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Brief shao lin monk history

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Brief shao lin monk history

A Short History of Shao Lin Monks and their Martial Arts

The original Shao Lin temple was built in 495 A.D. by the ruling Bei Wei emperor for an Indian monk who came to China to preach Buddhism. The name Shao Lin derived from the fact that its original temple was located within a small forest on Shao Shi mountain. Shao came from the name of the mountain and Lin comes from the Chinese character that stands for forest. The origin of Shao Lin being its own sect of Buddhism dates back to 540 A.D. when and Indian Buddhist named Bodhidharma, Tamo in Chinese, traveled to China to see the ruling Bei Wei Emperor. At that time, the Emperor had started local Buddhist monks translating Buddhist texts from Sanskrit to Chinese. The intent of this practice was geared towards allowing the general population to practice this religion. The Emperor believed that this act would lead to Nirvana, but Tamo disagreed. Tamo's view on Buddhism was that you could not achieve your goal just through the good actions performed by others in your name. Tamo then left to meet with the local Buddhist monks at Shao Lin.

Originally Tamo was refused entrance to the temple because the monks thought he was just an upstart or foreign meddler. Rejected by the monks, Tamo went to a nearby cave and meditated until the monks recognized his religious prowess and admitted him to the temple. Legend has it that he bore a hole through one side of the cave with his constant gaze; in fact, the act that earned him his recognition is lost to history. When Tamo joined the monks, he observed that they were not in good physical condition. Most of their routine paralleled that of Irish monks of the middle ages, who spent hours each day hunched over tables where they transcribed handwritten texts. Consequently, the monks in Shao Lin lacked the physical and mental stamina needed to perform even the most basic of Buddhist meditation practices. Tamo then incorporated by teaching them moving exercises designed to both enhance the flow of ch?i and build strength. These sets, modified from Indian yoga's such as hatha and raja and were based on the movements of the 18 main animals in Indo-Chinese wilderness, were the beginning of Shao Lin martial arts known as gung fu. The Shao Lin temple was in a very secluded area where bandits traveled and wild animals were an occasional problem, so the martial side of the temple probably started out to fulfill self-defense needs. After a while, these movements were codified into a system of self-defense.

As time went on, this Buddhist sect became more and more distinct because of the martial arts being studied. This is not saying that Tamo invented martial arts, but just that he developed and codified them in such a way that it became so different from the norm at the time that it became known as distinctly Shao Lin. A problem faced by many western historians and students of religion, is the contradiction of Buddhist principles of non-violence coupled with Shao Lin's legendary martial arts skills. In fact, the Shao Lin practitioner is never an attacker, nor does he dispatch the most devastating defenses in any situation. Rather, the study of gung fu leads to better understanding of violence, and consequently how to avoid conflict. Failing that, a Buddhist refuses to accept an offering of violence (i.e., an attack) and merely returns it to the sender. Initially, the gung fu expert may choose to parry an attack, but if the attacker is both very skilled and determined to cause harm, a more definitive and concluding solution may be required, anything from a joint-lock to death. The more sophisticated and violent an assault, the more ...

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Keywords: shaolin monk, shaolin monk fight, shaolin monk training, shaolin

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