View Full Version : question on North and South Shaolin Temples

05-03-2001, 07:34 PM
Has anyone on this forum done research into the veracity of the legends of a Southern Shaolin in the Fukien area of Southern China?

I know that Chinese archeologists found ruins of a temple that was raized to the ground in Southern China in 1995. That temple was rebuilt and is now open to the public.

Some people say there was a Southern Shaolin while others say it was just a myth. Do the "southern styles" share a similar origin point? Why are the "southern" styles different from the "northern" styles? Do these differences point to different thinking which led to the creation of new styles in the south? Was this different thinking housed in a temple not known for kungfu before the Manchu take over in 1644?

From the evidence I've seen to date, I think there was a Southern Temple that served as a focal point for revolutionary, anti-Qing activity in the late 1600s. The temple probably wasn't called Nan Shaolin Si (South Young Forest Temple) (BTW, as I understand it, this is the name of one of three newly built temples in Southern China). After the temple was destroyed, the survivors of that temple might have referred to it as Nan Shaolin Si to separate it from the Bei Shaolin Si (North Young Forest Temple) that was still standing.

Regardless of my own thoughts, I keep an open mind and would like to read some over views...

... opportunityisnowhere...

05-03-2001, 09:06 PM
The southern Temple was created by Monks from the northern temple in an effort to train fishermen and farmers to defend themselves against the likes of japanese pirates and such. The difference in style was simply that given these people did not have the luxury to train all day like the monks, the monks felt training them in Northern style would be too much of an undertaking. So they created "watered down" off shoots of some of the Northern styles to make the process easier.

05-04-2001, 11:54 AM
Sounds like a pretty daring statement. I think a lot of Southern stylists would disagree on Southern styles being watered down. ;)

I was taught that the differences were due to environmental factors, and different body shapes.

Environmentally, much of the south has tropical or near-tropical climate. The general environment receives more rain, and much of the populace were involved with fishing. Add to this the crowding in Southern cities. Because of the fact that the ground was often wetter and people lived and worked on boats, the Southern styles could not afford to use the longer stances of the Northern styles. Also, in crowded city situations, there isn't much room to fight in, so the more upright stances and lower kicks were more useful.

The Southern Chinese also tend to be shorter and a little more stocky than the Northerners. Upper body movements were naturally more useful to the Southerners, as were more upright stances so as not to exacerbate the height disadvantages.

Northern styles can utilise the longer stances and high kicks because the Northern climate is generally drier. Also, the taller build of the Northern Chinese meant that using the kicking range was to their advantage.

This is just what I was taught. Someone will probably shoot me down over it :)

You have no chance to survive - make your time.

05-04-2001, 12:28 PM
A lot more fights and battles happen in the south than in the north so one would think ten times the experience ten times the improvement of the arts (watered down as you say is ridiculous as "everything had a beginning" and the henan temple had many periods through history of closure inactivity and lack of progress)

05-04-2001, 09:55 PM
The existence of the Southern temple has been in contention for a good while.

There are many reasons for this doubt. For example, the temple at Songshan (Henan - northern shaolin...) was destroyed more than once and rebuilt. It was said that the southern temple was founded from thenorthern...sort of a sister temple...but no exact record of the location was noted. This seems strange considering that most of the other temples that were destroyed no matter what reason were well known in location at least.

If the temple did exists...and many think this mya be true... there are about 3 or 4 places that often claimed to be that site. In fact, in those areas, there was a lot of local pride about it...but they can't all be right.

The site found in 1995 may or may not be true. BUT, given how much of a moneymaker putting up a restored Sonshan temple is and filling it with 9 to 5 monks...training Shaolin Wushu...when in reality they were all trained by the profssional wush coaches ... well, money talks.

It is not too big of a stretch of the imagination to have someone in the government saying "Hmmm..we can make a lot of money if we rebuild this thing and do what we do in Songshan"

the real proof will be if after it is opened, they move in "Southern monks" and then in a couple of years you have people claiming and believing that the southern temple is 'real' too. I would say that such a thing would pretty much prove it was false. Otherwise, they would say they were allowing a new temple to start and the wushu training was a training center and re-enactment.

05-05-2001, 10:21 AM
daring or not, thats what happened.

Shaolin Master
05-05-2001, 10:51 AM
not known whether called Shaolin necessarily but many temples in south china had the practice of martial arts. In the south a few that come to mind include : Ching Xi Si, Guang Lau Si etc...

For a factual comprehensive (non PRC) analysis of Southern Shaolin please visit the site below :

Shi Chan Long

05-05-2001, 04:26 PM
To Wenjen

check your history more...

Beijing is in the north, the great wall...more north, many of the major battles of history were central and north.

Great fighters went to the capitals...Beijing, Shanghai, all more north.

The southern style get a lot of press..but in the west, the simple truth is that most of the people who came west were from the south. First wave was Toisan (similar in dialect to Cantonese). Then came Hong Kong folks...then Taiwan, then PRC...

Prior to WWII, there was the Chinese exclusion act and most of the Chinese immigrants here in the US were Toisan or Cantonese. Why? poverty and problems. Poor people in china do not practice Kung Fu so much. There is a saying "Poor men do scholarship, rich men Kung Fu" This is because of the need for more strdy clothing, more washing, weapons, time to practice...all cost money.

Thre are some very good books on Chinese history out there. Check into where most of the Boxers' came from....and where the big trouble was - Beijing...and around there.

05-05-2001, 06:09 PM
I guess you practice some northern style like chang quan or cha quan for you to have a silly outlook. I just mean that martial progress occurs everywhere and southern styles have as much to offer if not more at times. :)

05-06-2001, 02:08 AM
Unless you were there, you can't be sure of that. Like many different historical events, the telling of the history can be tainted by the author's viewpoint. What you said may well be true - that the Southern styles were simplified Northern styles. But it also may not be.

You have no chance to survive - make your time.

05-06-2001, 03:12 AM
The fact is, the Shaolin maintained an oral tradition of passing on knowledge and this debate will go on forever because there is no proof either way of what transpired. All I know is this. Our masters father and Grandfather where there, they were also the head of the Northern Shaolin Tiger system at honan. I have to say our master acts more like a monk than any of the so called monks coming from the temple these days, however he does not claim to be one. He recieves no money from the school. He does not promote the school and as far as the MA community is concerned he doesn't exist and he has no plans to change this as far as I know. So when he tells us "this" is what happened, I have no reason to doubt him, our system speaks for itself. I only mention all of this because I'm sure many here, will most likely question the credibility of the source, so I thought I would give you a brief profile for general reference.

For clarity my reference to our "master" is my instructors teacher not my instructor.

Also in our system, there is a very close connection to the source(the monastary) Although our master was not there, his father was and his granfather was. So while some of you have your history books based on someones speculation and Legend rather than fact mine comes from, in my opinion, the source. However as mentioned this as well cannot be proven as fact and can be debated.
So what we are left with is what we choose to believe, who is credible.

[This message was edited by reemul on 05-06-01 at 06:24 PM.]

[This message was edited by reemul on 05-06-01 at 06:26 PM.]

[This message was edited by reemul on 05-06-01 at 06:26 PM.]

[This message was edited by reemul on 05-06-01 at 06:27 PM.]

Shaolin Master
05-06-2001, 10:52 AM
Quote - "Our masters father and Grandfather where there, they were also the head of the Northern Shaolin Tiger system at honan"

Have you heard of Liang Yi Quan, Liu Bao Shan, Hai Deng, De Gen or even Miao Xing. These people were there and have written testemonials of what it was like. That also all coincide (though done at different times and places). Also they all share some things in common.

Regarding your Granmasters - Then what were there Lay names?, what lineage within the temple did they have?. Believe or not there is a register of any "major" monk or lay disciple through history especially only 4 generations ago.[I'm sure a Head of a style(?) would be there]

Also let us know a bit about this "Northern Shaolin Tiger" what is included, I have seen/heard/read/etc....many many things some parts of your system must coincide impossible that it does not exist anywhere in the world other than dowtown USA. At least fundamental Qigong or Xiao Hong Quan even....something anything to even remotely relate it! How about theories (poems) or the like about proper methodology in kung fu....?

I seriously would like to understand from a greater(more meaningful) point than you have given.


Shi Chan Long

05-06-2001, 05:03 PM
Good questions/comments Shaolin Master.
Along with Xiao Hong Chang Quan
most Songshan Shaolin lineages include
Da Hong Chang Quan and Tan Tui Shi Er Lu
as well.

[This message was edited by R. on 05-07-01 at 08:20 AM.]

05-06-2001, 07:36 PM
The history as it is coming out of the Temple today is in our opinion revisionist history in an attempt to lagitamize the current temples occupants. As far as registry, doubtful. Fact is our masters grandfather was targeted for assasination, as were other masters at the time.
So even if the registry exist it would not reflect his existance. Why do you think that the few remaining northern Shaolin animal systems exist outside China and the form of Kungfu at the temple these days is generalized. Our history is too long to go into here, and whether you believe me isn't really my concern. I do know this if you concentrate your efforts to learn about Shaolin in China, your answers will be skewed to the revisionist perspective. Why don't you try looking to Honolulu and california/San Francisco area. This is where a lot of the Shaolin Masters escaped to.

Some say there are no secrete organizations of Shaolin. I would have to disagree. Although our school is not a secrete we are selective in our membership.

If you have questions, I have answers, but keep in mind I am not at liberty to discuss everything.
I know this seems a bit cloak & daggerish, but considerring what has happened to other systems of MA with regard to theft and misrepresentation, we go to great length to protect our information.

05-06-2001, 11:35 PM
"Although our school is not a secrete we are selective in our membership.

If you have questions, I have answers, but keep in mind I am not at liberty to discuss everything.
I know this seems a bit cloak & daggerish, but considerring what has happened to other systems of MA with regard to theft and misrepresentation, we go to great length to protect our information."

Ok--very interesting. Selective in what way? Does the word gullible ring a bell? It sounds like a cult...

Now I just gotta say this. Either you are playing a little game here or someone has pulled major wool over your eyes. I think that if your group really goes to great lengths to protect your information then you wouldn't be dancing around this forum trying to get attention. If you're not at liberty to discuss everything, then why discuss anything? It doesn't look cloak and daggerish, it looks kinda dumb. Sorry if I seem disrespectful..this is probably the harshest comment I've ever made on the forum, but sheeeesh! You gotta be kiddin' me!


05-07-2001, 04:36 AM
I said we are selective not secretive, that is why I am here voicing my opinion. Your response is somewhat typical and what I'm used to.

Tell me something though, It is very clear the Shaolin were very selective in accepting members throughout their history, so why now would you choose to beleive otherwise.

We have a different spin on Shaolin history, one I believe is more accurate and plausible. General question on Shaolin history I will answer, however I will shy away from our family history. Sometimes it hard because the two are intertwined.

If you think I've been fooled so be it, but let me ask you this. How many of your teachers gave you the history of the system when you first signed up. I stayed with my system because in my opinion, I saw nothing else like it and five years after the fact some information on the family history was given to me, mainly becaused my long term patronage made me a viable candidate for membership. Now 12 years into it the history lessons continue.

As I said, whether you believe me or not is not my concern, I am merely here to voice my opinion and offer those who haven't been sold on revisionist history another angle to take into consideration.

Shaolin Master
05-07-2001, 04:50 AM

I am sorry but you have not provided any information of significant value to validify your claim but it is ok. Remain so...just remember this it is a big world to believe that the secrets of shaolin lay solely within your school or teachers.
Unfortunately from this angle it sounds too much like an old US Series "Kung Fu" and realistically I would not bother with it as you have no intention to seek more truth rather to remain in your delusion.
So Take Care.

Original Question,

Well if you read (For Chinese Readers) the Link I gave it described research findings and how they relate to the Singapore School (A sister school of mine as we are all related to Abbott Shi Gao Ceng an unrefutable shaolin warrior monk from the South) you will find information regarding southern shaolin.

To conclude, as there are SOO many styles of the south with such an origin it is difficult to refute its existance we can only question the details of the existance not the fact.

Shi Chan Long

05-07-2001, 05:44 AM
Every school I have been to had given the history on the first day(even when it was just visiting)and usually they have it in writing or something.

BUT you had to wait 5 years and after 12 years no one has made it clear to you still, that is very wierd???? :confused:

05-07-2001, 08:55 AM
I'm not seeking validation, if that wasn't made clear already.

I never said the secretes of Shaolin could only be found at my school. Just that they are not as prevalent as the yellow pages claim, and that the Neo-temple is really a contemporary Wushu gym.

Now however I was inaccurate in that when students
come by we do give a very general description of the system.

In my past post, after 5 years is when I realized the depth of the system to some amount of detail. Now I know a great deal of detail at 12 years.

hope things are a bit clearer. Though I don't see how you misunderstood in the first place.

05-08-2001, 07:59 AM
You obviously love your style and have a great deal of respect for your master and his line.

My Sigung trained at the Southern Shaolin Temple and I can tell you there was nothing watered-down about what he learned. So if you want to talk about history being passed down orally, then my source is closer than your source.

I am not going to convince you of anything, and I certainly don't want to get into a swinging d!cks contest. All I am saying is that your version of history is just that - your version. Unless you were there you cannot be sure, and other versions of history are just as valid. To say that your version is actually what happened, and that everything else is revisionist history is pretty closed minded IMO.

You have no chance to survive - make your time.

05-08-2001, 09:44 AM
not every kung fu style came out of shaolin, and not every southern style is derived from a northern style. Although many southern styles are very similar and do seem to have originated from northern styles, Bak Mei, southern mantis, wing chun, etc...the commonality of these styles would suggest a common source and possibly
southern shaolin temple.

the southern style were adapted to the geography and all that which resulted in a mphases on had technique and close range fighting.

reemul's history debatable but close enough, and I don't think that watered down would be appropriate, more like simplified to make it easy to learn and to maximize effectiveness.

And why would a northern stylist have a detailed history of southern styles anyway?

"Civilize the mind but make savage the body"

"Kung Fu begins with the conquering of the opponent and ends with the conquering of the self."

05-08-2001, 11:48 AM
Dont take what I said out context. The comment about being watered down was simply how it began, when monks from the north began training the people. It has changed great deal since then. Also, "watered down" was not to imply that the systems of the South were not effective or less effective than the North.

By the Way, before leaving China Our masters were at the Southern temple. So its not like we are oblivious to what went on in the South.

05-08-2001, 11:59 AM
Because my opinion differs from yours, I don't seek truth. What ever. Seems to me, you might be afraid of the knowledge I posses, otherwise you wouldn't be trying to pry it out of me, after I had already stated that I am not at liberty to discuss family matters to any great detail.

off the subject
By the way anybody heard of the late Master Lo?
lived in San Francisco?

05-10-2001, 03:39 AM
Dude, don't be defensive.
Be anonymous, but not defensive.

There are some really well informed individuals on this board.

Throw 'em more details. Get a discussion.

You might learn something new. Have CMAs developed and survived in a vacuum?

"To the Buddhist, "To
be or not to be" is not
the question. The
question is whether or
not you can transcend
these notions."

Thich Nhat Hanh

05-11-2001, 06:37 AM
Hey Remull,

Have you ever heard about a teacher of Shaolin Tiger in Okinawa(sp?)?

05-11-2001, 07:00 AM
That is fujian tiger derivative (ie southern characteristic)

05-12-2001, 01:28 PM
I've stated my position pretty clearly, you can either accept it or not.

Whether someone is well informed is a matter of opinion, especially with something that lacks a factual(having proof,not strong belief) basis. I'm secure in my belief because I've seen what else is out there, not because I've closed myself off to the rest of the MA community. If you have a specific question ask it.

05-12-2001, 02:43 PM
Please Reemul help me answer these questions :

1.As your teachers were in Fujian Shaolin when was it destroyed and what was its location ?
2.Were there 36 Chambers in southern shaolin ?
3. What were other systems practised at Henan shaolin ?
4. What years were your teachers in henan & fujian temples ?
5. Who were the Abbotts of both Henan and Fujian temples at the time ?

Thank you

05-12-2001, 11:35 PM
1. dont know, never asked and it was never brought up.
2. same as no. 1. We are Northern practioners most of my knowledge is Nothern though there is a connection with the south my knowlege is limited.
However as of late my teacher has been very forth coming with info so I will ask.

3. Our history of the shaolin systems of that time period has been mainly centered around the 7 animal systems (most people dont agree with this because the Mantis and monkey system came along much later than the others and are not considered animal systems by some) However as it was passed to us the 7 animal systems were Tiger, crane, snake, eagle, dragon, mantis and monkey. They were also titled as listed in other words Shaolin tiger, shaolin crane... Not eagle claw or black tiger... however other systems later developed and that is not to say such systems were not Shaolin. These systems were always growing and evolving. My contention that the temple lost what it had is based on the masters leaving China. Our systems remains simply Northern Shaolin Tiger.
4. I would have to ask?
5. Not gonna answer. as of yet anyway

05-15-2001, 03:59 PM
Thank you for your efforts Reemul, but you have not answered any of the questions clearly except number 3 and that only covered animal systems, I am sure there was a lot more to shaolin than animals !

So I thought that after 12 years you'd know a little more than you do. I still await your response. [Though that story used to be around in the 60's when no one in the larger general population knew anything about shaolin except DaMo, 5 animals and the fantasies]

Til Soon.

05-20-2001, 12:04 PM
besides anything I say is subject to debate anyway so what would be the point?

Royal Dragon
05-31-2001, 06:51 PM
The point, would be to start a debate!!! That's what we do here, we debate stuff.

And that my freind is how we learn!!


You have stated that you're version of history is different that the norm. You then went on to say your version was more correct because your source was a family member that was there at the time.

BUT, you NEVER said what your historical version was!!! That's why your getting chastised!!

Out with it man, tell us all the details your allowed to tell, then we will have some substance to debate, instaed of the air we are kicking around now.

Royal Dragon

The Willow Sword
06-01-2001, 03:54 AM
As i understand it,,the temples other than the Shaolin temple in the north were not all buddhist churches. most of them ,in fact were TAOIST temples. this is probably why there is so much controversy on the subject of a Southern Shaolin temple. THat temple in the south could very well be a Taosit church that had the shaolin arts being studied there. But nowadays we refer to it as the "Southern Shaolin" temple. The system that i have studied has its roots from the Southern temple in Fujian. the differences are right on as a previous post outlined with respect to the peoples and the genetic differences. So much was lost and/or destroyed with the japanese incursion of china AND with the dictator MAO and his communist regime. the only thing we have to go on now is what THEY tell us and what our masters and grandmasters tell us is true....man its a chinese box isnt it?,,open one and there is another and another and another. I for one would really like to know,,for historical purposes,,, i feel that once the communist regime fades in china that the information will be easier to access and truth can finally be told from THE People's end.

06-01-2001, 04:21 AM
If a temple was Shaolin...it was by definition a BUDDHIST temple.

Shaolin was a temple where the disciplines and tenets of Chan Buddhism were practiced. Chan is the Chinese version of Zen...

Wu Tang was a Taoist temple.

It is a fallacy that most of the temples practiced martial arts. In fact, most did NOT and only Shaolin was 'licensed' to do so by the emperor. THAT is one of the things that made Shaolin different and famous. It was also one of the pieces of opposites...Seeking peace and solitude but practicing a warrior art. This was indeed NOT the norm.

One was either Buddhist or Taoist in the monk world (or another type)...You could NOT be a Shaolin monk and a Taoist one as well. That would sort of be like saying you were a Jewish Moslem. Read Journey to the West and you will see all types of insults and jokes where the butt of the joke are Taoists... The story is a typically Buddhist one.

As for what China may or may not do ... before people talk about what the PRC is like, they should visit there. While there are many problems, it is NOT like the western media portrays it just like the west is NOT like the Chinese media portrays it. There are problems...but many of the things people attribute to the communist regime there would be the same regardless...the regime there is closer to the imperial regime than anything else...except for the order of succession being by party affiliation and not by birth. In China, the more things change, the more it stays the same.

06-01-2001, 05:08 AM
I am with you on the Western portrayal of the PRC. While it is not a utopian state, neither is it as bad as the media portray.

I just finished reading Tom Clancy's "The Bear and The Dragon", and while I really enjoy his books, never had it hit home to me as solidly how biased and inaccurate a picture he can paint.

When the spy plane incident occurred about 2 months ago, it was obvious that a lot of people had read that book because their impressions of the PRC were exactly what Tom Clancy had put forth in his book. People carried on about how backward and ill-equipped the PRC army was etc. etc. etc. Now I do not doubt the ability of the US to prevail in a hypothetical conflict with the PRC, but I do not think it would be as easy as most people think, and it certainly would not be as easy as Tom Clancy made out.

Anyway, back to the original question - no-one will ever really know the truth of the history of Shaolin. There are hundreds of versions of the history, so how do you pick the truth from all that? All I can say is that you should find a version that sits well with you. Then, don't worry about what other people have been told because it doesn't really matter anyway. All that matters is that you believe in your training, and that you train as hard as you can.

What we do in life echoes in Eternity

The Willow Sword
06-01-2001, 09:53 AM
it is amazing to me that a BUDDHIST TEMPLE would condone fighting as well as training for war. ZEN buddhism or CHAN buddhism(same thing) seems to contradict itself,,,but i still respect DA MO and his methods....but still i have studied buddhism from the THAI Buddhist aspect and they do not train to fight nor do they condone fighting at all. THE Dali LLAMA is the foremost authority on this subject and does not condone fighting either.
that is one of the main principles of buddhism. the Taoists on the other hand did fight and trained...as in the wudang mountain temple and the HUA Mountain temple as well. so this is an interesting thing brought up. i know the history of Shaolin,,,and it is an interesting one at that.
Da Mo was a renegade of the buddhists anyway for he did like to fight and condoned self preservation in this manner,,,,seems to me he was more of a TAOIST than anything else. not to discredit any thing that has to do with SHaolin,,,but it still makes me think about the mystery of these temples and what was really going on there,,,,as i have read in history a good protion of some of these shaolin monks were not monks at all but military leaders who fled to the temples to seek sanctuary from a new regime that would kill off the old genrals of the old one. this makes more sense to me as to how the shaolin monks learned to fight so well. for how could they learn it on thier own when thier own Buddhist doctrines specifically forbid violence of any kind. this also brings us to the mystery of the temples with respect to the different emperors who would destroy the temple and then after a while would be rebuilt,,,could it be that these temples were a front and actually training centers for military training for the emperors army? Could that support the constant destruction and rebuilding if the temples? and what of the other temples that were not of Shaolin origin but Taoist churches that trained in fighting as well?
man its like a chinese box again. its all pretty interesting,,,

06-02-2001, 02:56 AM
Says that the Northern Shaolin temple was a toaist/mohist monastary before Bodhi Dharma showed up. This is in contrast to "Legend" which claims in 425a.d. the emperor built the Temple because he was impressed with Dharma. Fighting in relation to Budhism is a contrary, but Chan Buddhism is a mix of Taoism, Mohism, and Buddhism due to the chinese unwillingness to accept pure buddhism. Instead they adapted there own religeon and philosophies and what you have is chan buddhism. Our version also has the the Northern temple begining almost a century earlier. What doesn't make sense is how the "Legend" version propagates an ambiguous at best origin of fighting arts within a Buddhist Temple. On the other hand the Mohist were a military class of socially retired philosophical acceptance, but maintained Martial practice in seclusion at Songshan since before Dharma. A not so popular Legend names the Mohist as "The Guardians of the Temple" because they protected the Temple on many occasions. This again is before Dharma showed up.
So to me it makes more sense that MA were already there when Dharma showed up but his arival and influence helped define new techniques in training(not so much technical, because he didn't teach a martial art, but philisophical) as well he brought physical conditiong. All of these, lead to the istitutionalization of Kung fu training.

06-02-2001, 09:44 AM
:confused: you guys have no idea!!

06-02-2001, 09:46 AM
Buddhism also tells you to look beyond doctrines! Seek Within the mind. But do not search for to find it there for you will not find it! Contradicting, hehee ...only depends on the plane of thought which is all relative... I guess not understanding leads you to misunderstand which doesn't mean anything!

06-02-2001, 09:48 AM
Name a "few" famous Taoist monks who were fighters and were trained completely in taoist arts!

Fish of Fury
06-02-2001, 02:28 PM
if you meet the Buddha on the road...kill him

chan buddhism is full of paradox and unusual methods of training/practising. i know of people who practice shaolin kung fu as a spiritual path who've spent quite some time pondering just that question...ie. why did boddhidharma (as a buddhist) practice kung fu
i've heard that later in his life Musashi also commented on this, saying something along the lines of "the sword is not to destroy the enemy but to slice away those aspects of myself that are impure"

__________________________________________________ _________________________ "I never drive faster than i can see...other than that...it's all in the reflexes" Jack Burton

The Willow Sword
06-02-2001, 07:50 PM
I understand the concept of looking past the doctrines,HOWEVER, Buddhisms central and focal message(aside from all the doctrines and mantras for attaining elightenment) IS THAT YOU DO NOT HARM OR DESTROY ANOTHER LIVING THING. zen buddhism teaches self preservation, yes? but does self preservation mean literally to kill another life or even harm it to the extent of being killed? despite all the ledgends about DA MO i look to what he taught the monks at the temple regarding the body,,,,The Muscle/Tendon changing classics were designed to strengthen the body so that one could be more focused during MEDITATION.
THE Message being"that if your body is out of shape you will NOT attain enlighten ment and utilize your mind body spirits full potential in MEDITATION. if what the previous posts say is true that there was already martial arts at the temple,,then these things being taught by DA Mo were by the monks<not him> being incorporated in to the fighting. which brings up a question. IF,when Da Mo came to the temple and saw that the monks were weak and out of shape then these "martial arts that were supposedly going on there" would have been some of the sorriest lookin arts ever seen. hey you guys ever see an out of shape guy try to do forms? or even fight?
iT doesnt make sense does it folks? i still contend that these"shaolin" temples were military training centers for the emperors army. Hey like i am disagreeing with military training centers? nope. am i discrediting the shaolin temple? nope i dont think so. lets just put practicality where it needs to be put and disregard the fantasy. "warrior monks" not uncommon fellas. during the crusades we had paladins and bards who carried knives and swords and fought for the church,,these were bonified men of the cloth. could it be said that the shaolin temples were bonified servants of the emperor? were they buddhist or did they present the appearence of being buddhist? the chinese box continues to open.

06-03-2001, 05:42 AM
>>In fact, most did NOT and only Shaolin was 'licensed' to do so by the emperor.

So because the emperor licenses the temple to practice MA. The "Buddhist" Temple adopts martial practice though it is contrary to Buddhist doctrine? Why?

>>Da Mo was a renegade of the buddhists anyway for he did like to fight and condoned self preservation in this manner,,,,seems to me he was more of a TAOIST than anything else.

Dharma was a renegade because he dicarded the Hindu amendments that were forced into the original form of buddhism after Buddha died. He broke away in an effort to restore buddhism to it's original state and left India in fear of his life. As well Dharma did not like to fight, nor did he teach fighting at Shaolin. The Shaolin have never attributed Dharma with teaching or bringing fighting arts to China. He is attributed with introducing Buddhism. It was through teaching the "Five animal frolics", which is an exercise not a MA, that Dharma introduced the concept of enlightenment through physical struggle. The Mohist adopted this practice applying it to their martial study. Whether Taoist or Mohist, they were impressed by what Dharma had to offer and ultimately became Buddhist, for the most part.

Buddhism in its orignal state lacked Deities and spirits and was more focused on the here and now rather than what happens when you die. However looking at Chan Buddhism it has many of the characteristics of Taoism, Mohism, and confuscism, as well it mentions spirits and Deities. This is probably why Dharma didn't stick around. Despite his intent to restore buddhism to what it was, a philosphy not a religeon, It was again being amended.

Gargoyle again
06-03-2001, 09:09 PM
Willow Sword,

I think you are trying to see Chan Buddhism with Tibetan Buddhist eyes, you have to look at the Shaolin variety as a specific path and not assume that it should necessarily play by the rules of other forms of Buddhism. There are MANY varieties across the world, a Buddhist practice from one part of the world may be alien and unheard of in another. Chan Buddhism should in no way be equated with pacifism :) The classic analogy is "refusing the gift of violence" where defending yourself from attack is simply a polite way of saying "No thank you, I don't wish to be hurt, here is your punch in return." It is heavily infused with Taoist thought, I would consider that to be its core difference.

It is like comparing Catholicism to Mormonism. Sure, they are both Christian but in practice have very little in common in beliefs or rituals

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

The Willow Sword
06-04-2001, 12:39 AM
i see your point,,,,,,to me buddhism is what it was first and foremost was. over the years it gets either re-written to some others ideology or gets borrowed from others who see its validity in thier own ways. i like the inference about christianity for there is a prime example of how religion gets perverted into a form of cultism that condones fighting and killing. jesus;s central message was love and unity,,,,buddhas was as well, before him. in my opinion it is sad that we have in our own minds justified the killing of human beings through religion. i know this is wierd of me to state this being that i have been into the fighting arts for over 15 yrs. i have taken an internal path now that for me brings the fighting to where i think it should be in religion and pathways of life,,at the surface. it does not go any deeper than that for me. I am about to teach on my own for ht efirst time and i want to do it well and really convey the message i have in my heart. i will not discount the fighting arts and the abilities attained for i feel that it is necessary in the beginning to learn this before realizing the futility of it and evolving........anyway thats all i guess for now. many respects,,the willow sword

06-04-2001, 07:48 AM
There is a saying used in Shaolin teaching that I cannot always remember properly but it goes along the lines of:

Try not to injure others
Injure rather than maim
Maim rather than kill

Shaolin does not teach that you go out to hurt and kill others, only that you do enough to defend yourself or others.

What we do in life echoes in Eternity

06-04-2001, 02:59 PM
ABandit is right on point I believe. Buddhism, like all major religions, is against killing. But then again, buddhists are not idiots, not even the monks. Somebody comes to your temple and starts beating up the monks and steal incense you beat them over the head ith your Shaolin staff.
There is a historically verified tradition of warrior monks throughout the Far East . Shaolin monks with staffs in China (we can probably forget about bladed weapons, these were most likely never taught at Shaolin) and yamabushi with naginatas in Japan etc
If Bodhidharma taught the Shaolin monks some sort of physical exercise, isn't it more likely that it was something in the yoga vein? Martial arts in China are much older than the Shaolin, calling Shaolin the mother of CMA is not historically tenable.