The Shaolin temple

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October 30th 2015
Published: January 16th 2017
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Another ancient and exciting place I encountered on my unforgettable and long trip in China.

I arrived in the historical city of Luoyang at night, as it often happen when travelling long distances.

Even though it was dark I could not miss the splendid entrance of my place that I found there called properly: 红门.

A beautiful and old red door that led to this place where I stayed for a few days.

My reason for being here was mainly for the famous and ancient Shaolin temple.

I caught a bus to get there and took about three hours one way to arrive there.

I was really exciting to be in the place where more than 1400 years ago the Zen buddhism and this mortal art of the Kung fu were born.

But, as it happened in different places I visited in China, I was disappointed to see that a good part of the place was in ruins and the Kung fu in the temple is no more practised.

There are only kids playing and practising this art nowadays and it became a turistic place where there is just crowds of tourist and some stands sellingthe same souvenirs that you find everywhere.

It lost a lot of its fashion the Shaolin Temple, now where, I was told, a movie of Martial arts from a company of Hong Kong was set here, and from then on seeing the great success that the movie had had many joung people tried to reach this place in any single way from allover China.

I started to talk with a monk and there was a guy translating to me what he said.

This art was born by observing the movement of the animals, how they fought and in particular between a bird and a snake with the snake dodging the attacks of the bird.

Since that the monks were victims of bandits and thieves and those exercises became soon a self defence practice imitating the movements of the animals.

Combining these two arts: Zen buddhism and Kungfu to achieve the harmony whithin oneself.

"Hands are the doors that keep the enemy away and the feet are to beat him.

The training was all but easy and the novices had to train all the parts of their body and they had to spend a good part of the day by meditating and also to study the buddhist scriptures of the Sutra.

The combination of the mental and physical exercise could give to the monks of the Shaolin incredible ability and running along the walls with great agility and breaking the door with a kick.

The stick was the symbol of the Kung fu and it is used today to practice this art.

After the communist took over on the politics the Kung fu and the shaolin lost their fashion they used to have in the past.

A good part of this area was destroyed by the communist in their objective to get rid of the ancient traditions and culture to modernize the coountry.

But I appreciate that after such a long time there are still people that think to these two traditions and still practise them like in the past when 1400 years ago a prince from India named Da Mo came to China with his disciples to spread the Zen buddhism allover Asia.

Additional photos below
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19th January 2017

Shaolin Si
I visited Luoyang to see the Longmen Grottoes but also visited the "6 Star" Tourist site at Shaolin Si, which had that rare and highest rating in China. Is it still so rated? I have the Jet Li video at home which I presume is the film you refer to. I hope they still have the Kung fu show even if just for tourists. Having been brought up believing I am Grasshopper, I am saddened to hear of your report of Shaolin Si's decline.
19th January 2017

Shaolin Si
Yes Dave, unfortunately like most historical places in China are declining with the passing years. But I still like to look at that as a place of great holiness and importance,I think places like this one never die and I am very happy to have come to admire this remarkable sight...

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