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Thread: The Shaolin Monastery: History, Religion, and the Chinese Martial Arts by Meir Shahar

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    The Shaolin Monastery: History, Religion, and the Chinese Martial Arts by Meir Shahar

    This is the third work that I discussed in The Shaolin Avant Garde: Three New Books Bring Fresh Perspectives on Shaolin Temple in our 2007 January/February issue.
    The first was Matt Polly's American Shaolin.
    The second was Justin Guariglia's Shaolin: Temple of Zen. Here comes the third. You are going to want to read all three of these books.
    The Shaolin Monastery: History, Religion, and the Chinese Martial Arts by Meir Shahar.

    “Written in clear and lucid style and ambitious both in scope and methodology, this book offers a fascinating window into Chinese culture, religion, and history. Ranging from historical and ethnographic documents to a wide variety of literary sources, it weaves them all into a compelling narrative. In this fashion, Shahar is uniquely able to bring together social, historical, and mythological elements, providing a demythologized account of martial Chinese traditions such as Shaolin Boxing. This is sinology at its best.”—Bernard Faure, Columbia University

    “The book clearly belongs in a new group of books challenging conventional understandings of Buddhism and violence. Meir Shahar documents with meticulous accuracy and mellifluous prose the fighting monks of Shaolin monastery in China, who appear first in the Tang dynasty (618–907) and continue to the present. Scholars of Buddhism and Chinese history will learn much from the author's scrupulous analysis of the historical record—particularly the texts on stone steles at the monastery—that documents the monastery's traditions of fighting. Anyone interested in martial arts or Bruce Lee films will find it fascinating to learn about the actual history of the monastery’s fighting techniques. I found the book a powerful and compelling read.” —Valerie Hansen, Yale University

    “Meir Shahar's book will assure that the martial arts of Shaolin take a prominent place in the history of Chinese Buddhism. Shahar has mastered a prodigious amount of secondary scholarship, pored over a wealth of primary documents, and brought a critical rigor to the study of these materials that is unprecedented in any language. Throughout, his analysis is cogent and clear. The result is a delightful tour of one of the most enigmatic and compelling stories of Chinese religion: the emergence and development of martial arts at Shaolin Si. Entertaining as the book is, it delivers as well a meditation on the sources of Chinese religion, and how fiction and scripture, myth and history combine to produce novel traditions. The Shaolin Monastery will appeal not only to scholars of Chinese religion, but to those interested in military history, self-cultivation, martial arts, and popular culture.”—John Kieschnick, University of Bristol

    The Shaolin Monastery charts, for the first time in any language, the history of the Shaolin Temple and the evolution of its world-renowned martial arts. In this meticulously researched and eminently readable study, Meir Shahar considers the economic, political, and religious factors that led Shaolin monks to disregard the Buddhist prohibition against violence and instead create fighting techniques that by the twenty-first century have spread throughout the world. He examines the monks’ relations with successive Chinese regimes, beginning with the assistance they lent to the seventh-century Emperor Li Shimin and culminating more than a millennium later with their complex relations with Qing rulers, who suspected them of rebellion. He reveals the intimate connection between monastic violence and the veneration of the violent divinities of Buddhism and analyzes the Shaolin association of martial discipline and the search for spiritual enlightenment.

    Shahar’s exploration of the evolution of Shaolin fighting techniques serves as a prism through which to consider martial-art history in general. He correlates the emergence of the famous bare-handed techniques of Taiji Quan, Xingyi Quan, and Shaolin Quan in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries to the social, political, and religious trends of that age. He then goes on to argue that these techniques were created not only for fighting, but also for religious and therapeutic purposes. Thus his work fills an important gap in the understanding of Chinese religion and medicine as well as the martial arts.

    The Shaolin Monastery is the most exhaustive study to date on the topic and the most systematic introduction to the history and the religious context of the Chinese martial arts tradition. It will engage those interested in Chinese religion and history and martial arts, illuminating for specialists, martial artists, and general readers alike the history and nature of a martial tradition that continues to grow in popularity in its native land and abroad.

    38 illus., 4 maps

    Meir Shahar is associate professor in the Department of East Asian Studies, Tel Aviv University.
    I worked closely with Meir when he was a visiting professor at Stanford. We published an excerpt from his book in our 2004 July/August issue. That article - Meat, Wine, and Fighting Monks: Did Shaolin Monks breach Buddhist Dietary Regulations? - was also published on our e-zine.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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    D@mn! $54?

    Do we get a KFM discount?
    He most honors my style who learns under it to destroy the teacher. -- Walt Whitman

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    As a mod, I don't have to explain myself to you.

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    hope they put this in the right section and not the sports section.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MasterKiller View Post
    D@mn! $54?

    Do we get a KFM discount?
    Or maybe a group buy discount?
    Master of Shaolin I-Ching Bu Ti, GunGoPow and I Hung Wei Lo styles.

    I am seeking sparring partner. Any level. Looking for blondes or redhead. 5'2" to 5'9". Between 115-135 weight class. Females between 17-30 only need apply. Will extensively work on grappling.

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    thanks for the heads up Gene, you da man!
    For whoso comes amongst many shall one day find that no one man is by so far the mightiest of all.

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    UH Press is an academic publisher

    It's one of the leading publishers of research on Asia. Academic texts, like academic journals, are seldom sold in general bookstores; you almost never see them in the megachains. The scholarly book industry is almost a completely different animal. They tend not to do major runs, which is why they are so expensive. If you want one, you'll probably have to order through the site.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

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    Talking

    Obviously it can't be a legitimate scholarly effort as there is no mention Su Kon Taijin nor a recognition of Grandmaster Sin The'.
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    Mas you are an A$$ sorry Gene. KC
    A Fool is Born every Day !

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    Just having fun at your expense. Getting a bit touchy there KC, a little too close to the truth, eh?
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    Just ordered my copy, dangit.
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  11. #11
    finally.


    _________________________________

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    No Mas it just gets old like a broken record KC
    A Fool is Born every Day !

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    So does the claim that SD is 'different' because all other styles found in China are fakes that have had their 'combat usage' removed. And on and on.

    You need a thick skin if you want to spread BS.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing View Post
    It's one of the leading publishers of research on Asia. Academic texts, like academic journals, are seldom sold in general bookstores; you almost never see them in the megachains. The scholarly book industry is almost a completely different animal. They tend not to do major runs, which is why they are so expensive. If you want one, you'll probably have to order through the site.
    Its on amazon.
    Psalms 144:1
    Praise be my Lord my Rock,
    He trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle !

  15. #15
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    I let my fists do my talkin KC Legit or not it works and the proof is in the puddin they say. KC
    A Fool is Born every Day !

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