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Daman Hongren – The Fourth Patriarch of Ch'an  (4/24/2019)

Daman Hongren (Traditional Chinese: 大滿弘忍; Hànyǔ Pīnyīn: Dàmǎn Hóngrěn; Wade-Giles: Ta-man Hung-jen) is the Fifth Patriarch of Chinese Ch'an after Bodhidharma and the immediate successor of Dayi Daoxin, the Fourth Patriarch of Ch'an. He lived from 601-674. He stepped into the shoes of his master Daoxin and brought his master's work of creating a Ch'an monastic community to fruition. Read More

Dayi Daoxin – The Fourth Patriarch of Ch'an  (3/31/2019)

Dayi Daoxin (Traditional Chinese: 道信, pinyin: Dàoxìn; Wade–Giles: Ta-i Tao-hsin; 580-651) was the Fourth Patriarch of Chinese Ch'an after Bodhidharma.

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Daoxin was born at or near present Huai-ning, Anhui Province, north of the Yellow River His surname was Si-ma. His life spanned the Sui and early Tang dynasties, which promoted religious freedom unlike the preceding Northern Zhou dynasty. He began studying Buddhism at age seven. Though his first teacher was himself morally bankrupt, Daoxin maintained his own Buddhist morality and integrity. Read More

Jianzhi Sengcan – The Third Patriarch of Ch'an  (2/26/2019)

Jianzhi Sengcan (Traditional Chinese: 鑑智僧璨; Hànyǔ Pīnyīn: Jiànzhì Sēngcàn; Wade–Giles: Chien-chih Seng-ts'an; 496?-606) is known as the Third Patriarch of Chinese Ch'an after Bodhidharma and thirtieth Patriarch after Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha.

The historical records of Sengcan are limited. The year and place of Sengcan's birth is unknown as well as his family surname. Of all the Chinese patriarchs, Sengcan is the least known.

Some sources say that Sengcan was over forty years old when he met Dazu Huike, the Second Patriarch of Ch'an, in 536. He studied with Huike for six years, who named him Sengcan ("Gem Monk"). Read More

Dazu Huike – The Second Patriarch of Ch'an  (1/27/2019)

Dazu Huike (487–593; Chinese: 大祖慧可; pinyin: Dàzǔ Huìkě; Wade–Giles: Ta-tsu Hui-k'o) is regarded as the Second Patriarch of Chinese Ch'an after Bodhidharma and the twenty-ninth since Gautama Buddha.

Like with many of the early Chinese patriarchs, little information is available about Huike's life.

According to the Further Biographies of Eminent Monks (645) by Tao-hsuan (?-667), Huike was born in Hu-lao (Sishui, present day Xingyang, Henan). His secular name was Shénguāng (Traditional Chinese: 神光; pinyin: Shen-kuang). Though he was a scholar of the three teachings of Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism and regarded as an enlightened being, Shénguāng was criticized for not having a teacher.

Shénguāng met his teacher Bodhidharma at the Shaolin Temple in 528 when he was about forty years old. He studied with Bodhidharma for about 6 years (other sources state four years, five years, or nine years). Shénguāng gradually turned away from the life of a scholar and intellectualism toward pure experience.

In other traditions, Huike was a famous general who had killed many people in battle. One day, though, he realized that the people he had slain had family and friends who might one day kill him in retribution. Shénguāng decided to ordain as a Buddhist monk and he became a great speaker on Buddhism. Read More

Early History of the Shaolin Temple  (12/30/2018)

The Shaolin Temple (Traditional Chinese: 少林寺; pinyin: Shàolín sì), also called the Shaolin Monastery and the Songshan Shaolin Temple, is a Ch'an (Chinese Zen) Buddhist temple in the county-level city of Dengfeng (Chinese: 登封; pinyin: Dēngfēng), which in ancient times was called Yangcheng (simplified Chinese: 阳城; traditional Chinese: 陽城; pinyin: Yángchéng). The Shaolin Temple and Dengfeng are in turn located in the province of Henan (河南; formerly romanized as Honan) in the central region of China. Henan, not to be confused with the independent province of Hunan, is the cradle of Chinese civilization with over 3,000 years of recorded history and was China's cultural, political, and economic hub until about 1,000 years ago. Founded during the Western 5th century AD, the Shaolin Temple is the primary temple of Shaolin Buddhism. Read More

Indian Influence on Yue Chia  (12/1/2018)

The dhyāna master Bodhidharma, who transmitted Ch'an Buddhism to China and was China's first Buddhist patriarch, also began the physical training of the Shaolin monks and nuns. This physical training led to the formation of Shaolin martial arts or Shaolin quan (少林拳; Shàolín quán), including the Northern Shaolin style of Yue Chia or Yuejiaquan (岳家拳, literally Yue Family Fist, alternately Yue Ch'uan). This style of Yue Chia developed from the first Shaolin temple founded by Buddhabhadra in Henan province during the 5th century AD, distinct from the style created by Yue Fei, a Song dynasty (Chinese: 宋朝; pinyin: Sòng cháo; 960–1279) era general. Read More

Dhyāna – The 7th Limb of Yoga  (10/28/2018)

When one feels relaxed and carefree, when the body is free of tension and the mind is calm, more space opens within oneself.

This is the perfect place to continue into meditation, or dhyāna. Read More

Bodhidharma – The First Patriarch of Ch'an Buddhism  (9/18/2018)

Bodhidharma, "Self-Nature of Awareness," (Sanskrit: बोधिधर्म; Traditional Chinese: 達摩; pinyin: Pútídámó) was a Buddhist monk who lived during the 5th or 6th century AD. In China, he is known as Damo or Putidamo. In Japan, he is called Daruma. Bodhidharma was one of many Buddhist missionaries who journeyed from the Western Regions of India and Central Asia to China. Bodhidharma is considered to be the transmitter of Ch'an Buddhism to China. He is the 28th Indian patriarch in a direct line of transmission from Buddha via his disciple Mahākāśyapa, Buddha's successor after his death, and the first patriarch of China. He also began the meditative and physical training of the monks and nuns of the Shaolin Temple that led to the formation of Shaolin martial arts. Said to have a fierce countenance and piercing eyes, Bodhidharma was not an ordinary monk. Read More

Buddhabhadra – The First Shaolin Abbot  (8/26/2018)

Before Bodhidharma arrived in China, the dhyāna master Buddhabhadra (Traditional Chinese: 佛陀跋陀罗; pinyin Fótuóbátuóluó), simply called Batuo (Traditional Chinese: 吠陀; pinyin: Bátuó) by the Chinese, was the first abbot of Shaolin Temple. Read More

Three Teachings  (7/29/2018)

As far back as the 6th century AD, Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism were merged into a harmonious conglomerate in Chinese thought called the three teachings (Traditional Chinese: 三教; San Jiao). Read More

Grand Master Chang San-Feng  (6/30/2018)

Chang San-Feng (Traditional Chinese: 張三丰; Zhang Sanfeng) is shrouded in legend as an immortal mythical hero and a monk-warrior-martial artist endowed with magical powers. Various traditions differ on his birthdate, birthplace, and death date. One tradition holds that he was born at midnight on April 9, 1247 near Dragon-Tiger mountain, or Mount Longhu (Traditional Chinese: 龙虎山; Lónghŭ Shān), in Kiang-Hsi Province in southeastern China. He purportedly lived for over 200-300 years during the Southern Song and Yuan dynasties up to the mid-Ming dynasty. Read More

Film Review: "Shaolin"  (5/26/2018)

A greedy, power-hungry warlord finds peace and redemption in the Shaolin Temple.

Released in the United States on September 9, 2011, the film “Shaolin” opens on feuding warlords seeking to carve up China among themselves in the 1920s during the early days of the country’s Republican era. The compassionate and noble monks of the Shaolin Temple struggle to care for and protect the common people, who are caught up in the chaos. Read More

Foundation of the Southern Shaolin Temples  (4/22/2018)

Excavations in Southern China during the late 20th century uncovered three possible Southern Shaolin temples: one on Jiulianshan (九蓮山; Jiulian Mountain) near Putian village (莆田) in Fujian (福建) Province; the second near Fuqing (芙卿), a county-level city of Fuzhou Prefecture in Fujian Province; and the third called Zhenguo Dong Chan Shaolin Temple or Zhenguo Eastern Dhyana Shaolin Monastery (鎮國東禪少林寺) at the foot of the Qingyuan Shan (清源山; Mount Qingyuan) near Quanzhou (泉州 ), formerly known as Chinchew, a prefecture-level city located by the Taiwan Strait in Fujian Province. The third temple is now commonly called Dongchan Shaolin. Read More

Ng Mui: Shaolin Nun and Heroine of China  (3/17/2018)

Ancient Chinese history tells the tales of several women across the millennia who defied the traditional concept of male warriors in ancient warfare and helped mold the course of China’s history. They included slaves, prostitutes, princesses, and Shaolin nuns.

One such heroine is Ng Mui (Chinese Traditional: 五枚; Cantonese: Ng Mui; Mandarin: Wú Méi). Read More

Shaolin Monks Versus Pirates  (2/17/2018)

The lives of Shaolin Buddhist monks and nuns are normally marked by peaceful simplicity, contemplation, and meditation. The Ming dynasty (Chinese: 明朝; pinyin: Míng Cháo) ruled China from 1368 to 1644. During its later years, China was beset by numerous problems. China faced corruption and civil war within, attacks by Mongols in the north and by Turks in the west, and raids by pirates along China's eastern and southeastern coastline. The pirates were mockingly called wokou (倭寇; "Japanese Pirates" or "Dwarf Bandits") by the Chinese. The pirates did include masterless Japanese ronin, who wielded long sabers called nodachi that they used to great effect. The pirates also included some Portugese and other assorted brigands, but were mostly made up of disenfranchised Chinese (fishermen, peasants, and adventurers), who ransacked the coast of China for over 100 years. Pirate raids grew to a massive scale during the 1540s and 1550s. The wokou fielded vast armies of up to over 10,000 men that raided coastal areas and even ventured deeply inland on occasion. Warrior-monks were called upon by Ming authorities to face this pirate menace. Read More

The 13 Shaolin Cudgel Monks and the Tang Dynasty  (1/8/2018)

The monks and nuns of the Shaolin Temple acted primarily to practice Ch'an Buddhism and foster spirituality and harmony within Chinese society. Over the course of China's history, though, times of strife erupted that caused the Shaolin monks and nuns to periodically take on the role of peacemakers to protect the Temple and restore harmony to society. Read More

Shaolin Abbot Xueting Fuyu  (12/12/2017)

Fuyu (1203-1275; Traditional Chinese Kan-chih Calendar 3899 to 3900 - 3971 to 3972), also named Xueting (Chin.: Xuětíng Fúyù 雪庭福裕), was a renowned Ch’an master of the Caodong Sect during the early years of the Yuan (Mongol) Dynasty (1206-1368; Traditional Chinese Kan-chih Calendar 3902 to 3903 – 4064 to 4065). The Caodong Sect was one of the five schools of Ch’an (Chinese Zen) that developed after the end of Bodhidharma’s lineage. Fuyu was the first abbot of a new lineage of monks and nuns that emerged at the Shaolin Temple. Read More

Ch'an Masters of Ancient China  (11/12/2017)

Bodhidharma is credited with transmitting Gautama Buddha's principles on sudden illumination from India to China about 530 AD. Hui-neng, the sixth and last patriarch of Ch'an Buddhism, identified Bodhidharma as the twenty-eighth patriarch to the transmission of the dharma (the teachings of Buddha) and the first patriarch in China. Read More

Meditation For Peace  (10/9/2017)

The meditation, or dhyāna, methods taught by Bodhidharma, the founder of the Shaolin Tradition, are universal to all spiritual disciplines. The mechanics of the human mind and the attainment of spiritual realization is the same for all people, so the methods are the same. Read More

Are You a Closet Martial Arts Fan? Then It’s Time To Come Out!  (6/17/2016)

There are many men and women out there who are true fans of martial arts such as Shaolin Kung Fu but have never gotten an opportunity to let it be a major part of their lives. The first obstacle would be finding a place where they can go and practice authentic Martial Arts. The next obstacle would be to find a teacher who not just teaches them but also guides them so that Kung Fu becomes a part of their lives. Read More

A Brief History Of Kung Fu  (4/29/2016)

The term Kung Fu is an umbrella term for several hundreds of martial art styles that developed in China over the last 1500 years. Martial arts in China, Japan, Korea, and the island of Okinawa have been influenced by the monks and nuns of the Shaolin Temple. Read More

The Five Kung Fu Animal Styles – Exploring The Mystery   (3/29/2016)

Nature has always inspired human life. Whether learning how to hunt and find food or picking up on survival tactics in the wilderness, human beings have gained much knowledge by observing and following the animal kingdom. This influence is most prominently visible with Shaolin Martial Arts. Read More

Women and Chinese Martial Arts   (2/27/2016)

An interesting and obscure aspect of Chinese Martial Arts in the West is the contribution of women to its evolution and development. Though a mostly male pursuit, highly skilled female martial artists have emerged over the years as well. Their involvement demonstrates the fact that the practice and use of traditional Chinese Martial Arts depends on mind, will, spirit, and skill rather than on brute physical strength. Read More

High Quality Training In Martial Arts Is Not Just A Choice But A Necessity Today   (2/1/2016)

Learning Martial Arts is both a necessity for those seeking self-defense training and a subject of interest for those interested in its history and philosophy. Those interested need to ensure that they learn Martial Arts in Detroit only from the best people. If one is ever in a dangerous situation, one would not want to rely on half-baked lessons or instructions from someone who does not have expertise or complete knowledge about Kung Fu.

Martial Arts and Kung Fu are actually much more than just kicks and punches. Read More

Shaolin Martial Arts – The Key to Healthy Living and Self-defense (12/24/2015)

One of the major concerns that people have, especially with regard to women, is about their security.

Keeping in mind the hike in the number of assaults and rapes that occur both locally and nationally, it has become imperative for women to take self-defense classes.

At such a time Detroit Kung Fu can be the perfect answer for women. Unknown to many Americans, China has a long tradition of accomplished female martial arts masters. Read More

Shaolin – Living History (9/27/2015)

Kung fu or Gung fu is a Chinese term alluding to any learning, practice, or study that requires time, patience, and energy to complete. In the West, kung fu is used to refer to Chinese martial arts.

In China, the oldest and most prestigious institutionalized martial art is Shaolin kung fu. The origins of this martial arts style can be traced to the first Buddhist Shaolin temple in China’s Henan province. The Shaolin temple of Henan province was built in 495 AD. The temple was built for a Buddhist master named Buddhabhadra, who preached Nikaya Buddhism.

He hailed from either India or Greco-Buddhist Central Asia. Buddhabhadra was the first abbot of the Shaolin Temple. Read More

 

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