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Shaolin Temple

Location:Shongsan,Dengfeng City,Henan Province;
Opening time:08:00 - 17:00, daily;
Tel:86-10-6351-8284;
Best time for visit: all year long
Recommended time for a visit:3 hours
Open: 08:00 - 17:00, daily. Tickets:RMB100.
Website:www.shaolin-temple.com

How to Get There

1) Take a Taxi.
2) Take Tourist Bus at bus station.

Introduction

If you are having a Luoyang package tour,our Luoyang travel guide introduce the Shaolin Temple to you,which is one of the Lhasa tourist attractions,thus adding color to your Luoyang China tour.
Shaolin Temple is a Chan Buddhist temple at Song Shan, near Zhengzhou City, Henan Province in Dengfeng, China. It is led by Venerable abbot Shi Yongxin. Founded in the 5th century, the monastery is long famous for its association with Chinese martial arts and particularly with Shaolin Kung Fu, and it is the Mahayana Buddhist monastery perhaps best known to the Western world. The Shaolin Monastery and its famed Pagoda Forest were inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010 as part of the "Historic Monuments of Dengfeng."

Histroy

There is evidence of Shaolin martial arts techniques being exported to Japan in the 18th and 19th centuries. Okinawan Shorin-ryu karate , for example, has a name meaning "Small [Shao]lin".Other similarities can be seen in centuries-old Chinese and Japanese martial arts manuals.
In 1928, the warlord Shi Yousan set fire to the monastery, burning it for over 40 days, destroying a significant percent of the buildings including many manuscripts of the temple library.
The Cultural Revolution launched in 1966 targeted religious orders including the monastery. The five monks who were present at the monastery when the Red Guard attacked were shackled and made to wear placards declaring the crimes charged against them.The monks were jailed after publicly being flogged and paraded through the street as people threw rubbish at them.The government purged Buddhist materials from within the monastery walls, leaving it barren for years.
According to Matthew Polly, a travel writer and martial artist, during the Tang Dynasty, Emperor Taizong granted the Shaolin Temple extra land and special "imperial dispensation" to eat meat, and drink, which would make Shaolin the only temple in China that did not prohibit alcohol, although this practice has ceased today.
Polly's statement is not corroborated in any period documents, such as the Shaolin Stele erected in 728. The stele does not list any such imperial dispensation as reward for the monks' assistance during the campaign against Wang Shichong, only land and a water mill are granted.Historian Meir Shahar is unsure if the popular tale about wine and meat consumption originated after the released of films like Shaolin Temple.
In the past, many have tried to capitalize on Shaolin Monastery fame by building their own schools on Mount Song. However, the Chinese government eventually outlawed this; the schools were moved to the nearby towns. However, as of 2010, the Ta Gou kung fu school, one of the largest kung fu schools in China, owns and practices on land below the Shaolin Temple.
A Dharma gathering was held from August 19 to August 20, 1999, in the Shaolin Monastery for Master Shi Yongxin's assumption of office as abbot. In March 2006 Vladimir Putin, then President of Russia, became the first foreign leader to visit the monastery. In 2007 the Chinese government partially lifted the 300-year ban of the Jieba. The Jieba is the ancient ceremony of the nine marks, which are burned onto the head with sticks of incense. The ban was partially lifted only for those who were mentally and physically prepared to participate in the tradition.

Sightseeing in depth

- Shanmen Hall: First we see the Shanmen Hall. Hung on its top is a tablet reading 'Shaolin Temple'. The tablet was inscribed by the Emperor Kangxi (1622 - 1723) during the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911). Under the stairs of the hall crouches two stone lions made in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The hall enshrines the Maitreya Buddha. Two sides of the corridor behind the hall's gate are paved with inscriptions on stone steles made during several different dynasties.

- the Hall of Heavenly Kings:The gate of the hall is guarded by two figures depicting Vajra (Buddhist warrior attendants). Inside the hall are figures of the Four Heavenly Kings who are responsible for inspecting peoples' behavior, helping the troubled, and blessing the people.

- the Mahavira Hall:The complex's center is right before your eyes. Both important celebrations and regular prayers are held here. 18 Buddhist Arhats stand along the eastern and the southern walls of the hall. Buddhas of the Middle, East and West are enshrined in this hall, respectively Sakyamuni Buddha, Pharmacist Buddha and Amitabha Buddha. Figures of Kingnaro (the founder of Shaolin Cudgel) and Dharma (the founder of Chinese Zen Buddhism) stand beside those three Buddhas, a placement which is very different from other Mahavira Halls. At the feet of the pillars in this Mahavira Hall are stone lions that are more than one meter (about 3.33 feet) high. On the ground there are about 50 small pits, 20 centimeters (about 7.87 inches) deep. It is said that they are the footprints left by monks when they practiced Shaolin Martial Arts.

- Pagoda Forest:the Pagoda Forest, a graveyard for Buddhist dignitaries through the ages. On average, the pagodas are less than 15 meters (about 49 feet) high. The layer and the shape of a pagoda depend on many factors, such as one's Buddhist status, attainment and prestige during his lifetime. The Pagoda Forest in Shaolin Temple is the largest of China's pagoda complexes.

- two monasteries:Outside the temple we continue walking to the northwest, and then we will take a look at two monasteries, named the Ancestor's Monastery and the Second Ancestor's Monastery. The first monastery is built by a Dharma's disciple to commemorate Dharma's nine years of meditation in a cave. It has a big hall supported by 16 stone pillars on whose shafts are exquisitely carved warriors, dancing dragons and phoenixes. The second monastery is a nursing home of the second ancestor Huike who cut his left arm in order to show his sincerity to study Buddhism from Dharma. In front of the monastery are four springs created by Dharma to help Huike to fetch water easily. They are called 'Spring Zhuoxi' and each has its own distinctive flavor.

- the Dharma Cave:In this cave Dharma patiently faced the wall and meditated for 9 years. Finally, he reached the immortal spiritual state and created the Buddhist Zen. The cave is seven meters deep (about 23 feet) and three meters high (about 9.8 feet). Many stone inscriptions are carved on both its sides. There is a Meditating Stone in the cave. It is said Dharma's shadow was reflected upon the stone and embedded on it because of the long time of his meditation facing the wall. Unfortunately the stone was ruined during the war.
After passing the Dharma Cave, we come to the Buddhist Living Quarters for transient monks. It is on the south bank of the Shaoxi River opposite the temple. First built in 1512 of the Ming Dynasty, it was repaired in the Qing Dynasty. The quarters are noted for the simple and distinctive design. It collapsed in 1958 and then repaired in 1993.

Kung Fu Show at Shaolin Temple

The Shaolin Kung Fu Show Theatre is located not far from the main entrance. There are 5 fixed daily performaces at the theatre. The kung fu show lasts half hour including a few minutes' interaction on the part of the visitors and the actors.
Shaolin kung fu is one of the oldest and most respected martial arts in the world. Many Asian martial arts can call Shaolin kung fu their predecessor. The birthplace of Shaolin kung fu, the Shaolin Temple, sits at the base of the Song mountain range in Henan province, China. The Shaolin Temple receives visitors from all over the world interested in viewing the legendary temple and its kung fu.

- History of Kung Fu: Martial arts training at the Songshan Shaolin Temple began as early as the Northern Song dynasty (960-1126 AD), according to Meir Shahar of Tel Aviv University. By the Ming dynasty, the fighting monks of Shaolin had become famous for their exceptional fighting skills and many books had been written about them. Military and political leaders of the day would often visit the Shaolin Temple to witness the Shaolin martial arts and participate in training.

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