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The Shaolin Temple

The Shaolin Temple,located at the foot of the Shaoshi mount,surrounded by the Song Mountains,it is about 10 kilometres northwest to Dengfeng city,Henan province.The name of”Shaolin” just means “the Shaoshi mountain‘s woods”.From its location and history,it’s really an ancient temple hidden in the remote mountain far away from madding.

During the time of Beiwei Dynasty ,Buddhabhadra came from india to Luoyang ,began to translate Buddhist scriptures and preaching doctrines to hundreds of his follower,the Emperor Xiaowen at that time was a devout buddhist , he supported Buddhabhadra to build a new temple on the distant and quiet Mountain Song not far from the capital luoyang,that is just the Shaolin Temple ,and Buddhabhadra turned into the first Abbot of Shaolin Temple.In 30 years ,another indian hierarch Bodhidharma arrived at Shaolin Temple, who was said to cross the Yangtze River on a piece of reed. He spent nine years meditating before the wall in a cave on the top of the Wuru Peak of Song Mountain,his long time perseverance made his own figure and outline embeded in a block of stone deeply, at last,he created the Zen Buddhism which “points directly to one’s soul without words” ,thus you can reach a mysterious state ,insight the true meaning of everything and instantly to be Buddha。 Through the efforts of six Patriarches ,Zen developed an important sect of Buddhism in China, Bodhidharma is regarded as the “Primary Ancestor” and Shaolin Temple as the original place of Zen Buddhism.

The Shaolin Temple is not only the original place of Zen Buddhism,but also that of the Shaolin Kongfu well-known by the world. Shaolin Kungfu was formed in the particular supernatural Buddhist cultural environment in Shaolin Temple of Songshan Mountain over long history. The soul of its idea is rooted in the belief and wisdom of Zen Buddhism. which makes Shaolin Kongfu more unconquerable.

The Shaolin Kongfu contains 708 kinds of skills ,of which there are 72 sets of unique skills and special techniques such as qigong, qinggong,hard work ,boxing,cudgle,grappling, wrestling, attacking a vital point of the body etc. These skills and techniques constitutes a huge and tight system including several units according to various categories and degree of difficulty. It stresses “Unity of Zen and Power” , so even if it can be very vigorous and powerful ,but not to intend to hurt others,mainly to make body more healthy and strong, or defense first.

The wisdom of Zen Buddhism has imparted profound cultural connotations to Shaolin Kungfu. The aspiration for supernatural power and supreme wisdom has always been the goals pursued by Buddhists. This is just the key that Shaolin Kongfu is different from other kinds .

The Zen Buddhism and Shaolin Kongfu are the two pearls in the Chinese cultural and historical treasures house.Besides this, around and in the scenic site, there are about 2000 pieces of tablet inscription left by famous calligraphers like Yan Zhenqing,Su Dongpo,Huang Ting jian and Mi Fu ,and there is a large number of showplaces and relics such as Zhongyue Temple,nicknamed“the Little Palace”,the FawangTemple and the Huishan Temple,the oldest temples extant in China,two well-preserved astronomical observatories extant in China,the Han Dynasty Three Gate Tower etc.

Nearby the Shaolin Temple Monastery,was dotted several scenic spots related with it:
the Mandew Platform:It was said that when Buddhabhadra was translating the Buddhist scriptures with other two hierarches,Honey mandew fell from the sky magically above the Wuru Peak, all those present cheered for it.so got the name.
the Ancestor’s Convent : located at the foot of the Wuru Peak,built in the Song dynasty to memory Bodhidharma meditating .
the second Ancestor’s Convent:located on the peak of Shaoshi Mount,also built in Song Dynasty to memory the second Ancestor of Zen Buddhism Huike
Pagodas Forest :located in the west of scenic site,in fact is the tombs of past dynasties’ hierarchs, consists of about 250 pagodas altogether。

The Shaolin Temple Monastery is the soul and center of whole scenic relics,covers the area of 57600 square meters .There are seven great hall in it:
1,The Gate Hall,hung on its top is a tablet with “Shaolin Temple” written by the Emperor Kangxi(1622一1723)during the Qing Dynasty,so it is very precious.
2,the ​Hall of Heavenly Kings,there are statues of four Budhisattva who protect Buddha,the law etc.
3,the Hall of Mahavira ,is the central structure of the temple,the place for monks to perform Buddhism ceremonies.On both sides in front of it, stand the Bell Tower and the Drum Tower .
4,the Sutra Pavilion : the place deposit Buddhist texts.
5,the Hall of Abbot:the place the Abbot rest and work.
6,the Dharma’s Pavilion or Lixue Pavilion,”Lixue”means“Standing in the snow”,it was said that a Buddhist named Jiguang was devout to be BoddhiDharma‘s disciple. on a snowy night, he stood in the knee-high snow ,pleading for Bodhidharma’s acception, Bodhidharma was moved deeply by his action and accept him as his disciple and gave him a Buddhist name of Huike. Later ,Huike become the secend founder of the Zen Budfhism.
7,the Hall of Thousand Buddha ,is the largest hall and the place Buddhist practice Kongfu, there are many impressive footprints can be seen deep into the floor left by the practicer.

The Shaolin Temple has been honoured as”The First Ancient Temple Under Heaven “,This is an area plenty of impressive natural , historical ,and cultural places of interest gather together, Buddhist hierarches,top man of the day,poets and calligrapher flocked here, left not only their footprints ,but also their valuable ideas and wisdom.Of which,Zen Buddhism and Shaolin Kongfu are two priceless pears of this traditional historical and cultural treasures house ,they were born in Shaolin area, but give out light all over the world ,so they belong to Shaolin,also belong to the world,and here are more mysterious pearls waiting for you to be discovered .Come along ,please!

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