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Thread: Shaolin Temple

  1. #61
    GeneChing Guest

    yum cha

    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 &

  2. #62
    NorthernShaolin Guest

    An Attempt to Answer about Shaolin Temples

    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:

  3. #63
    r.(shaolin) Guest
    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.

  4. #64
    Sifu Bok Se Teung Guest

    Fukien Temple

    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

  5. #65
    Yum Cha Guest


    Well, who could question that authority!

    Tell us about yourself Sifu

  6. #66
    Kung Lek Guest
    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

  7. #67
    Shaolin Master Guest
    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

  8. #68
    Royal Dragon Guest

    "South Mantis" maybe?

    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

  9. #69
    r.(shaolin) Guest
    >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.]

  10. #70
    Sifu Bok Se Teung Guest
    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

  11. #71
    Shaolin Master Guest
    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.

  12. #72
    Royal Dragon Guest
    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

  13. #73
    RAF Guest
    "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

  14. #74
    Gargoyle again Guest
    Very good thread here folks, it is nice to see things not degenerate into an "is so! 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

  15. #75
    Kung Lek Guest
    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

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