Shaolin Temple Essay, Research Paper


We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!

order now

Background of Shaolin


The Shaolin Temples served a great function in Chinese History. They were non merely simple temples for monastics to remain in and do spiritual patterns, they were temples of soldierly humanistic disciplines ; temples where every twenty-four hours is a new preparation. Not merely were the temples involved in soldierly humanistic disciplines, they one time played a large function in political motions excessively. The Shaolin Temple went through many alterations throughout the coevalss. In the followers, one will be able to understand how Shaolin temples have evolved during the past thousand old ages and be introduced to the many different sorts of soldierly art signifiers practiced even today in the modern universe.


If the fables of Shaolin were really accepted as true fact, so one would hold to believe that the best soldierly art in China originated in one little topographic point over a period of 10 old ages! Furthermore, one would hold to accept that all these signifiers of contending originated from one individual Indian Buddhist monastic! Though a fable is a fable and shouldn T be taken as truth, this is one unbelievable fable!

Harmonizing to unwritten myths and fables passed down throughout coevalss, an Indian Buddhist monastic arrived to China in approximately A.D. 520.1 This monastic was P u-ti-ta-mo or frequently known as Ta Mo ( Bodiharma ) . He settled at the original Shaolin Temple located at Sung Shan in Honan state. It was said that Ta Mo was the First Patriarch to his type of Buddhism known today as Cha an ( Zen ) . There at the Temple, he taught the constructs of Zen every bit good as accomplishments of temple boxing.2

Meditation was Ta Mo s chief instruction. He spent nine old ages chew overing while sitting in forepart of a wall. Interesting plenty, during this clip his legs withered off due to miss of usage! Ta Mo became really disturbed when he found out that the monastics at Shaolin frequently fell asleep during their speculations. Because of this, he designed particular exercisings to increase their staying power to keep fatigue. In the I-Chin Ching ( Muscle-Change Classic ) , a work that is attributed to Ta Mo, we can happen 18 basic exercisings for the intent of bettering one s general wellness. These exercisings are believed by some people to be the footing of shaolin, the class of hand-to-hand soldierly humanistic disciplines named after the temple at which Ta Mo meditated.


Small is known about the history of the Shaolin Temple. Most that had been said by bookmans has non been confirmed. There are many fluctuations of how the Shaolin came to be. Even today, there is no certainty about how everything all started and the ways the Temple had effected the Chinese society.

The first Shaolin ( Little Forest ) Temple was located at the pes of China s mountain scope, the Sung Shan which is in Honan state. The temple was built by Emperor Hsiao Wen of the Northern Wei dynasty ( 386-534 AD ) .3 Built around the same clip as the Honan Temple, a temple called the Fukien Temple was integrated into mainstream Shaolin around 650 AD and became the & # 8221 ; Second Temple & # 8221 ; of Shaolin.4 It was a much larger temple than the Honan temple and served as a 2nd chief temple when the one in Honan was occupied or damaged. The 3rd Shaolin temple was integrated into Shaolin around 800 AD. It was an old temple named Wutang Tiger Temple located near Manchuria and the Korean Peninsular.5 Later, during the Ming dynasty ( 1368 AD-1644 AD ) , the O Mei Shan ( Great White Mountain ) Temple was added to Shaolin. It became a library and medical temple.6

By the 7th century the temples had greatly expanded to include land and edifice lodgings for about 1,500 monastics. Five hundred of the monastics were monk-soldiers trained at the temple by the petition of Emperor Tai Sung. On a rock tablet still in being, the narrative of how 13 monastics were sent into conflict to assist the Emperor when he was in danger was recorded.7 The monastics did such a great occupation that the Emperor asked them to stay at the tribunal afterwards. Alternatively they wanted to return back to the temple and promised to return when of all time the Emperor needed them. From so on, the Temple trained monk-soldiers.

In 1674, 128 monastics led by a monastic named Heng Kwan Tat were sent to assist Emperor Ching as soldiers.8 Again they were a great aid and once more, they rejected the wagess the Emperor offered and returned back to the temple. Afraid that the Shaolin monastics would turn against him, Emperor Ching s generals advised him to take charge. Large sums of Ching loyal military personnels, armed with cannons surrounded the Honan Shaolin Temple and absolutely destroyed it.9 Many monastics died. Ones who escaped either fled to other monasteries, continued populating nearby, returned to the Temple at dark to pattern their humanistic disciplines or went roving, learning soldierly humanistic disciplines. Shaolin monastics were now outlawed. They had to travel into concealment and could no longer be monastics openly.

Towards the start of 1800, the Shaolin Temples were reopened and included the 5th Shaolin Temple Kwantung ( located around 200 kilometers s sou’-west of Fukien ) .10 The swayers were still in fright of the Fighthing Shaolin Monk, and hence merely allowed the monastics to be used as spiritual intents and non soldierly humanistic disciplines. The Shaolin Temple easy healed as clip went on.

As history has pointed out, Shaolin Temples are non merely spiritual temples, they are celebrated for their soldierly humanistic disciplines. Even the Emperors from the past asked them for aid during political conflicts. There were other brushs of the combustion of the temples where encroachers from outside China attacked Shaolin doing many amendss. But by far, the most amendss were caused during Emperor Ching s reign.

Styles/Forms of Shaolin

Nothern and Southern Shaolin Systems

There are two manners of Shaolin. One is the Northern Foot and Southern Fist developed in Northern and Southern districts. Northern Shaolin is believed to hold originated at the Honan Shaolin Temple, while the Southern Shaolin is believed to hold come from the Fukien Shaolin. Both Northern and Southern manners make usage of five interesting animate being signifiers: firedrake, serpent, Crane, tiger and leopard. Both Manners have their ain singularity. The Northern manner focuses more on long scope, high kicking techniques, flexibleness, jumping and mobility. Soft motions and power are normally taught foremost so harder external techniques are introduced subsequently. And eventually there would be a mixture of difficult and soft. Southern manners emphasize manus techniques, short clouts and fighting-methods. It is the antonym of Northern manner. The monastics learn the difficult techniques foremost, and easy introduced afterwards.11

How can the two manners be so different when they are both apart of Shaolin? The reply lies in their geographical beginnings. Enemies in the North were frequently mounted equestrians from cragged and wooden terrain. The Northern manners apply frequent, rapid alterations of way to interrupt down the opposition s defences. That is why high-flying boots were used more frequently than the level Southern fields. Northern styles include Tai Chi Ch uan, Pa Kua, Hsing I, Praying Mantis, Monkey Style and Eagle Claw. The Southern Manners were normally named after household names ( Gar=Family ) and include: Hung Gar, Lau Gar, Mok Gar, Choy Gar and Li Gar. Other stlyes evolved from both Northern and Southern manners, theses manners include: Choy Li Fut, White Crane and Wing Chun.

Northern Styles

Chang Ch uan ( Long Fist ) – Features of Long Fist are crying arm motions, broad deep stances and high boots. It is known as the female parent system from which other kung fu evolved. Choy Li Fut and Praying Mantis both have the influence of Long Fist. This signifier was founded during the Sung Dynasty ( AD 960-97 ) . During this clip Masterss set up soldierly humanistic disciplines school in each small towns of China. Every school taught the Lon

g Fist method. Different small towns developed assortments or fortes. These manners evolved to supply peasant husbandmans a signifier of good exercising every bit good as to supply a good system of self-defence. Today Long Fist is still practiced as the footing of the modern twenty-four hours Wu Shu.

Tai Chi Ch uan- This manner is a signifier of traveling yoga. There are five manners with the Taoist philosophical nucleus represented by the Ying Yang symbol in common. There are several versions of the manner s beginning. One version was devised by a Taoist priest, Jang San Feng during early Yuan Dynasty ( AD 1206-1333 ) . He learned his soldierly humanistic disciplines accomplishment from Shaolin Temple and was concerned that the preparation relied on heavy external respiration and gross physical strength. One twenty-four hours as he was sitting in forepart of his window he saw a serpent contending with a bird. He noticed they sometimes use soft motions and sometimes difficult motions with steady, light take a breathing. From that observation he developed Tai Chi Ch uan. From a Chinese film called Zhang San Feng a different version was told. Jang San Feng somehow turned into a huffy adult male. He was playing with a ball outside one twenty-four hours and was really fascinated with the manner the ball bounced with so small energy. He kept throwing and resiling the ball and strike harding people out. One twenty-four hours he fell and knocked himself out. That made him regained consciousness and got better, he started analyzing the manner gravitation plants and subsequently developed the Tai Chi Ch uan.

Pa Kua- The name of this manner means eight waies. It is based on a system of uninterrupted round gesture. Training involves: walking in circles, establishing onslaughts, whirling into other circles and looking from being cyclonal to drunken. Pa Kua is rather a recent development founded at the terminal of the Ching Dynasty ( AD 1644-1911 )

by the Chinese Boxer, Hai Chuan Tung. Weapons are a feature portion of Pa Kua preparation ( the lance, broadsword, staff and dual edged blade ) .

Hsing I-Is one of the oldest and most sophisticated kung fu systems. Hsing I means form of head. It was formed at the beginning of the Ching Dynasty by Chi Chi Ki in the state of Shansi. The system consists of signifiers picturing fire, H2O, wood, metal and Earth. A major constituent of the system are the 12 animate being signifiers: bird of Jove, bear, firedrake, serpent, sup, Tai bird, monkey, tiger, Equus caballus, poulet, falcon and lizard. Hsing I does non copy the motions of the animate beings but aims to set the liquors of each animate beings into each of the techniques.

Eagle Claw- Is based on extended cognition of force per unit area points. Students are trained to turn up and assail all of these force per unit area points in a sum of 108 force per unit area points. Ninety-six of these points are Dim Mak ( critical ) that consequences in the opposition s being crippled or killed. Seventy-two of the points are non Dim Mak points and can neutralize most aggressive purposes. The Eagle Claw is non a widely taught system due to the unsafe cognition involved.

Monkey Style-The five basic signifiers are drunken monkey ( really cute and amusing to watch ) , rock monkey, lost monkey, wooden monkey and standing monkey. The kernel of being a monkey combatant is larning how to believe and move like a monkey. Features of a good monkey combatant are that he/she is sly and slippery ; toxicant to opponent, like a toxicant serpent ; able to bluff to it s opposition ; able to destruct oppositions onslaughts ; and most of import of all, unpredictable when contending. An interesting narrative is that the bibulous monkey manner was originated because prison guards used to give monkeys wine and watch them for amusement. This manner is possibly the hardest to larn.

Praying Mantis- This signifier was said to be devised by maestro Wong Long in East Shan Tung. It is based on long surveies of insect s contending techniques and the chief arm in this signifier is the mantid claw. The system was developed during the Ming dynasty ( AD 1368-1644 ) when general degree of kung fu was considered lower due to Mongol masters occupying China and forbiding the pattern of soldierly humanistic disciplines.

Southern Manners

Choy Li Fut- Chan Heung founded this manner from instructions of the Shaolin Temple in 1836. It was an independent manner influenced by a monastic named Choy Fook. Fut in Chinese means Buddha recgonizing the manner s roots at Shaolin. In the modern universe, Choy Li Fut is the most popular kung fu system among Asiatic soldierly creative persons. It contains a immense assortment of manus signifiers and arms. The empty manus signifiers contain anything from 100-300 moves. There are over 100 external and internal signifiers for pupils to larn. There are more arms in Choy Li Fut than in any other system. The arms are grouped harmonizing to four classs: long, abruptly, soft, and hard. The chief construct of Choy Li Fut is to utilize the organic structure as a dart. Choy Li Fut besides has series of carnal signifiers: leopard, firedrake, tiger, serpent, and Crane.

Flying Chun-Is of the best known signifiers in the West and it was the system Bruce Lee foremost learned. Flying Chun is named after Yim Wing Chun, the adult female who founded it. The Wing Chun system is based on the theory that the shortest distance between two points is a consecutive line and so dispenses with many of the fluxing round signifiers found in other manners. A Wing Chung combatant draws an fanciful line down the centre of their organic structure as an axis around blocks and work stoppages performed. There are two arms sets utilizing the long pole and butterfly knife.

Hung Gar-Hung Gar emphasizes in power and internal strength. The system consists of stableness, strong deep stances and the development of powerful striking techniques peculiarly with the custodies. It was founded by Hung Hei Gune, who learned from a Shaolin Monk named Gee Shimn Sien See. Hung Gar is good known for its tiger fork set ( a long handled trident ) . They besides have typical butterfly sets called Jemaah Islamiyah mom do and individual staff set, ng long chiropteran Kwa quen.

White Eyebrow Kung Fu- This is a short center manus system. The purpose is to develop and be able to let go of power when combat. Its laminitis is Bak Me who was originally a Taoist priest and radical. The White Eyebrow advocate ne’er onslaughts foremost, they wait for oppositions to strike foremost so that weak points go evident. This signifier system comprises some eight manus signifiers and basic arms such as the butterfly knives, spear, staff, double-edged blades, concatenation whips and tridents.

Tibetan White Crane- White Crane is non Chinese but really originated from Tibet. It is a long arm manner. Practitioners keep their armsout-stretched like the wings of a bird winging. The arm swings are like a ball and concatenation. There are four basic tantrums in white Crane: Pow, Chuin, Kup, and Chow. Unlike the kicking techniques of other manners, White Crane kicking techniques are really intended for existent combat. The boots are delivered at great velocity and weaponries used for equilibrating and presenting combinations of onslaughts.

Shaolin Today

Over the many old ages, Shaolin temples have evolved from spiritual temples to soldierly humanistic disciplines establishments to political soldiers and back to the soldierly humanistic disciplines schools. Soldierly creative persons today from all over the universe travel to Shaolin to analyze the traditional Chinese soldierly humanistic disciplines. The Shaolin Temples have besides become a tourist attractive force. Every twenty-four hours tourists gather in a circle at Shaolin to bask the kung fu presentations by Shaolin monastics. Shaolin Kung Fu no longer remains inside the temple but is widely spread throughout the universe. The original signifiers of kung fu have evolved to include intriguing new manners. Shaolin Temples are even sites scenes for films to take topographic point. Shaolin group even travels around the universe to make public presentations. In summer of 1997, they were even here in Vancouver at the PNE. It was a dramatic public presentation. Although Shaolin have been through many tough times, today it is good known around the universe and is still standing strong and bold in China.

Written by

I'm Colleen!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out