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Thread: Bodhidharma

  1. #16
    northstar Guest
    Yes, please! Many people here claim evidence, but exactly where is this evidence? Kwoon homepage or 1980s kung fu books don't count as historical sources of high value...

  2. #17
    reemul Guest

    Nothing has ever been proven only accepted

    The reason we continue debating this is because there are no facts or evidence. Shaolin tradition since the begining has been passed on orally. Books on the subject are merely someone else's theory or regurgitation of Legends. The common practice these days are to follow what some professor of a university says, as long as it supports your biased view. The peoples who accounts are cast aside tend to be the ones who have a long family history directly tied to the monastary. Everyone else are just outsiders taking guesses and fabricating whatever supports their possitions. My source is someone who's father and grandfather were there up until 1948, but this doesn't prove anything just another opinion lumped in with the rest. Hopefully you guys can gain some perspective from this and realize that the subject is not so cut and dry and what it comes down to is who sounds plausible.

  3. #18
    r.(shaolin) Guest
    When Shaolin Monastery was built during the Northern Wei it was a very important period of growth for Buddhism. That's when the cave temples at Dung huang, Yugang and Longmen were begun. The Longmen grottoes were a monumental project, and it alon g with Shaolin Monastery which was started one year later in the same region, are regard as the two major accomplishments of Emperor Xiawen.

    It is possible that the Mohist had controlled Shaolin Monastery during the early Northern Zhou(Sui) Dynasty wh en the Emperor Wudi ordered the both Buddhism and Taoism banned and monks of both were ordered to return to their native villages . But this all happen about 30 odd years after Tamo's time. When Shaolin Monastery reopen it was at first renamed Sh ihu Ssu and then the name revered to the original - Shaolin Ssu. When it reopened it a no time was a Taoist, well at least nothing I've read has suggested it

    However is was not uncommon for Abbots being made heads of monasteries which previously belong ed to other sects. Yes there were struggles with both Confucianists and Taoist such as the one that took place in the first part of the 15th century when Taoists took over 482 Buddhist monasteries but which were later returned to the Buddhists. It should be noted that when a monastery was taken over its name would change. If Shaolin become a Taoist monastery there would be records of a Taoist name for it.ˇ


    [This message was edited by R. on 07-23-01 at 02:22 PM.]

  4. #19
    r.(shaolin) Guest

    Putting to gether a whole biloography is a tall order : - )
    . . .but . . . here is a list of writers I've found to be very useful.
    .. . . you do the research and the work : - )

    Wang Tsu-yuan (1881)
    Prof. Chen Chan-Yuen
    Prof. Sang H. Kim
    Father Jean-Joseph-Marie Amiot, Peking (1718-1793)
    Prof. W.C. Hu
    Prof. A.W. Barber
    Prof. F.W. Mote
    Prof. Pierre Huard
    Prof. Kang Gewu
    Prof. R.D. Sawyer
    J. Prip Moller
    there a others

    All these folks have written good stuff
    and can be found and a good university library


  5. #20
    GeneChing Guest


    According to legend, Shaolin was erected for another Buddhist monk Batuo in 495 CE. I've never heard that it was a Taoist monastery beofre, although there is another monastery on Songshan that is Taoist. Both of Batuo's disciples were supposed to be skilled in kungfu.

    Now I'm going back to the original thread. It's just too complicated for me to keep track of so many threads, sorry....

    Gene Ching
    Asst. Publisher
    Kungfu Qigong Magazine &

  6. #21
    ffab@cyberkwoon. Guest

    Sorry to intrude ...

    R. Interesting stuff, however listing authors like you did is not a very helpful. Maybe a hint to where you found "reports" of those "facts" in the works of the listed authors would help.
    For instance I am quite familiar with the work of Amiot [I am French and studied in the French Institute for Oriental Cultures], I don't think he ever mentioned Shaolin. He talked about some callisthenic [sp??] exercises called "Kong Fou" but that's about all ...
    I think you are refering to his work on the political "religious" history rather than fact directly related to the topic ;-)

    I am sure that if you could "document" your statements that would be a "breakthru" for the historical understanding of Shaolin.

    BTW TWS and Reemul stated some very "strong" "facts", I would love to know where they dug that from ;-) [and if you list YJM as a source, do you know what was HIS source, as it is mainly compilation/translation from Chinese books]

    As Gene stated, the "legend" [Chinese history is something very blurry as each dynasty conveyed an "autodafe" and rewrote the books in order to give it the "best light"] says that Batuo's 2 disciples were "skilled" in martial arts. Actually it says that they were able of "feats" that nowadays would not be deemed martial but proved a serious training. It doesn't say that they taught or pursue such a training once established in Shaolin.

    My personal idea is that Shaolin "martial arts" are much more recent, probably from the 13-14th century, with a "burst" in the 15-16th century, when MA became more "available / appealing" to civilians.
    We could discuss that for a long time ;-)
    Now I go back to my lair ;-)

    -------------------------- Forums
    Martial Arts Databases

  7. #22
    shaolin_knight Guest
    Yeah I believe that martial arts were introduced to Shaolin much later, maybe a thousand years ago. Also I agree that it has outside influences in it's buddhist teachings.

  8. #23
    reemul Guest

    The MA were there long before

    There seems to be confusion in diferentiation of whether MA was introduced or always there.

    Just another opinion: It is the possition of the Guardians of the Temple Benevolent Society that the MA were indeed there before Shaolin, however it was through the monastary that it became institutionalized, became a process or system of learning.

  9. #24
    Scott R. Brown Guest

    Thank you for the list.



  10. #25
    r.(shaolin) Guest
    If one begins to look a Chinese martial arts from a narrow point of view one misses the point. The picture is, as I think you know, is a complex one. The 'show me some CNN; footage' or the 'smoking gun' approach is naive. Very little of anc ien t hist ory can be approached that way.

    Father Amiot gives a very accurate depiction of Chi kung as practiced during the mid 1700's. It give us an opportunity to see 18th century nei gong. His drawing are about as close to CNN footage of ancient Chinese Chi go n g as your going get friend.
    Shaolin martial arts contain both Nei gong and Wai gong. These religious and parareligious exercises were part of Buddhism not only in China but India and Tibet. Separating nei-gong from the martial in Shaolin martial ar ts misrepresents it. These records which are wonderfully illustrated, offer an opportunity to cross reference methods and postures of contemporary practices as well as other records.
    Understanding the roll of Buddhist monasteries as well as h ow they fun ctioned, the nature of Buddhism and why warrior societies like the Jin, Jurchen, and Mongols embraced it and the political issues/border issues in the region were Shaolin Monastery was located gives one an insight as to why martial arts develo ped at that monastery.

    One is just not going to find a lot of photos of monks practicing martial arts. : - )
    How ever there is at least one rare photo of a travelling buddhist monk with a defense weapon from the 1920';s or early 30's as a w ell description a nd demonstration of how it was used given to a Belgian writer. From the interview is is apparent that it was not uncommon for travelling monks to be armed and skilled in discreet defensive weapons.
    Kang Gewu mentions records that document General Yu Day ou observing Shaolin Monastery martial training. in 1561. He mentions as well that in 1775 Henan governor Xu Ji employed a Shaolin Monastery monk to instruct his miliary in spear methods his doing so was criticized by the Qing Emperor.

    There is a re cor d on a stone stele dated approximately 620 A.D. written in the style of the Tang Emperor that narrates the event of monks capturing Wang Shi chung. One of the monks is even given the title of 'Great General Monk'. This real event took plac e before the 13 century.
    The emperor also give the monastery the right to maintain and train an army of monks. It is a matter of record, which I am sure you are aware of.

    I think that any one that takes the trouble to study t he history of China well get insights into
    the nature of Chinese martial art and Shaolin that is not possible any other way.
    As an example I know few people understand the meaning of 'Jia' that is often attached
    martial forms and styles as in Yue Jia Quan.{

  11. #26
    The Willow Sword Guest


    We as americans first learned of the shaolin temple through television,,such as "kungfu and bruce lee as well.. then all this stuff starts coming in about the temple and the history of it.
    now how are we justifying some of the things that we are saying about the temple? the history of this order has become SO POPULARISED by us americans i think that we will tend to believe anything about what is told to us by any asian out there. from the writings of DR. yang jwing-ming it seems that what is shared there about the temple is a general one,,nothing real specific. there are oral traditions in buddhism but there are a lot of writings from generations past about the way of life,,but with respect to Shaolin it seems that the history is sketchy at best..there seems to be this "missing link" that none of us can seem to figure out. I tend to look at the practicality fo the shaolin temple history rather than have these grandious views of superhuman monks flying around and all the other stuff associated with it.....remember our american tall tales? "paul bunyon and his big blue ox?" since china eclpises our population they have TONS of ledgends and stories. Shaolin seems to be the focal story now adays,,perpetuated by us and capitolized by them. martial arts existed in china long before the temple was built. but so has fighting systems been in existence all over the world. All of these fighting systems share something in common with one another. THEY WERE UTILIZED BY THE RULING CLASS. what part of NO VIOLENCE OR AGRESSION in buddhisms central message do any of you NOT understand? just likje the bible stating thou shalt not kill. no footnotes under that law of man,,,there are no footnotes under this law in buddhism either.
    i just cannot believe that shaolin was a buddhist center of martial studies as well as buddhist studies. from what i can read from the history buddhism was not that popular during the shaolin temples first building. which brings me to the fighting aspect of any center where the art of hurting and killing is studied. The Traditional forms we see at the temple and at the surrounding schools there is modern wushu,,with no real fighting bases,,just gymanstics,and pretty dance routines and choreography. when you look at what a fighting system is ,,there are no flasy exterior movements at all,,its about power and striking hard and with intent. not fluttering around like a bird,or jumping around like a monkey. members of my school who go to china and visit the temple go to these schools and do demos of what we do. the instructers there in turn show us some of their "traditional" forms and they look like combat forms" not the fluttery stuff that they teach as per required by communist government. our school visited chen village as well,,both exchanged forms and both were so much alike and similar,,theirs being much cleaner looking than ours due to there hours of practice,,but still the similarities are there.
    of couse my point is not to prove that my school is legit,,the point is to prove that a buddhist center of study does not have a fighting curriculum,,,all of the buddhist temples are like that,,i have seen in this country THAI and CHinese as well as VIETNAMESE buddhist temples and there is NO FIGHTING SYSTEM THERE AT ALL. So how can a Buddhist order that shaolin claims to be have this there and only there?. Shaolin being unique and the exception does not fly when you consider what the original purpose of the temple being built was about. the emperor wey built the temple for an indian priest named PAU JACO for the soul purpose of PREACHING AND WORSHIP. DURING THIS TIME BUDDHISM WAS VERY POPULAR. with thousands of monks studying ,,but in 30 short years it lost its popularity by the time DAMO got there the buddhist orders were dwindling in practitioners.

    I still think that the Shaolin temple was a military training center for the emperors army.
    it takes a very disciplined mind to be able to truley hurt anothet human being and to kill them as well in defense of your life or your emporers life. the religion incorporated into the temple which was probably most likely a mix of a lot of philosophies such as taoism confucionism and buddhism, helped to sane onself in combat and to justifiy the killing of another human being. i believe that over time the power and influence of the temple over the common people caused jealousy and threatened the emperors power and that is why the temples were destroyed so much and then rebuilt with the new regimes coming into power. we dont hear stories of the taoist monestaries or convents in china being destroyed as much as the shaolin temples were. see our school does not teach buddhist doctrines and for the longest time i wondered why we didnt,,then i realized that" well why the hell would they since what they are teaching is how to fight and kick the crap out of someone?" the philosophies surrounding martial arts seem to be more of a taoist thing(in china).
    am i just way way off here guys and gals,,or am i on to something that we really have not considered about all this?
    lets discuss this again ,,and please,,,,,lets be civil here and no more SD bashing. iam really trying to connect here with you people.
    Many Respects, 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$.

  12. #27
    reemul Guest

    I would say your way off TWS

    I agree Buddhist teaching does not condone agression, but Dharma didn't show up and BLAM everyone is buddhist. Chinese philisophy, the concept of Yin and yang, are not polars or linear as with western philosophy. The Chinese did not jump from one philosopy to the next it was generally a mixing of new and old. If you look at chan buddhism you can see thoughts of Confuscism, and Mohism as well as Toaism. Buddhism did not retain its original form when introduced to the inhabitants at Shaolin. Now as for your schools forms being martial then why is it a fellow classmate of mine goes up to the Shaolin do school here in town and beats up on their instructors. Now for all the effort you go into making it seem like Shaolin do trains for actual
    combat it amazes me how a whole school, larger than ours in members, cant deliver against one person. Another thing that you have said, with regard to history would only serve to lend support to you schools claims of legitamacy. You are far from the source of Shaolin so quit ****ing in the wind.

  13. #28
    The Willow Sword Guest


    i cannot speak for the students and/or instructors at the SD school that get "beat up" on as you say by your fellow classmate. instead of challenging the assisatnt instructors why not challenge the master of the school? what a suprise your fellow classmate would get. anyway as for me being off ,,you have actually stated what i stated in my long post about the mix of philosophies at the temple. as for ****ing in the wind reemul. i cannot wait to meet you when i get to austin, why not bring your fellow classmate as well, when i get through with you i will take him on as well. so you are northern tiger stylist huh? tell ya what, ill use my tiger against yours.
    how does that sound?,,,,,,ahh thanksgiving in november. you want this to be an all out brawl or a challenge match with gloves and judging? you name it and i will adhere to it. Zilker gardens sounds like a nice place to fight. or possibly zilker park by the theater and barton springs.
    many respects,
    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$.

  14. #29
    shaolin_knight Guest
    Other buddhists have had fighting systems. Some emei kung fu comes from buddhist practices (they studied tibetian buddhism). And you don't understand chan, or you wouldn't say studying fighting systems is against it.

  15. #30


    Bodhidharma(damo) was the 28th patriarch of Buddhism (28th direct descendant of the historical Buddha) and the first patriarch of Chinese Chan (Zen) Buddhism. He was an enlightened master who introduced Chan Buddhism to China and is known as the founding father of Shaolin Kung Fu.

    Born a prince in the southern Indian kingdom of Pallava at around 440 A.D., Bodhidharma(damo) was to follow in his father??s footsteps as king. In the midst of his education and training, Bodhidharma(damo) encountered the Buddha??s teachings. He immediately saw the truth in the doctrine of Buddhism and decided to give up his esteemed position and gifted princely life to become a monk and study with the legendary Buddhist master Prajnatara who was the 27th patriarch of Buddhism. Bodhidharma(damo) rapidly progressed in his Buddhist studies and in time became an enlightened master. Master Prajnatara instructed his disciple to travel to China and spread the Mahayana teachings of Chan Buddhism to the Chinese.

    Bodhidharma(damo) set off on his quest and after a brutal trek over Tibet's Himalayan Mountains, surviving both the extreme elements and treacherous bandits he finally arrived in China around 520 A.D. Upon the invitation of Emperor Liang Wu Ti, Bodhidharma(damo) went to Nanjing.

    Emperor Wu Ti, a devout Buddhist himself, requested an audience with Bodhidharma(damo). The emperor was very fond of Buddhism and often wore Buddhist garments, ate vegetarian food and recited Buddhist prayers. Proud of his knowledge and contributions he had made towards the spreading of Buddhism, the emperor asked Bodhidharma(damo) ??Since I came to the throne, I have built many temples, published numerous scriptures and supported countless monks and nuns. How great is the merit in my deeds??? ??There is no merit in your deeds??, replied Bodhidharma(damo). The emperor was confused and angered by his remark. He had failed to understand Bodhidharma(damo)??s statement, which meant that one is not really practicing the dharma (Buddha??s teachings) if one does good deeds only for selfish reasons. In the emperor??s case his actions were done for the intention of gaining fame and praise. Bodhidharma(damo) was explaining that the self-centered desire and craving for merit and praise changed the nature of the emperor??s deeds.

    After the conversation between the emperor and Bodhidharma(damo), which was mutually unsatisfactory, Bodhidharma(damo) left the palace, crossed the Yangtze River, and continued north until he arrived at the Shaolin Temple in Henan Province.

    When Bodhidharma(damo) saw the monks at the Shaolin Temple, he noticed that they were spiritually strong but physically weak due to long-term meditation practice. Bodhidharma(damo) informed them that he would teach them to cultivate their minds and bodies by a two-part program of meditation and physical training.

    Legend has it that Bodhidharma(damo) meditated in a cave nearby, facing the wall for 9 years in seclusion. Upon reemerging, Bodhidharma(damo) created an efficient exercise program for the Shaolin monks that strengthened the body, and enabled application in self-defense. He developed a system of 18 dynamic tension exercises. These movements are known as the Yi Jin Jing, or Changing Muscle/Tendon Classic. We know this system today as the 18 Lohan Qi Qong Movements - the basis of Shaolin Kung Fu. Through his teachings, the Shaolin Monks forged and developed over the centuries, what is today the most advanced and complete martial arts system the world has ever known.

    The contributions Bodhidharma(damo) has made to the spreading of Buddhism in China and beyond are immeasurable. The Mahayana teaching of Chan Buddhism was quickly assimilated into Chinese culture and began to spread throughout the country. In the 12th century, Chan Buddhism spread to Japan and then Korea. Today Chan Buddhism is strong and flourishing in countries all over the world.

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