has it's root in Mahayana Buddhism. His school was mostly likely to be the Dhyana School which uses meditation as a tool for enlightment. Meditation is beneficial to martial arts.

2) It is highly likely that early forms of Buddhism didn't shed all of its Hindu roots. So Dhyana might have elements of Yoga, which is another Hindu tradition. Yoga can be a great "cross training".

3) 18 Lohan routine is very reminiscent of Yoga routine.

4) In Okinawan Goju Ryu Karate, a Kung Fu influenced martial art, there is a strengthing exercise that is a variation of the Sun Salution (Yoga routine).

There are many signs as such that we can't ignore and discard spirituality (for lack of a better word) enhance the experience of Kung Fu practice. The great happiness (Samadhi) - the "Ah, I got it." - is not an mystical alien feeling to many practitioners. I agreed that is no secrets in Kung Fu just hard work. Bodhidharma is a paradox in which a preacher of peace practiced the art of war. It is this paradox that boarden the horizon for martial arts or military arts practitioner. Otherwise, the demographic would just be composed of soliders alone.


Contraria Sunt Complementa

12-31-2000, 10:36 PM

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Question--If spam is 15 percent meat, what is the other 85 percent made of?

01-01-2001, 02:38 AM
In my opinion and observations thus far, the only purpose that spirituality has played in the martial arts is by giving its' practioners a sense of purpose or specfically a "Holy" purpose.

Zen Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism and the like... were all a great influence in the martial artist because of the times. These were the major religions in China at the time. If martial arts was developed or prevalent in the US, Kung Fu might be a little different, with a more western or White Protestant type logic to it. If it was developed among natives, it would have had more of a naturalistic or anismistic type of philosophy.

Meditation is done in many religions in different ways to achieve the same end, As the goal of all religions, spiritualities, philosophies and thoughts. It does not improve the Kung Fu, it improves the individual that practices it. There have been devout excellent martial artists with unending legends of their skills and devout devotion to mankind, just as their are legends of excellent martial artists that have killed, robbed, raped and terrorized people.

"The key is to begin at the beginning;high level short cuts can only lead to dead end."
"If You can't be honest nothing can happen."

01-22-2001, 01:12 AM
Anyone read the article in this month's issue of Inside Kung Fu on the Shaolin Temple?
It's titled China's Temple of Doom.
It's written by Brian Gray all I'm saying is if what he wrote is true the Shaolin Temple is in disarray. Just like anything else when it come's down to money chance's are that greed will get the better part of you.



Shaolin Master
01-22-2001, 02:01 AM
Though it seems to be messy, my friend (Xu Jian Lou) a chairmen of the association there confirms that the abbott is attempting to remove the marketing calamity and make it more peaceful as in the past.

However, given Yong Xin's background he may not be the most trustworthy. Being more into business than anything.

He will be travelling to the US this year with the Abbott of the White Horse Temple and my friend may be more will come of it then.

I guess I will find out more during the Shaolin Wushu Festival in September this year. Til then the commentary is neutral on the matter

Shi Chan Long

CJ Max
01-22-2001, 02:18 PM
The Abbot and the Shaolin Temple is a very
interesting subject.
The Abbot is the CEO of the Shaolin Temple Inc.
He could do what ever he wants to do.
He does not have to do what you want him to do
or what I want him to do.
He does his thing not our thing.
He definitely has at his disposal 2 million
tourists a year.
That is the question?
Should the Shaolin Temple be religious or
should the Shaolin Temple be Kung Fu.
What is what and which is which is very interesting.
We are observing history in action.
We cannot be participants.
We can only watch as the Shaolin Temple is being transformed into something that the Abbot want's.
The Shaolin Temple is his not mine not yours.

CJ Max

07-19-2001, 01:03 PM
i am working in Korea now. And i will have a long vacation. I am planning to travel to China. Do you guys know any real shaolin temple in China?

The Willow Sword
07-19-2001, 08:45 PM
well uh the real one is at Henan and is the real temple. but if you are referring to the original curriculum and buddhist order with out the modern wushu and the amusement park theatrics, well i cant help ya there,,,,,try hiking into the distant mountains and seeing if you can find the secret temple that has remained untouched for a thousand years ;) i suggest that you go to the temple in Henen and check it out,,wish i could. what i have heard from first hand accounts is that the old shaolin ways are pretty much dead and that now the temple is a big tourist attraction designed to get the american currency flowing through it.
you are from korea? do you take the hwarangdo system? lets chat.
Many repsects, willow sword

Whatever you think i am or want me to be,,, i am.
oh and,,,Jesus loves you, everyone else thinks you are an a$.

Yum Cha
10-22-2001, 02:49 AM
I have a simple question, but I've been confused on the topic...
What and where were the Shaolin temple(s)?
and when?

My limited understanding is that the first was in the south, it was destroyed, then the next was in the north, it was destroyed, then the monks moved south again. I don't believe this to be totally accuate. Canton, Fukien, Heinan?

Obviously, one of the temples still stands, and has been re-opened to the west. Which one is it? Was it re-built, or is it an original?

Thanks in advance.

10-22-2001, 06:27 PM

It has received a lot of postive feedback, but strangely, no one has called me on the Kangxi point....

Gene Ching
Asst. Publisher
Kungfu Qigong Magazine & www.KUNGFUmagazine.com (http://www.KUNGFUmagazine.com)

Kung Lek
10-22-2001, 06:57 PM
Ok Gene, I'll call you on it.

The emperor was the secong Ching emperor, his name was Hsuan yeh his title was K'ang hsi.

He supported the Jesuits in China during his reign and was quite tolerant and compiled plenty of literature with the help of many scholars, artists and craftsmen of the populace with the Jesuits being appointed as the court astronomers and mathmeticians. (the compilation of the Ming shih be one of the most notable efforts of the group he mustered in his service)
In fact he allowed the French missionaries to erect a church in Peking during his reign!

But there is not much note of his involvment with the Siu Lam monastery although he was a sponsor of the Song school of philosophy and ethics. (was this the Shaolin connection, or is The Song school seperate?)

Anyway, that's about all I know (which ain't much :) , but hey, what can I say)


Kung Lek

Martial Arts Links (http://members.home.net/kunglek)

Kung Lek
10-22-2001, 07:27 PM
Want Tea - I mean...Yum Cha :D

The first was in the North in Honan at Song mountain.
The Southern temple in Fujian is still being debated by scholars even though ruins of a temple have been found there.

The more notable temple in the area is the White Horse Temple.
While many Shaolin Monks shared and exchanged knowledge with many other temples, including Taoists monasteries, these other temples both Buddhist and Taoist were not "Shaolin". Although a few of them also had martial traditions.

So, the only solid evidential Shaolin Temple on record is the Temple at Song Shan. Having been erected around about 495 AD.


Kung Lek

Martial Arts Links (http://members.home.net/kunglek)

10-23-2001, 07:23 PM
Actually that's not what I meant, but nice to fill in some gaps. The predominent Shaolin myth is that Kangxi burned Shaolin, but there is also evidence of him writing that placard. As you mention , he was farily tolerent of religion. So I suggested that it was actually Shunzi since he took Fujian. To be honest, I'm not that stuck to this idea, I just put it out there to see if anyone would notice. Only one person raised an eyebrow so far - that was Sifu Benny Meng. But he loves challegning the dominent paradigm as much as I do. It's all postulation really, such is all history...

Gene Ching
Asst. Publisher
Kungfu Qigong Magazine & www.KUNGFUmagazine.com (http://www.KUNGFUmagazine.com)

Kung Lek
10-23-2001, 08:13 PM
Gene- maybe it was his mom? :D

She seemed to have a lot of power and would fear an order such as Shaolin.

I'm still reading about the reign, pretty interesting stuff. Culturally it sheds an entirely different light on the Ching dynasty after hearing the Ming perspective for so long.

There is a terrific gallery on Buddhism at the Royal Ontario Museum right now, so much to absorb, I'm trying to get some time with the curator and will ask as much as I can about the Shaolin perspective if they have any good info.

Just the artifacts themselves are awesome, spanning neolithic times to the last dynasty (Ching).

ahhhh, the wheels turn and the cart moves :D

Kung Lek

Martial Arts Links (http://members.home.net/kunglek)

10-24-2001, 06:54 PM
I think you'll find most scholars frown on Shaolin. So little of the martial research holds up under academic scrutiny. Even the Zen buddhists generally overlook Shaolin.

As for Kangxi, the story is that he asked the monks to help he fight off invaders, which they did. Following the victory, he invited the monks to become his personal army, but they declined. So he killed them. This tale could easily explain the placard. But I just put out the other theory, just to stir it up a little. I do that a lot. So far, the only one that got a result was the p*nis qigong article... go figure.

Gene Ching
Asst. Publisher
Kungfu Qigong Magazine & www.KUNGFUmagazine.com (http://www.KUNGFUmagazine.com)

Kung Lek
10-24-2001, 08:21 PM
yep, sex sells :D hahahahaha.

I have had a hell of a time trying to find out anything academic that points towards the Martial monks of Shaolin.

Seems that a lot of it is relegated to pure legend and a lot of myth with not a lot of solid verified and bonafide documentation.

The buddhism is a lot easier to find materials on because of the Ch'an connection that is intrinsic to teh Shaolin Temple. It cannot be denied and it is really well documented.

Th CR sure didn't help matters, who knwos whta treasures were lost during that period, undoubtedly a whole lot.

still, I think that there is stuff in existance somewhere even if it is through 3rd and 4th party materials.


Kung Lek

Martial Arts Links (http://members.home.net/kunglek)

10-25-2001, 01:10 AM
True, the CR had an effect, but it did not impact other areas of research nearly as badly as kungfu. Chan, while it certainly wasn't unscathed, still retains good documentation. Perhaps it was because martial arts organizations have always been a little secretive and sketchy.

However, if you are really into Chan, Shaolin is not that high on the list of places to visit now. It certainly takes a backseat to temples like Guanxiaosi, Nanhuasi or Yunmensi. I think that really disturbs Shaolin, and is a lot of the impetus behind the current changes now.

Gene Ching
Asst. Publisher
Kungfu Qigong Magazine & www.KUNGFUmagazine.com (http://www.KUNGFUmagazine.com)

Kung Lek
10-25-2001, 01:55 AM
Yes, I understand that the PRC is changing it's line of thinking on the study of Buddhism now. Although they still will not allow the religious practice to come to the forefront they are accepting of its study from a philosophical approach.

This stance in itself is highly interesting. Buddhist philosophy is being taught at Shaolin now yes?

And there is a huge Zen movement worldwide. While Ch'an, by the very nature of the practice is not about written doctrine and dogma, writings are the key to preservation of knowledge and tradition even in the case of such things as Ch'an and it's inherent practices.

The Soto schools of Zen in Japan have spread like wildfire. One of our great poets here in Canada, Leonard Cohen practices in a temple outside of LA in the US. there are other even older temples in Hawaii and across North America.

BUddhism as a whole has been in and out of "vogue" and still is quite "trendy" in the west :D, still, that's better than nothing.

The closer we all come to a return of understanding the better in my not so humble opinion. Any philosophy that points so strongly to self realization can only be a good thing for all of us. Not trying to sound to hippy dippy about it. But in the words of Martha Stewart
"Ch'an Buddhism.... It's a Good thing" hahahaha.


Kung Lek

Martial Arts Links (http://members.home.net/kunglek)

Yum Cha
10-25-2001, 05:17 AM
I'm impressed in your scholarly pursuit, and your attempts to speak from verifiable fact as opposed to conjecture, legend and testosterone.

I read Gene's article with interest. Thanks

It appears you both agree that the Northern Temple, the one that's getting all the publicity these days, is the oldest, being around 1500 years old.

My understanding is that there was a southern temple, that pre-dated the Northern one. I have no fact to verify this, only the banter of my Chinese training brothers.

You two scholars are no doubt familiar with the legends of Pak Mei. I assume the temple that the Legends refer to is the Southern Temple, the one that has allegedly been discovered as 'ruins?'

As these event's took place at the end of the Ming dynasty, in the mid 1700's, it appears to me not to relate to the Northern Temple in Honan, however you seem to indicate that the Northern one was burned at this time as well. :confused: One version of the story even has an English Mercenary with Cannon bombarding the temple.

Do either of you have any particular factual information on this legend?

Relating to Religion, I've been told that in these feudal times, religion was often secondary to sanctuary at many temples, and many monks were only as pious as required to avoid arrest. A good place to 'turn over a new leaf" so to speak. Also, the Shaolin temple was know as a revolutionary seat of anti-manchu sentiment.

Does that sound believeable?

Kung Lek
10-25-2001, 06:42 AM
Yum Cha, I defer to Gene as he has been to the mountain :D

I don't know anything, in fact I'm typing this all phonetically... ok, i'm kidding, but what I don't know could fill a warehouse and that's a truth.

The Honan temple was destroyed three times for political reasons with the final destruction being in 1927-28 when it burned for the last time before being reopened about 50 years later after the making of a certain movie starring none other than Jet Li who happens to have a fairly lengthy interview in the latest issue of Kungfuqigong on the stands now.

The southern temple legend is slightly different inasmuch as the story goes that the monks themselves destroyed it. (Also in a earlier issue of Kungfu Qigong magazine, but there are other sources that point to this)

Look through the archives here for more articles about Shaolin, definitely some good reads. As well Gene has some articles up at wle.com about Shaolin that are also quite good (sorry Gene, but you just have to accept that you are a decent writer and perhaps a book is in order at some point?)

As for texts and historical documentation, ahhhh, well that and those are few and far between and you will simply have to dig deep. Maybe even learn how to read some chinese.

Good Luck on your search, it is a worthwhile one, I'm certainly enjoying mine.


Kung Lek

Martial Arts Links (http://members.home.net/kunglek)

Shaolin Master
10-25-2001, 08:45 AM
Points for you (no time to write a nice story here)

- Songshan first.
- Fujian (3 times in diff Locns)
- Yes have found Fujian remains (numerous Chamb.)
- Bak Mei Story is inplausible. The art has no relation to fujian shaolin arts via bakmei. it is more fujian shaolin via Hoi Fong, Lum Ga and Hakka arts to CLC.
- Northern burned destroyed and rebuilt many times
- Temples sometimes like foreign legion. You bad boy enter new name past forgotten new life with even opportunity to improve yourself as a person.


10-25-2001, 07:25 PM
KL: Buddhism has support of the PRC government now and has for several years. Once the Open policy was initiated, it was supported, but as so many practicioner of Buddhism from China frequently remind me, Buddhism doesn't need much. Temples and statues are not the crux of the practice. Buddhism can be very private, so the oppressive period had little effect on the individuals, only on the institutions.
The current fad of Buddhism is interesting to me being Buddhist myself. What strikes me the most about it is that most people are either advocating Tibetan (Dalai Lama) or Zen. These schools are as different as Catholics and Protestants, but the mass media seems to be lumping the together and throwing in Yoga and Taiji to boot. Oh well, they'll learn. I personally believe that they will continue to spread since they are intrinsically valuable and this is just another step. It's all good, as they say...

And ah, the book. I have a publisher that has been dogging me to put together an overall martial arts reference. And we've frequently talked about publishing a collection of reprints in book form here. You know, the best stories I can't share. So maybe after I retire I'll write some thinly disguised fiction. Heh, heh...

YC: As for the temperment of monks, you know, this has always been a funny point with me. To "leave the world" for a monastery takes a particualr mentality, something most people don't consider. All I can say is this - there are many active monasteries now (and I'm not just referring to martial arts here, nor just Buddhism)- go. It's the only way you'll ever really know. I lived at a few monasteries for short periods and treasure those experiences, but it's certainly not for everyone. Nor is it that lofty...

As for Bak Mei, we did a cover story on Bak Mei in our DEC 2000 issue:

And thanks for the scholar comment - I think you overrate my research.

SM: As for the southern temple - there location was under dispute for some time, but archeologists point to Putian in Fujian Province. The dig is tiny and now surrounded by modern new buildings. A new, more scenic temple has been constructed on Putian Mountain nearby. We ran an article on it in our MAR/Apr 2001 issue


We have two researchers who will probably be traveling there soon, so we should have more info later on in the year.

Gene Ching
Asst. Publisher
Kungfu Qigong Magazine & www.KUNGFUmagazine.com (http://www.KUNGFUmagazine.com)

10-27-2001, 07:48 PM
-Sorry no time to write so I got this from a very good website-

The Shaolin order dates to about 540 A.D., when an Indian Buddhist priest named Bodhidharma (Tamo in Chinese), traveled to China to see the Emperor. At that time, the Emperor had started local Buddhist monks translating Buddhist texts from Sanskrit to Chinese. The intent was to allow the general populace the ability to practice this religion.

This was a noble project, but when the Emperor believed this to be his path to Nirvana, Tamo disagreed. Tamo's view on Buddhism was that you could not achieve your goal just through good actions performed by others in your name. At this point the Emperor and Tamo parted ways and Tamo traveled to the nearby Buddhist temple to meet with the monks who were translating these Buddhist texts.

The temple had been built years before in the remains of a forest that had been cleared or burned down. At the time of the building of the temple, the emperor's gardeners had also planted new trees. Thus the temple was named "young (or new) forest", (Shaolin in Mandarin, Sil Lum in Cantonese).

When Tamo arrived at the temple, he was refused admittance, probably being thought of as an upstart or foreign meddler by the head abbot (Fang Chang). Rejected by the monks, Tamo went to a nearby cave and meditated until the monks recognized his religious prowess and admitted him. Legend has it that he bored a hole through one side of the cave with his constant gaze; in fact, the accomplishment that earned his recognition is lost to history.

When Tamo joined the monks, he observed that they were not in good physical condition. Most of their routine paralleled that of the Irish monks of the Middle Ages, who spent hours each day hunched over tables where they transcribed handwritten texts. Consequently, the Shaolin monks lacked the physical and mental stamina needed to perform even the most basic of Buddhist meditation practices. Tamo countered this weakness by teaching them moving exercises, designed to both enhance ch'i flow and build strength. These sets, modified from Indian yogas (mainly hatha, and raja) were based on the movements of the 18 main animals in Indo-Chinese iconography (e.g., tiger, deer, leopard, cobra, snake, dragon, etc.), were the beginnings of Shaolin Kung Fu.

It is hard to say just when the exercises became "martial arts". The Shaolin temple was in a secluded area where bandits would have traveled and wild animals were an occasional problem, so the martial side of the temple probably started out to fulfill self-defense needs. After a while, these movements were codified into a system of self-defense.

As time went on, this Buddhist sect became more and more distinct because of the martial arts being studied. This is not to say that Tamo "invented" martial arts. Martial arts had existed in China for centuries. But within confines of the temple, it was possible to develop and codify these martial arts into the new and different styles that would become distinctly Shaolin. One of the problems faced by many western historians is the supposed contraindication of Buddhist principles of non-violence coupled with Shaolin's legendary martial skills. In fact, the Shaolin practitioner is never an attacker, nor does he or she dispatch the most devastating defenses in any situation. Rather, the study of kung fu leads to better understanding of violence, and consequently how to avoid conflict. Failing that, a Buddhist who refuses to accept an offering of violence (i.e., and attack) merely returns it to the sender. Initially, the kung fu expert may choose to parry an attack, but if an assailant is both skilled and determined to cause harm, a more definitive and concluding solution may be required, from a joint-lock hold to a knockout, to death. The more sophisticated and violent an assault, the more devastating the return of the attack to the attacker. Buddhists are not, therefore, hurting anyone; they merely refuse delivery of intended harm.

The Shaolin philosophy is one that started from Buddhism and later adopted many Taoist principles to become a new sect. Thus even though a temple may have been Taoist or Buddhist at first, once it became Shaolin, it was a member of a new order, an amalgamation of the prevailing Chinese philosophies of the time.

Other temples sprung from Henan. This happened because the original temple would suffer repeated attacks and periods of inactivity as the reigning Imperial and regional leaders feared the martial powers of the not-always unaligned monks. Refugee Shaolin practitioners would leave the temple to teach privately (in Pai) or at other Buddhist or Taoist temples. In rare cases, a new Shaolin Temple would be erected (Fukien, Kwangtung) or converted from a pre-existing temple (Wu-Tang, O Mei Shan). Politically and militarily involved monks (such as the legendary White Eyebrow and Hung Tze Kwan) would be perpetual sources of trouble for the generally temporally aloof monks.

The Boxer rebellion in 1901 was the beginning of the end of the Shaolin temples. Prior to that, China had been occupied by Western and Japanese governments and business interests. The British had turned the Imperial family into an impotent puppet regime largely through the import and sales of opium and the general drug-devastation inflicted upon the poor population. This lead to the incursion of other European powers, including Russia, France and Holland, and later the Japanese and Americans. By the late 1800s, China was effectively divided into national zones, each controlled by one of the outside powers (similar to post World War II Berlin, on a hugely larger scale). The long standing animosities between China and Japan worsened, and extended to include all other "foreign devils" as well. Coupled with the now almost universal disdain by the Chinese for their Empress, a Nationalist movement with nation-wide grass-roots support was born. Among the front line soldiers of the new "order" were the legendary and near-legendary martial artists--many Shaolin--known as Boxers (remember how Bruce Lee, in his films depicting these times, refers to himself as a Chinese boxer...). Though their initial assaults on the military powers of the occupation governments were not entirely successful (many believed in Taoist magical spells that would make them impervious to gunfire), their temporary defeat would lead to a more modern reformation that included adopting modern military weapons and tactics.

The withdrawal of western forces was prolonged over many years, and by the end of World War I saw China in an almost feudal state of civil war. Not only were national troops fighting loyalists, but both sides had to fight the Japanese (who still held much of the northern Manchurian region of China) as well as many powerful, regional warlords. Many parts of China were virtually anarchies, but by 1931 almost all non-Asian occupants had been successfully driven out (with the interesting exception, in the late 1930s, of the volunteer American airmen known as The Flying Tigers, who helped repel Japanese forces prior to World War II), and the major combatants within China were the Nationalists and the Communists. Both sides displayed the typical jingoistic attitudes of forces in mindless warfare--if you aren't with us, you are against us. Neutrality meant nothing except the possibility of a later enemy. Consequently, Shaolin and other monks were routinely murdered by soldiers from both sides. One result of this program of murder was the exodus of many monks into the hills, or abroad, with the hope that Shaolin knowledge might survive even if the temples themselves did not.

The temples were unfortunate victims of war in a land that had abandoned its historical practice of respecting posterity and ancestors. All were ransacked and looted by various armed groups. O Mei Shan Temple ("Great White Mountain"), in Szechuan Province, was situated on a mountain top and deemed by Chinese officers to be a fitting target for artillery practice. It was shelled in turn by Nationalist and Communist armies. In a fitting twist of fate, this one-time site of medical and natural history knowledge was rebuilt by the Communists in the mid 1970s, and now stands as the National Park and Research Headquarters for the panda preserve.

Kung Lek
10-27-2001, 09:23 PM
Lei, that story is about 3% fact and 97% total fiction.
it is wholly unreliable and one of the reasons it is so difficult to find out the truths is because people insist on perpetuating ripping yarns such as the one you have just posted. :)

yeesh, Fang Chang? Try Hua To. 540? thats 20 years after the latest possible date that Bodhidharma arrived, his arrival is mostly accepted as being approximately 520 ad by only one account, the latest account of three tellings.

Also, Ta Mo was only called Ta Mo because the Chinese pronounced his name Bodidharma as Pu Ti Ta Mo. Ta Mo is a "slang name given him.

Shaolin.Com has been trying to sell the idea of multiple Shaolin Temples since they opened that site, in truth the do more to obfuscate the facts than to promote Shaolin truly.

In my opinion, and I do not even dare say that I have the absolute facts, Shaolin.Com is a terrible resource for facts about the temple.
Perhaps they have an agenda of their own to push?


Kung Lek

Martial Arts Links (http://members.home.net/kunglek)

richard sloan
10-28-2001, 01:39 AM
...Kung you must realize that Fang Chang is not a name: it's an unfortunate pinyinese for the word for abbot- fang zhang.

As to the story- I've heard the story several different ways, and the one presented by Shaolin.com is off in several regards to the one we learn.

Something that has always struck me as strange in the whole 'developemental reasons for why monks learned martial arts' stories was the whole 'wild animal' premise. I've never seen anyone train to fight an animal, and there are no techniques that exhibit any specificity towards defending against animals. If that were one of the primary reasons you would think we would have some residuals to look at. I guess I'm saying I don't buy that as a reason. It's seems more logical to recognize the desire for unity between mind, body, and spirit, and the idea Damo had of redefining what a sutra was is really one of the defining principles upon which Ch'an is built- that also seems more in line. For instance I always see Yi Jin Jing translated as muscle/tendon changing classic. The character for Jing has the meaning of 'sutra.' That search for unity is more in line with the Ch'an philosophy of eradicating duality and understanding and expressing oneself.

Also, that bit about not accepting, or refusing to accept harm, is bull. While it sounds like a logical premise, it is absurd in reality. Suggesting that would be the type of thing a master would crack you across the skull for.Ï

10-28-2001, 04:27 AM
>Kung you must realize that Fang Chang is not a name: it's an unfortunate pinyinese for the
> word for abbot- fang zhang.<

'Fang Chang' is Wade-Giles for the shortened term for Abbot. The term 'Fang Chang' actually referes to the abbot's quarters which is also called 'Fang Chang Shih'. The full title of the abbot is 'Fang Chang Ho Shang' - Monk of the Fang Chang. The term is often shortened and referes to both the abbot as well as to his room in the monastery.

>Something that has always struck me as str ange in the whole 'developemental reasons for why
> monks learned martial arts' stories was the whole 'wild animal' premise. I've never seen
> anyone train to fight an animal, and there are no techniques that exhibit any specificity
> towards defe nding ag ainst animals.<

This relates more to the martial arts use of the 'alarm' staves ' used by Buddhist monks.
First of all it must be remembered that for centuries, an important aspect of Buddhist monaticism were pilgrimages. These staves (and th ere were various types) were alarmed to ward off any dangerous wild animal and were one of the 18 possessions of wandering Buddhist monks . Those of you who are familiar of wilderness hiking in bear country know well the importance of carring an alarm. Before the 1900's these staves were a common feature of medicant monks. The need for a means of self defense by itinerant monks is obvious
and even documented as late as the 1920's. Traveling in pre 1900 China was a dangerous affair and monkhood did n ot exempt one for being accosted..

[This message was edited by r.(shaolin) on 10-28-01 at 06:37 PM.]

Kung Lek
10-28-2001, 04:46 AM
yes i am aware of the term Fang Zhang, my inference was towards the vaguness at the shaolin.com site being that they do not even name the abbot but just say "abbot".

sorry, my lack of clarity.


Kung Lek

Martial Arts Links (http://members.home.net/kunglek)

Yum Cha
10-29-2001, 09:24 AM
Thanks for the replys guys. U2 SM. I thought it rather odd that the trees in front of the 1500 year old temple looked about 20 years old. ;)

Now I understand why. :D

As for Pak Mei, if indeed there ever was one by such a name, I'm told the legend (pick one of the dozen going around) relates to the southern temple, which must be the ruins in Fujian. Sifu says they were "Revolutionaries", against the Manchu. I like the "Foreign Legion" analogy SM.

Gene, I was already to buy a back copy, the December 2000 issue with the feature on Pak Mei. At $3.99, that was cool, but shipping of $22.50 to Australia, made it just a bit too spendy :eek:

I'm sure it was interesting, is it available on-line anywhere?

10-29-2001, 07:01 PM
Sorry about the high shipping - Overseas does cost a lot for little packages.
That article is still online in our old cover story file in the magazine. Here's the link:

Gene Ching
Asst. Publisher
Kungfu Qigong Magazine & www.KUNGFUmagazine.com (http://www.KUNGFUmagazine.com)

10-30-2001, 06:32 AM
YuM Cha,

I want to make an attempt to answer part of your first original question.

“What and where were the Shaolin temple(s)?
and when?”

The information about Shaolin temples that I'm citing here is what I was able to translated from Wan Li Sheng’s book, Wu Shu Nei Wai, 1927. Wan Li Sheng was not only one of the famous Five Tigers from the North who went South but he was also very well educated and a martial arts scholar.

In his book, it discuss the Shaolin temples, but it does not cite references of where he obtained the knowledge. However this was the general belief during this period of our history about the Shaolin temples as our fore fathers learned it from their teachers either orally or written words. Typically, classical Chinese style of writing does not cite references or sources like we use in the Western World.

Here what it said:
The Honan Shaolin temple was built in 495 AD during the Wei of the Northern Dynasties. By the time Yuan Dynasty came, there were five large Shaolin monasteries; Honan, Fukien, Kwangtung An Hui, Shansi Wu Tai and Yang T’ung Fu. The last two were destroyed sometime during the next dynasty, Ming Dynasty.

By the end of the Ming Dynasty, there were five large Shaolin monasteries. They were Honan, Wu Tang, Omei, Fukien, and Kwangtung. By this time CMA had divided into three classifications; Hung Gar (not referring to the style of Hung Gar) which stresses hardness, Kung Gar which stresses softness and flexibility and Yu Gar which combines the two Hung and Kung making it hard and soft. Each Shaolin monastery stressed one specific classification and as a result developed a variety of styles that we see today. The Shaolin monasteries Kwangtung and Fukein stressed Hung while Kung was stressed in the Wu Tang monastery and in the Honan and Omei monasteries, they encouraged Yu Gar. You can observe how these different classification influenced the various styles that still exist today.
:) :cool:

10-31-2001, 12:20 AM
Hello NorthernShaolin.

I would agree with that it is safe to say that there were multiple temples that had close connections and that there were temples at one time at both Wu Tai Shan and Wu Tang Shan. Cross referencing suggusts this. Monk Su Te Hua became a novice in 1894 at the O Mei Shan temple Ta O Ssu and then spent 20 + years travelling visiting temples and shrines as well as ruins of temples that were related to O Mei.
In his famous records, the Reverend Su Te Hau of Liang Shan Hsien, Szechuan province, made 3 pilgrimages to Wu Tai Shan in Shansi to worship. The first visit there was in 1901 and he points out that travelling to Wu Tai was very unsafe. In 1903 he made a trip to worship at Wu Tang Shan. In 1904 he traveled to Shao Lin Ssu.

Sifu Bok Se Teung
10-31-2001, 07:01 PM
Yes indeed the temple at Fukien did exist. It was about as old as the one in Honan province at Songshan mountain, but over time grew to be much much bigger. Although it had been Buddist in nature, it was not until around the middle of the 7th century that it was integrated into the Shaolin system. Like so many of the other temples, it came under attack by the Manchurians and later destroyed during the Boxer Rebellion. Styles which are credited with originating in Fukien include White Crane, Mantis Fist, Dragon, Snake Fist, Southern Fist, White Monkey and Wild Horse. Some internal strength development styles were taught too, including Iron Palm and Iron Shirt and Iron Bone.

It is interesting that we now debate the very existence of this temple, for in Shaolin's heyday it was much better known throughout China than any of the other temples.

May Peace Be With You

Yum Cha
11-01-2001, 06:40 AM
Well, who could question that authority!

Tell us about yourself Sifu

Kung Lek
11-01-2001, 09:18 AM
I disagree. I have only found bonafide and irrefutible definitive evidence of one and only one Siu lam Si. that being the Honan Shaolin temple at Song Shan.

The white Horse temple in Putian has no record of a "shaolin" temple in the area and this is the source of debate concerning the southern temple.

while th monks of the northern temple were dispersed a few times through history due to political unrest and the anger and so called retribution of the government and in fact these same said monks may have taken refuge in other buddhist temples, these temples where the monks took refuge and continued their monastic life wre not "Shaolin Temple"

If you can provide one single scrap of evidence that says any of these temple were actually shaolin si, I will seriously look at what is said regarding this.

But to say these other temples (O mei . wu Dang etc) are Shaolin is to take away from what they really were.

Many have attempted to promulgate this whole idea of multiple temples that bore the name Shaolin. The CR did not wipe out everything for pete's sake. There is NO solid evidence that there was any more Shaolin Temples than the ONE temple at Song Shan.

POint me to a bonafide reference outside of Myth and "legend" and I will say no more. I have been looking for a long long time for indications that the southern temple was more than a refuge and hide out but it was just a buddhist temple that through the dharma (law) protected and sheltered it's brethren. It was not a Ch'an Buddhist temple that had the unique qualities and codifications of Song Shan Shaolin si.

Prove this wrong.


Kung Lek

Martial Arts Links (http://members.home.net/kunglek)

Shaolin Master
11-01-2001, 01:59 PM
Shi Bok Se Teung,
Do you have any sources? What is your background? seems that have a western view of Chinese martial arts and Shaolin.
of the styles you mention :

NONE originated at Fujian shaolin
White Crane => Bai Lien Si
Mantis Fist => Nth everyone knows
Dragon => Only possibility but must be specific
Snake Fist => Nope
Southern Fist => This could never be used as it is a modern collation-term of many styles
White Monkey => White Ape(Nth), though there is a southern monkey, it would not be called White monkey ever.
Wild Horse => Ye Ma, he nope not possible.

Shi Chan Long

Royal Dragon
11-01-2001, 06:15 PM
On the mantis, is it possible the reference is actually to the Southern Mantis style. I am told this actually came from Jook Lum, and NOT Shaolin. But this might be the source of confusion.

Shi Chan Long,

Hello, got any theories about connections between the Ming Royal Family and the Chao family? I am wondering if there is any cross influances between South Tai Tzu and South Mantis. I have heard the two familiy's ran south together, and became the Hakka. If they were THAT close, it stands to reason the two systems may have had influance on one another.

What do you think?

Royal Dragon

"Chi is Chinese for Spinach"

Check out the Royal Dragon Web site


11-01-2001, 10:49 PM
>If you can provide one single scrap of evidence that says any of these temple were actually shaolin si, I will seriously look at what is said regarding

Kung Lek, I think we are talking about different things. First of all, I would agree that yo u will not find a temple called "Shao Lin Si", other than the one on Sung Shan, in any of the areas described by NorthernShaolin . Temples were simple not named that way (ie having the same name), even if they clearly belonged to the same 'school'.

Te m ple affiliation were commom. Often monks would begin training in one temple and be ordained in another. The monk Su Te Hua who I mention above received the tonsure and became a novice at Ta O Si. (the temple at O Mei Shan) but received his ful l ordin a ti on at Mi T'o Yuan.
At lest during the late Ching Dynasty, Kau Min Si, Ch'i T's Si, Shao Lin Si and others, were part of the same Meditation School.

If any temple changed it's sect and affiliation, it was renamed. (It was not uncommon that templ es h ad their architecture altered as a result as well).

Shau Lin Si had different affiliations in different periods.

The question is, did monasteries at Henan, Wu Tang, Omei, Fukien, and Kwangtung have martial training during the Ming Dynasty; and in H enan, Fukien, Kwangtung An Hui, Shansi Wu Tai and Yang during the Yuan Dynasty and were they affiliated and not, were there temples there called Shao Lin Si at those locations.

[This message was edited by r.(shaolin) on 11-02-01 at 01:03 PM.]

Sifu Bok Se Teung
11-01-2001, 11:16 PM
I have erased my post as it is not important to me to refute or argue about what has been written about Fukien. There are those who will never believe it existed. There are others who will believe the communist wu shu institute in Honan stands for the Honan Temple. Everyone is free to have their own beliefs and that is as it should be.

As far as telling of myself I will say this. The TAO teaches us humility and to live our lives most humbly. A man truly himself will not enrich his own interests and make a virtue of
poverty. He goes his way without depending on others, yet is not arrogant
that he needs no other. The greatest man is nobody.

May Peace Be With

Shaolin Master
11-02-2001, 02:20 AM
RD, Heyya.

The prob. is Sth Mantis would never have been called that if practised in a temple of some sort initially. See the name (unlike Nth Mantis) was more of a concealing element than descriptive. The relationship between the insect and the art has been built recently only.
Regarding the basis of Sth Mantis, well this is the basis of many southern arts of the fujian region (including TaiZu) it is all in the basis known as San Zhan. Almost every fujian style has it different but same.
So rather than the royal family bringing it (if such a thing is relevant) it was more of the prevailent fujian art of the area that had the influence.

regading affiliations well that is much more logical than of the same name. as an example Long Tan Si (Nth) has a history of Shaolin monks practising and developing arts as well.
In fact it is quite unusual for temples to have the exact same name at the same time in some sort of Mcdonalds way ( :D )But....that the essence or in the name of shaolin and all these concepts are quite probable.

Royal Dragon
11-02-2001, 04:25 AM
Actually, the "Royal" thing was not my point, but rather the connection between the two founding familys. Of course the fact that ALL styles from that region are connected through San Zhen is probually more significant. What is the history of San Zhen? Where did it come from, and who created it? is this even know or is that lost to the mists of history................Sorry about all the questions, i'm too curious for my own good :cool:


"Chi is Chinese for Spinach"

Check out the Royal Dragon Web site


11-05-2001, 08:22 PM
"What's in a Name? The Etypmology of Chinese Boxing," Stanley E. Henning, MA., Journal of Asian Martial Arts, Vol. 10, no. 4, 2001.

"From very early times, Chinese boxing hasbeen aversatile formof weaponless fighting, various combining strikes with hands, kicks, grappling, and throws. Piecing together the scattered passages in ancient texts, one can REASONABLY conclude that the origins of Chinese boxing go back as far as China's earliest recorded dynasty, the Xia (21st to 16th centuries, B.C.E.) making it one of the oldest elements of Chinese popular cuture actively practiced today. . . .

Chinese boxing, which is now known as quan (meaning "strength" in ancient writings), was originally called bo. The earliest references to bo can be found in the various commentaries to the SPRING AND AUTUMN ANNALS and the ER YA, China's earliest dictionary, workds dating between the 4th and 2nd centuries B.C.E.. Commentaries on the ER YA describe bo as empty-handed striking or siezing (kongshou; pronounced karate in Japanese) and is possibly the earliest reference of this term used in association with boxing. The term bo was later (c. 25 C.E.) defined as "to form a broad surace with 4 fingers and strike." The term kongshou appears again in the writings of Cao Pi of the Three Kingdoms state of Wei (220-226 C.E.), wherein he describes a General Deng Zhang who was skilled at countering "cold steel" with his bare hand, a reference to Chinese boxing grapping and seizing techniques, which distinguished it as a military combat skill." p. 9.

Well worth reading. Does it help put the Shaolin/Ta Mo mythology regarding the origins of Chinese martial arts in perspective? Regarding Chinese martial arts, how significant were the Shaolin Temples in its history and development?

It seems to be more myth than fact

Gargoyle again
11-05-2001, 10:02 PM
Very good thread here folks, it is nice to see things not degenerate into an "is so!...is not!" shouting match...

A question for you Kung Lek (and Gene to a lesser extent)...

You certainly come from the "skeptic" camp which is commendable, I don't like seeing people spreading myths and fables as unquestionable fact myself either. But this catches the historian in a serious bind when essentially ALL of the evidence one has to go on rests within oral and familial history. You seem to be tossing aside a lot of potentially valuable sources and information because they aren't providing the hard/firm/concrete evidence to support them (I'm assuming things like scrolls, carvings, and such). This same conundrum crops up in all archeology/sociology, for example trying to decipher just exactly how far Viking culture spread through the world when there is nothing more to go on than pottery chips and vague oral legends.

The questions (I'd get to them eventually ;) )....

Assuming that the concrete eveidence you desire to conclusively prove the existence of a Shaolin temple other than Henan just doesn't exist and has been lost to the sands of time, what credence or validity can you give oral histories? If you gave oral and traditional claims (some of which have been posted here) a "fair shake", do you feel that they suggest the probability of an extended Shaolin temple system?

Thanks guys :

"You should never, never doubt what no one is sure about."
--Willie Wonka

Kung Lek
11-05-2001, 11:37 PM
Shaolin martial arts and meditative practices were taken into the secular world long before the Henan Temple was closed in '27.

the martial arts and meditative practices were spread afar, but new Shaolin temples were not built.

Buddhist temples dot the landscape like so many trees in asia.

They are not all Ch'an temples.

The hallmark of the Henan temple was that it was the foundry where Ch'an was forged from the Dhayana exercises through 6 patriarchs and all who followed.

None of these other temples were Ch'an buddhist and Zen buddhist temples are not Shaolin by virtue of being Zen buddhist. Nor are temples that have a martial practice associated with them Shaolin either.

Shaolin was shared across the world and still is. Does this mean that all temples that were exposed to Shaolin practices are now Shaolin temples?

No, each temple has it's own deep and most worthy traditions. As does Shaolin. Shaolin gave much to the world but it does not mean that every temple that adopts a portion of the curriculum is automatically Shaolin.

Martial Practice was in existance long before the Shaolin Temple in Henan was founded. This is known.

Shaolin codified and systematized many styles of martial practice and was the birthplace of a myriad of kung practices that were only at the Northern temple and nowhere else.

Without full and complete mirroring , it is mixing to the point of hodge podge and deliniation of the truth.

Shaolin is Shaolin period.
All others are what they are. There are scrolls, there are statuary (which often contain writings upon them and within them.

Nothing indicates from a historical written sense or in the scrolls of many other temples that there was any other Shaolin temples besides that one Shaolin Si in Henan on Mount Song.

Find out how many Ch'an buddhist temples there are or were in China and that will give you the answer to what temples are Taoist and which are Shaolin and which are belonging to teh two other main types of Buddhism that were propogated in China.


Kung Lek

Martial Arts Links (http://members.home.net/kunglek)

11-06-2001, 12:46 AM
You bring up the biggest problem with martial arts history. Not only is it all based on folktale, no one is really going to invest that serious an effort in martial archeology at this time because it's a lot of hard work. Just look at what a horrid state Chinese hopology is in, and you know that the quest for other Shaolin temples is pretty low priority.
That being said, here's my Shaolin koan about this:
How many Shaolin Temples are there in the USA right now?
Answer this, and it doesn't take much to generalize our current situation to what may have occured in the past.

Gene Ching
Asst. Publisher
Kungfu Qigong Magazine & www.KUNGFUmagazine.com (http://www.KUNGFUmagazine.com)

11-06-2001, 01:36 AM
Does it really matter? If the Shaolin arts were taught in a temple in Fukien province, but the temple was called something else, then what is the difference. The main point is that the art was taught there.

Then again, I guess there is no hard evidence to support the idea that the arts were taught there :).

You're fu(king up my chi

11-06-2001, 07:24 PM
That's exactly my point. Shaolin definately had influence on the Fujian temple. Even more so now, or perhaps I should say, very soon.

So here's a big rumor for those of you who have been following this thread so far (I was saving it for the next Kungfu Qigong issue, but since we're talking about the south.) As mentioned earlier on this thread, we already ran a story on the new southern temple. Now they are planning to move some of the top monks from Songshan Shaolin to Fujian Shaolin. The two main monks who have been discussed are Shi Suxi and Shi Deyang.

Gene Ching
Asst. Publisher
Kungfu Qigong Magazine & www.KUNGFUmagazine.com (http://www.KUNGFUmagazine.com)

Kung Lek
11-06-2001, 09:25 PM
So, it can now irrefutebly be said that there is a Shaolin Temple in the South at Fujian. :D


Kung Lek

Martial Arts Links (http://members.home.net/kunglek)

joy chaudhuri
11-06-2001, 11:58 PM
I have been some of the posts of Gene Ching and Kung Lek with great interest and pleasure.. I dont have notes or materials with me at the moment and I am no authority on Shaolin per se. But i have considerable interest in Buddhism and the Sino-Indian connections in that world. Often FWIW it seems to me that some aspects of "tacit knowledge"
is missing in some "histories". You have scholars who dont know TCMA with some important exceptions.
And often even great martial artists over-reach when they try to expound on philosophy and history agin with exceptions.Some hopefully brief points to consider.
1. The current PRC interest in Shaolin is primarily commercial IMO and various cycles of revisionist history is part of the PRC world. In spite of many economic changes I dont see a genuine interest in Buddhism in post Deng PRC.
2. Buddhism has always developed community halls and temples all over the place because unlike Taoism it has alawys been interested in the common man.
3.The shaolin"young forest" symbolism is quite old and can be found in Buddhist history at Bodh Goya and environs in India..not just in China..
4. Archeological finds depend on part on where the digs are, when, by whom. There all kinds of Buddhist temple, community structures that have not been completely looked for catalogued or were burned etc. Canton appears to have been an important center. By many accounts the Bodhidharma stopped there before journeying north.
The Mahabalpuram to Cam Ranh bay to Canton route was known and used in the Pallava dynasty.The key sermons of the Bodhidharma that have survived in oral history decidedly had an Indian flavor--he couldnt have been merelya myth.In any case later in the debates within Chan...the southern patriarch moved to Canton. Buddhist monks have always been travel oriented and their centers were community halls where local/provincial activity including physical cukture flourished. Even in Nalanda the early Buddhist
university in India, arhcery etc was part of the curriculum.
5. The provicial roots of monk communities as well as their travels are both part of the Buddhist culture. The Chinese Nationalists lobbed
shells into Shaolin because they thought the abbot was tied in with the provincial lords.Part of the political vectors involved.
6. The philosophical roots of Chan Buddhism are well known in the post Buddha debates in Indian Buddhist circles.
7. Being a non Judeo Christian (either/or approach to postulations) Buddhism can exist side by side with Taoism as it has in the zig zags of Chinese history- and its notable practical and assimilative strain.
8. Different forms of nationalism goofs much of Buddhist history. In the last century or so In China the nationalistic strain informs the neijia/wajia
distinction in part trying to categorize what came from outside and what came within-often arbitrarily so. Chen taiji-a synthesis- was built on existing arts which were also shaped by nearby shaolin styles.
Sorry, I dont know how to apply spell check on this list's posts. Cheers.

Yum Cha
11-07-2001, 01:36 AM
Thank you gentlemen for the quality discussion. I have very little to contribute, however much to learn.

My interest in Shaolin temples is two fold, as a practitioner in general, and as a Pak Mei student in detail.

The alleged conflict between a Taoist Pak Mei and Buddhist Shaolin has led to many remarkable legends, fairytails and rumors. Everyone tells a different story. Firstly, I should say, I personally am not sold on the idea that a "Pak Mei" ever existed. More that he was an Iconographic figure...

Many will refute the picture in the HB Un book as being Pak Mei.

When Buddism came to China, one can only assume there was conflict with the established religions of Taoism and Confucism. Was it ideological, physical or political, who knows?

I have learned that the Taoists and Buddists have since found common ground, and many cross between temples and philosophys. This is obvious to any student of either.

The legend of Pak Mei takes place with the coming of the Manchu and the fall of the Ming dynasty, in the mid 1700's I believe.

This temple in the south, Fujian Shaolin or Gau Lin Temple, is this the one currently in ruins that has been unearthed, or a currently standing one?

There is also talk of one in Canton...

The legend I know is, one south destroyed, moved north, then moved south again...

Thanks again guys for the time and effort.

Sifu Bok Se Teung
11-07-2001, 04:00 PM
The temples in China were not just Buddhism or Ch'uan, but a blend of Buddhism, Taoism, Confusciousism and Mensiuosism and some others. Although in some temples one belief would be emphasized more than the others, the blend of various faiths was the very essence of Shaolin. It is unfortunate that in the rebuilding of the temples by the China government, Shaolin has become a sanitized concept as it is being presented. The training they offer in the martial arts and internal arts is fairly good, but the rich philosphy and religion and the blending of so many beliefs, which was unique to China, has been lost forever.

May Peace Be With

Kung Lek
11-07-2001, 08:26 PM
Shi Bok-

Shaolin Temple was a Ch'an Buddhist temple.
The order consisted of Martial and Religious Monks.
In the earlier days, there was no seperation.

The seperation of religious and martial monks occured in the late 1300's with the installation of the Ming dynasty. The distinction was made deeper with the incoming Ching dynasty in 1644.

By the time anyone who is still alive from the time of the boxer rebellion (ending 1900-01)there was a definitive seperation of Martial and Religious Monks. Although each received a formal education in Buddhism, the Martial Monks had more secular privilidges while still be allowed within the monastery.

These Ch'an buddhist Shaolin monks also learned astronomy, reading, writing, agriculture and of course the priesthood as it is associated with buddhism.

The Mohists, the Taoists and the other schools of Buddhism as well as smaller indigenous philosophies and religio-philosophies, while sharing some aspects through the cultural familiarities still had their own traditions and practices in their own right.

Still, there is only One Shaolin Si. As much as people like to connect themselves to it by stating things like there were multiple Shaolin temples.

Ch'an in China was a remarkably secular offering of Buddhism that the common man could relate to quickly in a superficial sense because of the simplicity of it.

The doctrine and dogma associated with other buddhist schools in a religious sense was too much for just anyone to have to go through and thus the legendary facsination with the Shaolin Order.

They have left us this, Ch'an later becoming Zen, but still there are pockets of Ch'an practitioners worldwide who do not subscribe to the doctrines of the two schools of Zen but remain on the simple path, and a plethora of Martial arts influencing a myriad of styles and some still virtually entirely Shaolin in content.

As for writings, there are few, being that they were Ch'an and transmission is direct from master to student and not through scripture reading or chanting passages from sutras.

Many of the texts that were penned at Shaolin had much more to do with processes of secular practices or day to day accountings. Things like grain tally's or martial practice diagrams, or medicinal diagrams. The religious part centered around the attainment of nirvana via seated meditation for hours on end in utter silence. To gain strength to do so, martial practice, Chi Kung et al was done when not eating or sleeping or working at the day to day maintenance of the temple and it's grounds.


Kung Lek

Martial Arts Links (http://members.home.net/kunglek)

11-07-2001, 09:23 PM
YF: Nice post. Here are some thoughts I'd like to add to your points.
1,2. Government interest in religion, especially in PRC is always a factor, but Buddhism, especially Chan, doesn't require government support. It doesn't even require temples. As long as the three treasures exist, Buddhism thrives - and two of those treasures are fairly constant (but I guess I can't be a good Buddhist and say permanent now, can I?)
3. I was on retreat at the Tibetan monastery in Bodh Gaya. I didn't find any evidence of young forest symbology. Can you clarify this?
4. You might take a look at our old thread "what if Bodhidharma's kungfu was fake". It's a back a few pages in the archives and many of us engaged some of the Bodhidharma mythology.
The connection to Indian martial arts and Yoga has always been interesting, but had to really validify. I was doing some research in India in '97 on this - studying Yoga and arts like Kalliripayattu to try and make a connection, but it was pretty sketchy.
The archery issue is one that always confused me. Archery figures so prominently in Indian myth - ie. Mahabharata, or even young Siddharta, and Chinese archery is well reserched, so why didn't it make it into Kungfu? In Japan, Kyudo is a huge Zen practice, but in China archery is not traditionally part of Chan. It's really quite a riddle when you think about it.
5. Do you have a citation for Nationals lobbing shells into Shaolin?
6,7,8. There are two major considerations when looking at Chan. Both relate to the precedence of Taoism. Many Taoists believed that Buddhism was actually Laozi's teachings returning from the west, since that's the direction he was heading when he left and wrote Daodejing. There was a rejection of "foreign" philosphies, so early Chan was considered to have it's roots in Taoism. Also many of the Buddhist terms had no meaning, so they were either phoneticized from the sanskrit (ie. TaMo) or mapped on to previous Taoist terms. anything that passes through China picks up a Chinese smell - just look at what Qingdao did to German brewing...

SBST: Ancient temples are always rebuilt. Old things need repair, not just from the ravages of the elements, but also, often moreso, the ravages of man. This is not ground for skepticism on authenticity.
Shaolin is certainly tourist, but the religious practice is still quite vital there - you just need to know where to look. Get thee to a nunnery - Shaolin's nunnery and Yongtai still uphold the teachings very well. And there are other surrounding temples where it's going on.
Shaolin is a flagship, a figurehead for Chan and kungfu. Just as a president should be judged on his cabinet, Shaolin should be judged on its surrounding temples and affiliates. But then again, Chan and judgement, make no distinction, eh?

Gene Ching
Asst. Publisher
Kungfu Qigong Magazine & www.KUNGFUmagazine.com (http://www.KUNGFUmagazine.com)

joy chaudhuri
11-07-2001, 11:42 PM
Different personal chemistries. My curiosities are in attempts to solve intellectual puzzles.
Others take notes and citations but cant tell a puzzle or an idea if they see one.So I dont take notes and citations till I get involved in pleasing the scholarly priests and gate keepers.. But over time when neededI can dig up things again. very sloppy info retrieval system. The forest symbolism for meditaion is very old in India and predates Sakyamuni. But there was a famous forest in his time(sal trees possibly?)
near a place where he preached
and he referred in one of his sermons on retaining the freshness of vision like the young forest in spite of the changes of the seasons.The pre Buddhist ideal (Drona in the Mahabharata) of
a wise man is a combination of internal power and mastery of yoga and self defense- hand(mudras) and
weapons(astra). Buddhism did careful surgery with Hindu symbolism.Kept some. threw awy some, sublimated others- kali becomes Tara.BTW Kali's khera provides the link to the Gurkha kukhri. Therefore except for the yoga,breath,archery(focus)
the mudras and bandhs-18 hands of lohan you are left with the monks staff and possibly the trident.The monks staff and the archery is alive in Ladakh. The lion dance,the associated 108 stops.other lion symbolism are also Buddhist in origin. I am sure you know about the Tibetan snow lion dance.Buddhists from my area (Bengal)playeda big role in early Tibetan Buddhism and the transmission of Hinayana to Sri Lanka. In a way the Sri Lankan conflict involves old old old migrants from bengal versus newer Tamil migrants.
The Brits. devastated Indian martial arts. But the trained eye can see the remnants- not just in kalaripayattu.The dim mak ideas were well known- there is a whole old literature-the marma shastras-
the science of the strike points. War elephants were controlled through poking specific points.
There are two additional problems in understanding all this- the westernised Indian bourgeoisie dont know their own history and Indians were not as good as Chinese in record keeping. The blending of meditation. breath control. knowledge of the spinal alignments, chakras( dan tiens). MARTIAL gathering of prana/chi has its now truncated roots in India.
Many Taoists would put their own overlay on Buddhist things... thus the parallel in chi circulation...clockwise or anti clockwise in the stomach area- take your pick. But the young forest,
the lotus and the perennial plum flower may yet survive... lots of folks will peace for people of their own faith. The dharma wills it for all. the Sangha may be in trouble but hey... last week
almost 50,000 low caste Hindus took tonsure in delhi and became Buddhists. Finis rather than rattle on. Best-Joy
PS You may or may not have seen my old piece in IKF
about December 1990; 108 steps- the Sino-indian Connection in the martial arts.It touches a bit on the Bodhi dharma.
www.azwingchun.com (http://www.azwingchun.com)

11-08-2001, 05:55 AM
Kung Lek
There is much I agree with you on and yes as I posted earlier, there was only one monastery call called Shao Lin Si . But : - ) to say that there were no other monasteries which had close associations to Shao Lin Si it is simply not true. The fa cts and historical records point to the opposite. The formation of early Ch'an Buddhism, its spread to other parts of China, and the building of other Ch'an monasteries clearly demonstrates this.

Subterfuge aside, it must be remembered that at var iou s times the Imperial government was very much involve in the support (financial and otherwise) of Buddhist growth and expansion. This Imperial support was much more important than popular literature would have one believe. Even ordination was very mu ch under the control of the Imperial government. If you can find one, check out a pre-1900 Budddhist ordination certificate or even a lay-sister's Ordination certificate. You well find they all have an Imperial sanction on them. Ordaining Abbots receive d a uthority to
grant Ordination Certificates from the Imperial government. Abbots of large important monasteries were appointed by Imperial command. It was Emperor Shi Zu who appointed the Venerable Fu Yu, a very charismatic Ch'an monk, as Abbot of Sha o L in Si in the late 1200's. Before his conversion to Tibetan Buddhism Shi Zu was very interested in Ch'an. Even after his conversion he remained friendly with Fu Yu. It was the Emperor himself that decreed Fu Yu to established affiliate monasteries in Yan J i, Chan'an, Tai Yuan and Luo Yang. It is apparent that it was at the prompting of the Abbot that this be done.
Fu Yu's restoration of Shao Lin Si and the expansion of Ch'an monasteries was no mean feat and resulted in his being granted an Imperial title and then being appointed as the Minister of Education in 1312 by the Emperor.

[This message was edited by r.(shaolin) on 11-08-01 at 08:18 PM.]

11-08-2001, 07:06 AM
Kung Lek wrote:

>The seperation of religious and martial monks occured in the late 1300's with the installation of the Ming dynasty. The distinction was made deeper with the incoming Ching dynasty in 1644.<

The first tangible record of a distinct 'warrior monk' rank at Shao Lin Si goes back much further back than that.

Emperor Tia Zong granted Shao Lin Si the legal right to maintain a defensive army of monks at Shao Lin Si. The record of this decree is on a stone stele written in the Imperial script and dates to approximately 620 A.D..

This decree had far reaching implication on subsequent dynasties and Emperors.E

11-09-2001, 12:20 AM
YF: Sure solving intellectual puzzles is fun, but solving them with hearsay is unsatisfactory. Yet, I certainly empathize with a sloppy retrieval system - my library has been a shambles since I moved and that was 2 years ago. I was curious to clarify your statements since you raised some interesting points.
The forest symbolism - do you mean the three trees of buddhism? Banyan, for Buddha's birth, bodhi for his enlightement, and something else for his death - alas, there is my sloppy retrieval system of memory. You know, here's some trivia, there is a cutting of that death tree at Yongtai nunnery next to Shaolin. Allegedly that was the first Buddhist nunnery condoned by the emperor and the only cutting of that tree in China (but then they also claim a relic of Buddha, which I don't beleive yet.) I'm still not sure how this fits into "young forest". I'll have to look up that dhamra talk, was it the first one at Deer Park?

Many of the things you mention seem more parallel to me than linear. Surely, qi and prana are similar, but I feel it is an oversimplification to say they are connected. You can't map meridians on chakras and nadis successfully. things like Kali>Chenrizig>Tara or Avalokiteshavara>Kuanyin>Kannon are linear and easy to validify. But the 108, now there's a big chicken & egg problem. My daughter's name is Tara by the way, so this strikes close to my heart :)

Now I'm not sure about the Indian bourgeoisie, but the scant Indian research always seemed much more fruitful than the Chinese. It is an extremely scholarly culture. The very concept that the Mahabharata was an oral tradition for centuries, and yet little deviation was seen across even to modern day, is astounding. In contrast, China was where we developed the slang "chinese whispers." I find this so evident in CMA.

I enjoy your writing Joy (loved your last submission to us in NOV/DEC 2001, BTW) but I probably don't have that old IKF. Could you send me a copy via email. I would prefer to read your unedited version

r (s) et.al. As for gov't subterfuge, sometimes I think this is a separation of church and state issue we have in the US. It can be very positive. Since we are discussing India & Buddhism, think of Ashoka.

Gene Ching
Asst. Publisher
Kungfu Qigong Magazine & www.KUNGFUmagazine.com (http://www.KUNGFUmagazine.com)

joy chaudhuri
11-09-2001, 02:19 AM
A partial reply:
I have one of those machines for emailing documents but without number 2 son I am lost on how to use it. I will probably send you a xerox copy of the IKF article on 108.The issue of the chicken or the egg should disappear once you read it.There is not only the number theory, the myths
and rituals related to the Indian side but ancient astronomy as well.
There was once near Loyang a whole colony of Indian astronomers(Needham: Science and Civilization in China)) in order to share with the Chinese their calculations of eclipses-specailly what in babylon came to be known as the saros cycle. The prana/chi analogy right now is linear but the yoga breath/mind control in the Buddhist transmission is more direct.
The Young Forest symbolism really has to do with a
neaby forest referred to in one of Siddhartha's sermons. My memory fails me right now. It is not just the general banyan tree analogy.
Asokha really applied religious freedom and tolerance in his time to all the many diverse religions and sects around in his time...and tolerance for cultural and linguistic diversity
as well.You know that Asokha's world extended into Afghanistan as well.
Tara is a beautiful name, Best wishes for your daughter. You know I am sure that Boddhidharma's teacher's name was Prajna-Tara. Best, Joy

11-09-2001, 04:40 AM
Gene Ching wrote:
>As for gov't subterfuge, sometimes I think this is a separation of church and state issue we have in the US.<

Hi Gene. Actually by "subterfuge aside" I was referring to the Southern Buddhist /Hung Moon resistance to the Qing.
I think that is what Kung Lek is taking about. In the south, a number of monasteries (and this was mostly in the south) and Buddhist monks were supporters of the Hung Moon. This was a revolutionary political grassroots organization which opposed to the Manchu /Qing Imperial government.
During this period the Hung Moon split into three sections so to speak. The Hung Bong - responsible for overall control and responsible for recruitment.
The Qing Bong - often ex-military men in disguise as Buddhist monks. Their prime function ws to teach martial arts in the temples.
and the third, Buck Lin - these were the spies of the organization. Also under the appearance of monks, they served as conveyors of information
and raised funds.a

11-09-2001, 05:58 AM
Gene Ching wrote:
>Since we are discussing India & Buddhism, think of Ashoka.<

Ashoka conquering Kalinga after a very bloody war in which a 100,000 were killed, 150,000 injured and thousands more were captured and enslaved. .
. . . . Redemption does not come easily : - (

I'm leaving for the mountains to meditate.to

[This message was edited by r.(shaolin) on 11-09-01 at 08:12 PM.]

South Paw
11-09-2001, 11:40 AM
E.B. Vermeer, Development and decline of Fukien Province in the 17th and 18th Centuries, Sinica Leidensia, Vol. XXII, Leiden/New York 1990

This book is good reading for those who are interested in the situation of the temples in Fukien during this time. There is also some about the resistance movement against the Qing.

South Paw

Yum Cha
11-11-2001, 03:11 AM
R (shaolin)
Thanks for the clue on the Hung Moon. That meets most closely with the story of my Sifu, concerning the genesis of the Pak Mei legend. The quality of the discussion is well beyond this, but thanks for the tidbit. A thread to unravel...

South Paw, thanks for the citation. Looks interesting.

11-12-2001, 02:14 AM
yf: I'll look forward to that FAX - no hurry - just make sure it's to my attention or it might not get to my desk.
That Indian Loyang astronomy connect is great. I'll have to explore that a little further. Where they involved with Gaocheng observatory in Dengfeng?
There's a huge Indian community here in Fremont, near the office. I keep seeing posters for a pop movie on Ashoka. Do you know if it's any good (I'm interested in entertainment value as much as schoalrly content.)
And yes I knew the Prajnatara connect, although we hadn't thought about it in choosing her name - we picked Tara because it was the Irish Hill of Kings as much as for the Buddhist deity.

r(s): Sorry, I completely misread you about subterfuge. Given that point, my post was irrelevant.
As for Ashoka, few political leaders escape history with no blood on their hands. My comment was more specific to Buddhist culture than redemption.

Gene Ching
Asst. Publisher
Kungfu Qigong Magazine & www.KUNGFUmagazine.com (http://www.KUNGFUmagazine.com)

09-13-2005, 12:50 AM
Shaolin Temple is probably the most famous temple in China, not only because of its long history and its role in Chinese Buddhism, but also because of its martial arts or Wushu Chan. Shaolin Temple is situated in the beautiful Songshan Mountains, which is only eight miles of Dengfeng and about 50 miles southwest of Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan Province.
Shaolin Temple was established in 495 during the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534). Batuo, an Indian monk, came to Luoyang, the ancient capital, for spreading Buddhism at that period. Emperor Xiaowen was a believer of Buddhism so he decided to build the temple in the Songshan Mountains to house Batuo, who translated many Buddhist works and had a few hundred followers there.

Damo (Bodhidharma), the legendary Indian monk, came to Shaolin in 517, who was the creator of Chinese Zen. There are many legendary stories about him. One of the well-known stories says he was meditating in a cave for nine years. The cave is now called Damo Cave. Many people believe he wrote the famous 'Yijinjing,' the base of Shaolin martial arts or Kung fu. But there is no record about the book before and during the Tang Dynasty (618-907) so experts think Damo has little to do with Shaolin Kung fu. Zongheng, a Taoist priest of Tiantai Mountain, wrote 'Yijinjing' in 1624, but to add mystery to it, he made up a story saying 'Yijinjing' was originally written by Damo.

Shaolin does have a long tradition of Chinese martial arts, as the saying goes 'All martial arts (Kung fu) are from Shaolin.' This is partly because Shaolin was located in a strategic area so they had to protect the temple themselves from wars or any invading, and partly because of the support of most emperors from different dynasties, which came after the 13 Shaolin monks once saved Li Shimin, the emperor of the Tang Dynasty (618-907). Since then Shaolin was allowed to have solider-monks. During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), Shaolin housed over 1,000 solder-monks at its peak and they were often used by the government to combat rebellions and Japanese bandits. But martial arts were forbidden during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Even with the protection of solder-monks, Shaolin was severely damaged by fire a few times. The largest fire set by the army of Shi Yousan in 1928 destroyed most of the buildings of Shaolin Temple.

There are many noted relics at Shaolin. There are over 300 ancient stone inscriptions, some of them by famous calligraphers. The large mural of 500 arhats in the Qianfo Hall was from the Ming Dynasty. There are 232 pagodas from different dynasties, known as the forest of pagodas. The oldest one was from the Tang Dynasty. The pagodas are the tombs of the celebrated Shaolin monks. The Shaolin martial arts are an important part of the relics.

04-19-2012, 06:12 AM
A surprising find at my parents house. I forgot I had done a Shaolin Temple Signboard while I was a student of Shi guo Lin back in 1998. A bit dusty and banged up being in the garage for almost 14 years:D

07-09-2020, 10:10 AM
Kung fu shrine Shaolin Temple reopens to public (https://www.shine.cn/news/nation/2006220695/)
20:15 UTC+8, 2020-06-22

China's kung fu shrine Shaolin Temple reopened to the public on Monday, ending a months-long closure amid the COVID-19 epidemic.

The 1,500-year-old temple, in central China's Henan Province, opened its gates at 9 a.m., ushering in its first tourists in five months.

The temple declared it had enhanced epidemic control measures, including thorough disinfection of the temple and nucleic acid testing among its monks.

The Shaolin Temple, like many other scenic spots and cultural sites in China, closed in late January as the country moved to curb the COVID-19 outbreak.

Source: Xinhua Editor: Zhang Long

Shaolin-Temple (http://www.kungfumagazine.com/forum/showthread.php?38366-Shaolin-Temple)
covid (http://www.kungfumagazine.com/forum/showthread.php?71666-Coronavirus-(COVID-19)-Wuhan-Pneumonia)

07-23-2020, 10:22 AM
Shaolin monks disinfect stage and audience area to prepare for performance (https://www.msn.com/en-gb/video/viral/shaolin-monks-disinfect-stage-and-audience-area-to-prepare-for-performance/vi-BB15BFkS)
Duration: 01:10 17/06/2020
Shaolin monks disinfected the stage and the audience area to prepare for the Shaolin Zen Music Ritual outdoor performance in central China's Dengfeng city on June 13. In the video, monks carry pressure sprayers to disinfect the audience area, the stage and the building's roof. According to reports, the Shaolin Zen Music Ritual reopened recently after months' coronavirus lockdown. Only one-third of the seats are available to visitors and social distance are requested.

Shaolin-Temple (http://www.kungfumagazine.com/forum/showthread.php?38366-Shaolin-Temple)
covid (http://www.kungfumagazine.com/forum/showthread.php?71666-Coronavirus-(COVID-19)-Wuhan-Pneumonia)

01-13-2021, 11:05 AM
Culture China 19:43, 13-Jan-2021
Kung fu shrine Shaolin Temple and other temples close again amid COVID-19 (https://news.cgtn.com/news/2021-01-13/Kung-fu-shrine-Shaolin-Temple-closes-again-amid-COVID-19-X1jSiE0E4E/index.html)

China's kung fu shrine Shaolin Temple at Songshan Mountain in central China's Henan Province has again closed its door since Wednesday amid COVID-19 concerns as its neighboring province Hebei is facing a new wave of infections and has reported more than 300 new cases since January 2.

The management committee of the Songshan Scenic Area, where the temple is located, announced on Tuesday that public visits to Shaolin Temple and other religious places in the area would be suspended from January 13 until further notice due to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the announcement, other scenic spots in the area, including Songyang Academy, Luya Waterfall and Songyue Pagoda, are still open with stern epidemic control measures in place.

Visitors are required to wear masks, scan the "health code" and get their body temperature checked before entering the scenic area.

White Horse Temple in Luoyang, Henan Province, China. /CFP

Other famous ancient temples in Henan, such as the White Horse Temple in Luoyang City and Daxiangguo Temple in Kaifeng, also followed suits to close their doors suspending public religious activities from Wednesday to prevent mass gatherings and cross infections.

The move came as multiple cities in China have reported new COVID-19 cases related to public gatherings over the past weeks.

The world-famous Shaolin Temple, like many other scenic spots and cultural sites in China, closed in late January 2020 to curb the spread of COVID-19. The 1,500-year-old temple then reopened to the public last June after the five-month closure.

(Cover: Shaolin Temple is located at Songshan Mountain in central China's Henan Province. /CFP)

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10-12-2021, 08:23 AM

I have not watched all of this. If anyone does, let us know the timecodes for the interesting bits.