View Full Version : Shaolin Temple Questions

8 Sweaty Palms
02-24-2001, 07:25 PM
I've read a lot of info about the shaolin temple, but managed to still not remember some basics about it.

When was the original Shaolin temple constructed, and by whom? (specifically). Was the temple in Honan province the original? Who led the government at the time? What were the first styles taught at the temple? (in general)?

:) 8SP

02-25-2001, 12:12 AM
I can only answer one of your questions. The temple at Songshan in Honan is the original Shaolin. However, the ORIGINAL Shaolin was burned down by Manchurian troops.

Shaolin is named after a young forest that was close to the original site when it was built.

In modern Chinese, technically Shaolin should be spelled Xiao Lin - little forest.

Talk softly and carry a big stick.

Shaolin Disciple
03-10-2001, 06:52 AM
Dear Broad Sword & 8 Sweaty Palms

There is some pronunciation mistakes...

Shaolin Temple is in Songshan (Song Mountain) of
Henan Province, China. (Honan is a wrong spelling)

Shaolin is not named after a YOUNG forest, but a forest in ShaoShi Mountain, Shaolin means the temple is in a forest at the foot of ShaoShi Peak.

In modern Chinese, technically Shaolin should be spelled Shao Lin (but not Xiao Lin - little forest.) the meaning in Chinese is Shaoshi Peak, Forest Temple

May Buddha bless you all!

Heming, your friend from Shaolin Temple

03-10-2001, 02:27 PM
I noticed one picture described "one of 72 skills". Is this related at all to the book "72 consumate secrets of shaolin"?

03-11-2001, 04:26 AM
Chinese dialects are so diverse, it is inacurate
to say one is wrong. Honan, was at a time, a proper pronounciation however it is only until recently that conformity to a common dialect has made an impact. As a matter of fact the Honan example is how those who left in 1930's pronounced it. It is the revisionist history that propagates such minor issues and more to stregthen the Neo-temple's claims of lagitamacy.

[This message was edited by reemul on 03-11-01 at 07:36 PM.]

03-15-2001, 12:48 AM
Thanks for the clarification.

Talk softly and carry a big stick.

03-15-2001, 01:49 AM
the temple was built in 495 ad at the foot of the shao she mountains in the henan province the name came from shao- from the shao she mountains and lin- the chinese word for forest, for the forest that surrounded the temple

"..I don't hit, it hits all by itself."

Shaolin Master
03-15-2001, 02:24 AM
During Northern Wei Dynasty (386 - 534 AD), In around 452 AD, Northern Wei emperor Wen Cheng also converted to Buddhism. In “Xu Gao Seng Zhuan” state that in the palace, the monks, Emperor & Empress were prepared vegetarian meals, practice Wu Yi and promote Buddhist ethics.Thus, Martial arts were practised as a health enhancing exercise (before the existence of Shaolin).

In 495 AD, Emperor Xiao Wen built a Buddhist temple in the Song Shan Mountains for Buddhist monk Ba Tuo. Ba Tuo was a celebrated monk due his translation of many sutras of Buddhism into Chinese.

Records from Shaolin state that Ba Tuo had two disciples that were martial arts experts (30 years before the arrival of Buddhidharma), named Hui Chang and Seng Chou.

In “Tai Ping Guang Ji”, a record from that era mentions that the young monks enjoyed exercises such as Shou Bu and Jiao Li (similar to Shuai Jiao): `Many monks in their spare time like to do Jiao Li as entertainment`. (These records proved the practise of martial arts at the time (Specifically San Shou and Shuai Jiao related arts).

It is also interesting to mention that these arts were already known and practiced at Shaolin for many years before the arrival of the legendary Damo/Buddhidharma here in 520 AD.)

After the Da Mo scene, ancient arts as practiced previously were enhanced by yoga – like practices and internal development methods. It is recorded in the Temple records that Xi Sui Ching and Yi Jin Jing were excercises attributable to Da Mo. Thereafter followers developed the 18 Lohan Hands, and even later Wu Quan Qing was compiled by Jue Yuan He Xiang. Both of these however contain a lot of Qi gong practices.

In terms of arts though, Xiao Hong Quan and Tai Zu Chang Quan are fairly old authentic representative fist sets that remain until this day.


Shi Chan Long

03-15-2001, 06:14 PM
Dear Heming, Reemul & Broadsword,
Heming is right about the spelling of Shaolin. The Chinese characters for xiao and shao are very similar, a difference of one stroke but it changes the meaning. Xiao is used in the pinyin system, accepted as the universal romanization for mandarin by the United Nations to mean the incorrect character (less that one stroke.)

However, Reemul is right about the ambiguity of the Honan spelling. It is Henan in pinyin, but Honan was well established by a previous romanization system, so it appears in a lot of old English books.

Usually I lean toward the popular romanization. I use kungfu (not kung-fu, mind you, I don't know where that hyphen comes from) instead of the correct pinyin gongfu. But in the case of Shaolin, it is pretty well established with this spelling AND it is also correct by pinyin, so we should try to use it properly. Honan is being replaced by Henan, so give it a few more years and that should be the standard. Let's not make the study of kungfu more arcane than it already is. I doubt we can ever truly standardize Chinese romanization - the tai chi/taiji and chi/qi is a real problem now, but we should definately uphold the ones that are generally accepted.

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

[This message was edited by geneching on 03-16-01 at 09:21 AM.]

05-03-2001, 07:08 PM
Common spelling: Shaolin Temple
Hanyu Pinyin: shâo (or sh*o) l*n sì
Yale Cantonese: s*u l*hm jih
this first character means young

<img src="http://vtmuseum.org/images/characters/S/siu_young_111.gif" WIDTH=40 HEIGHT=40><img src="http://vtmuseum.org/images/characters/L/lahm_forest_217.gif" WIDTH=40 HEIGHT=40><img src="http://vtmuseum.org/images/characters/J/jih_temple_109.gif" WIDTH=40 HEIGHT=40>

xiao (small) would look link this: <img src="http://vtmuseum.org/images/characters/S/siu_small_110.gif" WIDTH=40 HEIGHT=40>

Common spelling: Tai Chi or Taiji
Hanyu Pinyin: t*i j*
Yale Cantonese: taai gihk

<img src="http://vtmuseum.org/images/characters/T/taai_very_big_87.gif" WIDTH=40 HEIGHT=40><img src= "http://vtmuseum.org/images/characters/G/gihk_pole_228.gif" WIDTH=40 HEIGHT=40>

Common spelling: Chi or Qi
Hanyu Pinyin: qì
Yale Cantonese: hei

<img src="http://vtmuseum.org/images/characters/H/hei_Qi_246.gif" WIDTH=40 HEIGHT=40>

There are more characters available with English, Mandarin, and Cantonese spellings at http://www.vtmuseum.org/terminology/


... opportunityisnowhere...

05-04-2001, 12:55 AM

"It is the revisionist history that propagates such minor issues and more to stregthen the Neo-temple's claims of lagitamacy."

I really don't understand how the spelling difference has anything to do with legitimizing the New Tempele. Please explain.

05-04-2001, 11:40 AM
Here are more examples:


Jet Li (Li Lianjie) and Bruce Lee have the same Chinese last name, and yet they spell them differently. In my experience, this is generally true for several Chinese last names (Chan=Chen, Wong=Huang, Wu=Woo, etc. etc. etc.). People just spell them according to how they sound. Written English is phonetically-based, and written Chinese is symbolically-based (probably due to the influence of the First Emperor), so that creates complications in transilterations (yes, transliteration, not translation)...

05-05-2001, 10:45 AM
Supporters of the Neo-temple will argue every insignificant detail in the hopes that it will strengthen the revisionist history coming out China with regard to the Northern Shaolin History. As Gene mentioned earier give it a couple of years and everyone will accept henon instead of honon.
What I'm getting at is this. Everyone accepts the "Legend" of Shaolin as the gospel. Even thought there are holes in the argument. You've herd the legend "in 425 emperor whats his name built this temple blah, blah". However keep in mind the only constant is that the Shaolin had an oral tradition when it came to passing knowledge.
We have a differrent version which comes direct from the source(those who were there) Our side claims Shaolin was a taoist/mohist temple before dharma however it was converted to Chen buddhism due to the toaist and mohist being impressed with dharma's path to enlightenment. Don't even get me started on the " how did MA begin at Shaolin" suffice to say I have yet to hear an argument that makes more sense. Let me just say this, fighting is a contradiction to buddhist philosophy, so why was it developed? Look up Mohist.

Shaolin Master
05-05-2001, 11:08 AM
Hi no mean to haste but just to make a point :

1. There are many written records (not all chinese tradition was verbal).
2. The dynasty when shaolin was supposedly built was during a buddhist emperor's reign who built MANY temples and promoted Buddhism throughout the land.
3. Directly from the source!! how many sources one two against hundreds of researchers with no intention of making money only disciovering the underlying truth.
4. you said that "the toaist and mohist being impressed with dharma's path to enlightenment" that is so funny a whole monastery converted all of a sudden.....ah please this is convincing to you. Well definately you have an minimal contact or knowledge of chinese research and tradition from more than one source.
5. Why developed? Gees even nuns here at Nantien temple study qigong and self defense with us .... I do not understand that point. In Buddhism to know is to know the intent is the problem not the action. I guess your shaolin teacher is not buddhist then as there are MANY buddhist CMAs both monks and laymen alike.

Shi Chan Long