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Shaolin Temple

Shaolin Temple
By Frank Fan Sheng Guang


Shaolin temple, the well-known Buddhist temple in China, the earliest practice place of the Zen sect of the Buddhism, the birthplace of the Shaolin Kungfu is located at the foot of the Shongshan mountain in the west of Dengfeng city in the Henan province, which is about 12km away from the city. Shaolin temple was built in 495A.D. It was built for the famous monk Botou from India by the Xiaowendi of the Northern Wei Dynasty, Because it was built among the forest at the mountain Shongshan, hence named “Shaolin Temple”. In 527A.D. the famous Indian monk Bodhidharma(Tamo)came to the temple to teach the Zen Sect of the Buddhism, it gradually became the earliest creating place of the zen sect of the Buddhism. At the early stage of the Tang Dynasty,the prince of Qin LiShimin (later the second emperor of Tang Dynasty.) got the supports form the shaolin monks, After that shaolin martial art monks because very famous. The emperors and princes from the Ming ang Qing Dynasty also visited the Shaolin Temple afterwords.After Tang (618-907A.D.) Dynasty.Monks in the temple practiced Shaolin martial arts, the famour one is the Shaolin Boxing.


In the temple, there are a lot of stone carvings. Frescos and metal casting as well as some other historical relics. Among them you can see the《the table given by TangTaiZong》《the poetic table by Emperor WuZetian》《the tablet of the Japanese monk Dao Chen》ect. In the west of the temple, you can see more than 230 tower tombs for the famous from abbots and monks different dynasties which is the largest tower tomb in china. In the northwest direction, you can see the chuzhu and Tamo Cave built in the Song Dynasty. Tamo cave was the place where the famous monk Tamo facing the wall for nine(ten)year. Now, the forest of tower and CuzhuAn have become the historical relics units protected by the Chinese government. The main building of the Shaolin Temple are consist of changzhu yuan garden, where the practice of the Buddhism for the abbots and monks are being made. The ChangzhuYuan are built by the mountain Songshan, It is a traditional Chinese courtyard consists of seven small courtyards,namely,the main entrance of the temple, the hall of the king the hall of the great hereos,the abbot hall.the Tamo Pavillion and thousand hall.there are also LiuZhu hall and Zenhall among both sides,which covers are area of 30,000 square meters.


China is a great country with very history and brilliant civilization. Shaolin Kungfu is one of the famous one, because its fame, now there are a lot of fans come to Shaoli to learn to practice Shaolin Kungfu. In March 22,2006.the former Russian President Pudin paid a special visit to Shaolim monks. Shaolin monks have been practicing Kungfu for over 1500 years. The system was first developed by Tame who developed by Tame who Tught the monks of Shaolin basic routines to improve there health and eventually to defend themselves.Throught the years the art form has been developed and has grown to the most complete martial arts systerm in the world. It truly covers all aspects of martial arts from empty-hand teehniques,to weapons,self-defence chinna(grappling,external,and internal) Shaolin Kungfu is most famous for its animal forms,although there are very good style of Kungfu, it doesn't even scrats the surface of how deep this system is. Shaolin Kungfu has much more to offer and they keep that tradition and art form alive today, as we pass it on to students of all ages and from all ethnical back grounds.


Shaolin Temple (Shaolin Monastery)

The Shaolin temple has many legends and mysteries surround it. The origin of martial arts, the origin of kung fu surround the vague mysteries of the Shaolin Temple and the shaolin monks.

Shaolin Temple is probably the most famous temple in China, not only because of its long history and its role in Chinese Buddhism, Shaolin Temple Pagodabut also because of its martial arts or Wushu Zen. Shaolin Temple is situated in the beautiful Songshan Mountains, which is only eight miles from Dengfeng  County and about 50 miles southwest of Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan Province.

Shaolin Temple was established in 495 during the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534). Batuo, an Indian monk, came to Luoyang, the ancient capital, for preaching Buddhism at that period. Emperor Xiaowen was a believer of Buddhism so he decided to build the temple in the Songshan Mountains to house Batuo, who translated many Buddhist sutras and had a few hundred followers there.

Damo (Bodhidharma), the legendary Indian monk, came to Shaolin in 517, who was the creator of Chinese Zen. There are many legendary stories about him. One of the well-known stories says he was meditating in a cave for nine years. The cave is now called Damo Cave. Many people believe he wrote the famous 'Yijinjing,' the base of Shaolin martial arts or Gongfu. But there is no record about the book before and during the Tang Dynasty (618-907), so experts think Damo has little to do with Shaolin Gongfu. Zongheng, a Taoist priest of Tiantai Mountain, wrote 'Yijinjing' in 1624, but to add mystery to it, he made up a story saying 'Yijinjing' was originally written by Damo.

Shaolin does have a long tradition of Chinese martial arts, as the saying goes 'All martial arts (gongfu) are from Shaolin.' This is partly because Shaolin was located in a strategic area so they had to protect the temple themselves from wars or any invading, and partly because of the support of most emperors from different dynasties, which came after the 13 Shaolin monks once saved Li Shimin, the emperor of the Tang Dynasty (618-907). Since then Shaolin was allowed to have solider-monks. During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), Shaolin housed over 1,000 solder-monks at its peak and they were often used by the government to combat rebellions and Japanese bandits. But martial arts were forbidden during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Even with the protection of solder-monks, Shaolin was severely damaged by fire a few times. The largest fire set by the army of Shi Yousan in 1928 destroyed most of the buildings of Shaolin Temple.

There are many noted relics at Shaolin. There are over 300 ancient stone inscriptions, some of them by famous calligraphers. The large mural of 500 arhats in the Qianfo Hall was from the Ming Dynasty. There are 232 pagodas from different dynasties, known as the forest of pagodas. The oldest one was from the Tang Dynasty. The pagodas are the tombs of the celebrated Shaolin monks. The Shaolin martial arts are an important part of the relics.



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