The fighting monks of the Shaolin monastery in the pagoda forest on Song Mountain in China are worshiped all over the world. They are real, but they have become mythical in countless martial arts films and in the hip-hop of the Wu Tang Clan. The Zen monks of Shaolin have been practicing for 1, 500 years. The Shaolin Monastery (Shàolínsì), also known as Shaolin Temple, is a famous temple recognized as the birthplace of Chan Buddhism and the cradle of Shaolin Kung Fu.
It is located at the foot of the Wuru peak of the Songshan Mountain Range in Dengfeng County, Henan Province, China. The name reflects its location in the ancient grove (lin) of Mount Shaoshi, in the interior of the Songshan Mountains. Mount Song occupied a prominent position among the Chinese sacred mountains as early as the 1st century BC. C., when one of the Five Sacred Peaks (wyuè) was proclaimed.
It is located about thirty miles southeast of Luoyang, the former capital of the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-53), and forty-five miles southwest of Zhengzhou, the modern capital of Henan Province. As the first abbot of Shaolin, Batuo dedicated himself to translating Buddhist scriptures and preaching doctrines to hundreds of his followers. In 527, Bodhidharma, the 28th patriarch of Mahayana Buddhism in India, arrived at the Shaolin Temple. Bodhidharma spent nine years meditating in a cave in Wuru Peak and started the Chinese Chan tradition at Shaolin Temple.
From then on, Bodhidharma was honored as the first patriarch of Chan Buddhism. The historical architectural ensemble of the Temple, which stands out for its great aesthetic value and its profound cultural connotations, has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. In addition to its contribution to the development of Chinese Buddhism, as well as its historical, cultural and artistic heritage, the temple is famous for its martial arts tradition. Shaolin monks have dedicated themselves to the research, creation and continuous development and improvement of Shaolin Kung-Fu.
At the beginning of the 21st century, Shaolin is considered one of the most famous temples in the world (“Tiānxià dì yī mingchà). The main pillars of Shaolin culture are Chan Buddhism (Chan), martial arts (w), Buddhist art (yì) and traditional Chinese medicine (yī). This Shaolin cultural heritage, which continues to constitute the daily life of the temple, is representative of Chinese civilization and appreciated internationally. A large number of celebrities, political figures, eminent monks, Buddhist disciples and many others come to the temple to visit it, make pilgrimages and cultural exchanges.
In addition, due to the work of Shaolin's official cultural centers abroad and foreign disciples, Shaolin culture spreads throughout the world as a distinctive symbol of Chinese culture and an important medium of foreign cultural exchange. Using the teachings of Batuo and his disciples as a basis, Bodhidharma introduced Chan Buddhism, and the Shaolin temple community gradually grew to become the center of Chinese Chan Buddhism. The teaching of Bodhidharma was passed on to his disciple Huike, for whom legend says that he cut off his arm to show his determination and devotion to the teachings of his teacher. Huike was forced to leave the Temple during the persecution of Buddhism and Taoism (574-580) by Emperor Wu of the Northern Zhou dynasty.
In 580, Emperor Jing of the Northern Zhou dynasty restored the temple and renamed it Zhi'ao Temple (Zhù sì). Emperor Wen of the Sui Dynasty (; July 21, 541 — August 13, 60), who was a Buddhist, returned the original name of the temple and offered his community 100 hectares of land. Shaolin thus became a great temple with hundreds of hectares of fertile land and large estates. Once again, it was the center of Chan Buddhism, with eminent monks from all over China coming to the Temple regularly.
With the establishment of the Ming dynasty in the mid-14th century, Shaolin recovered and a large part of the monastic community that fled during the Red Turban attacks returned. In the early Ming Dynasty, the government did not advocate martial arts. During the Jiajing period (Jiājìng, 1522-1556 of Ming Emperor Zhu Houcong (zhūhòucōng), Japanese pirates harassed China's coastal areas, and generals Yu Dayou and Qi Jiguang led their troops against the pirates. While in Fujian, Qi Jiguang summoned martial artists from all over China, including local Shaolin monks, to develop a set of boxing and anti-personnel techniques to be used against Japanese pirates.
Due to the merits of the monks in the fight against the Japanese, the government renewed the Temple on a large scale, and Shaolin enjoyed certain privileges, such as the exemption from food taxes, granted by the government. Since then, Shaolin monks have been recruited by the Ming government at least six times to participate in wars. Because of its outstanding contribution to Chinese military success, the imperial court built monuments and buildings for the Shaolin Temple on numerous occasions. This also contributed to the establishment of the legitimacy of shaolin kung fu in the national martial arts community.
During the Ming Dynasty (mid-16th century), Shaolin reached its peak and maintained its position as the central place of the Caodong School of Chan Buddhism. The establishment of the Contemporary Temple offers all interested individuals and groups, regardless of cultural, social and religious values, the opportunity to experience Shaolin culture through the Shaolin cultural exchange program. This program offers an introduction to Chan meditation, Shaolin Kung Fu, Chan medicine, calligraphy, art, archery, etc. The practice of Chan is supposed to help the individual achieve the calm and patience necessary to live optimistically, meaningfully, wisely and with compassion.
The ways of practicing Chan are numerous and range from everyday activities (for example,. Eating, drinking, walking or sleeping) to specialized practices such as meditation, martial arts, and calligraphy. Shaolin kung fu manifests itself through a system of different abilities that are based on attack and defense movements with the form (tàolù) as a unit. A shape is a combination of different movements.
The structure of movements is based on ancient Chinese medical knowledge, which is compatible with the laws of body movement. Within the Temple, forms are taught with a focus on integrating the principles of complementarity and opposition. This means that Shaolin Kung Fu integrates dynamic and static components, yin and yang, hardness and softness, etc. He hands me the phone, at which point I realize he's broadcasting live.
Gao and I walked the rest of the way, broadcasting live together, answering questions from his audience of 1.2 million followers. The following year, the monarch provided funds to the Indian-born monk Batuo to establish the Shaolin Temple. The Shaolin Temple has developed numerous complementary cultural aspects that permeate and reinforce each other and are inseparable when it comes to presenting the material and intangible cultural heritage of the Temple. After receiving his precepts at Puzhao Temple in Jianxi Province in 1984, he returned to Shaolin Temple.
At the age of 17, he arrived at Shaolin Temple on Mount Songshan, where Master Abbot Xingzheng took him as a disciple. During the Cultural Revolution in the People's Republic of China, the monks of the Shaolin Temple were forced to return to secular life, Buddha statues were destroyed, and temple properties were invaded. Inspired by the Kung Fu films starring Jet Li and Bruce Lee, two Chinese and two Westerners travel to the Shaolin Temple in China, known as the birthplace of Kung Fu and Zen Buddhism, and undergo a year of rigorous martial arts training in the hope of becoming Kung Fu warriors. Thanks to Batuo, Shaolin became an important center for the study and translation of original Buddhist scriptures.
The pagoda forest (close-up view), located about 300 meters (980 feet) west of the Shaolin Monastery in Henan. The flames partially damaged the “Shaolin Monastery Stele” (which recorded the politically astute election made by other Shaolin clerics 1,500 years earlier), the Dharma Hall, the Heavenly King's Hall, the Mahavira Hall, the Bell Tower, the Drum Tower, the Sixth Ancestor Hall, the Chan Hall and other buildings, causing the death of several monks who were in the Temple. The phrase immediately evokes images of bald monks in orange robes, superhuman Shaolin martial arts and Buddhist isolation. .