Documentation of Secret and Authentic Shaolin Martial Arts
Original Chinese Language Article By: http://www.guanzhongwang.com
(Translated by Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD)
Shaolin Temple martial arts are the product of the realisation of the essence of Ch’an Buddhism, manifested through the physical practice and mastery of many (ancient) different military skills. It is believed that the Shaolin Temple is the birth place of Ch’an Buddhism in China (which originally arrived from India). The Ch’an method (of meditation) reveals the bright and pure Buddha-nature, so that enlightenment is achieved by the practitioner. For the Buddha, his primary method of self-cultivation was that of disciplined, seated meditation. Therefore the Ch’an method is considered the pre-eminent pathway for Buddhist practice, which is combined with a martial arts practice that develops both bravery and courage. Shaolin monks practice seated and moving meditation and this is how they master in-depth qigong exercises and sophisticated martial arts techniques. The mind is ‘stilled’ and cleared of delusion, whilst the exact positioning of the body is perfected through movement. In essence, both ‘stillness’ and ‘movement’ are as ‘one’ and there is no contradiction, with each having an equal ability to realise the Buddha-nature. Martial arts practice also ensures that the minds and bodies of the monks are fit and strong, and that the monks possess self-defence skills. In history, this advanced martial ability has allowed the monks to protect the Shaolin Temple from attack, and to pursue the maintenance of law and order in the local community.
When people speak of Chinese martial arts today, they invariably think of the Shaolin Temple. This is because the martial arts of the Shaolin Temple tradition has become a symbol for the entire field of expertise that is Chinese martial culture. This is because the Shaolin Temple centres its Buddhist and martial traditions around an Indian Bodhisattva referred to as the Kinnara King who wields a Chinese fighting staff. As this combined spiritual symbolism is at the centre of Shaolin practice, it is entirely appropriate that the Shaolin monks practice, master and perfect the arts of meditation and martial self-cultivation. Nowadays the entire world is aware of the Shaolin Temple and its Buddhist and martial traditions. This exposure has led to the traditions of the Shaolin Temple being declared a ‘Representation of Human Oral History and Spiritual Culture Relevant to Humanity’. It has also been decided that the Shaolin martial system should be referred to as ‘gongfu’ rather than ‘wushu’, because the term ‘gongfu’ suggests an arduous method used entirely for self-cultivation, whereas ‘wushu’ (i.e. ‘martial arts’) can sometimes be used (in the Chinese language) to refer to military activity and the destruction associated with warfare (which the peaceful Ch’an Buddhist teachings of the Shaolin Temple thoroughly reject). The Shaolin spiritual and martial traditions are designed for character development and the realisation of enlightenment only.
©opyright: Adrian Chan-Wyles (ShiDaDao) 2016.
Original Chinese Language Source Text: http://www.guanzhongwang.com/Folklore/20140326/7420.html