In central China, on the Mount Songshan stands the Shaolin Buddhist Monastery, shrouded in numerous legends and myths. The temple was founded by the Indian monk Bhadra in 495. At the beginning of the 6th century, the patriarch of Chan Buddhism, Bodhidharma, transmitted to novices his knowledge of meditation, the secret methods of religious practice, and a number of techniques aimed at maintaining physical health. As a martial arts center, the monastery became famous in the VII century, when the Shaolin monks helped to hold the throne of Li Shimin.

Secret technology

In the XII century, monk Jueyuan went to look for real martial arts masters. After a long journey, he met three warriors who supported his desire to learn secret knowledge. Future Shaolin monks reworked existing equipment, making their own changes. For example, “18 Arhat Hands” was reborn into the “72 Hands” complex, which was supplemented with 170 tricks. One of the four masters, Bai Yunfeng, created the “fist of five components” system. This technique correlated with the movements of five animals - a leopard, a dragon, a tiger, a crane and a snake.Monks Shaolin

Shaolin Temple now

Thanks to the media and the development of tourism, the popularity of the monastery reached great heights. Chinese statesmen have invested heavily in improving the region and shaping the tourism industry. In the hope of attracting foreigners, a number of commercial schools of martial art were built around Shaolin.

In 1994, the Shaolin Temple was founded in the USA. In it, a wide circle of volunteers is taught the philosophy of Chan Buddhism through the development of meditative techniques and martial arts Kung Fu, Qigong, Tai Chi.

In 2006, a qigong and kung-fu school was opened in Russia (founded by warrior-monk Shi Yanbin). Here adults and children can learn the basics of martial arts and breathing exercises.

Morning in the temple

The monks of the Shaolin monastery wake up at five in the morning. After lifting all the disciples and masters gather at the main temple in the courtyard. Here they spend two hours meditating. This is a mandatory rule that all novices obey, regardless of age and weather conditions. Indoors can only meditate abbot and elders of the council. Next to the monks are the warders, who wake up with the blows of the sticks of those who begin to fall asleep. Novices should thank for their vigilance, thereby instilling respect for elders.

After meditation, the monks go on to gymnastic exercises aimed at developing the flexibility of the body. Heavy loads, untrained people can not cope with them. The training of the Shaolin monks begins in childhood. Gymnastics added breathing exercises. At the end of the first classes water treatments and massages are carried out. Pouring is carried out with cold water from mountain rivers. Massage is carried out by special methods using ointments.

Next, the monks go for a light breakfast, and then proceed to study the canons. The warriors, located in the main temple, listen to lectures on life, religion, enlightenment, and get acquainted with the texts of the holy books. Also at this time the basics of law, medicine, eloquence, philosophy are being taught. In conclusion, the abbot distributes responsibilities among newcomers.

Shaolin Monk Training

After training, warriors perform exercises aimed at improving the physical body, including techniques for the development of tendon and muscle strength. The monks of the Shaolin have fantastic endurance. Its secret lies in the daily and systematic grueling workouts to which the body is trying to adapt.

After exercise, the monks go on to martial arts. Beginners learn the five styles of Shaolin Quan: tiger, dragon, snake, leopard, mantis. Each direction develops a certain individual student quality. After three years of teaching five styles, the novice receives the status of a warrior monk and puts on a special belt. After this, more severe trainings begin, they all pass according to the ancient traditions of the temple.

Nutrition Basics

After the end of the morning workouts, around two in the afternoon, lunch begins. Warriors do not eat meat. The main food of Shaolin monks involves the use of cereals, legumes and oilseeds, vegetables and fruits. The menu varies depending on the time of year. Mandatory additives to the dishes are medicinal roots and herbs. After lunch, the monks are given one hour of personal time.

Evening training

At the end of the free hour, the monks of Shaolin are again engaged in the improvement of their body and mind. At this time, they are in special halls where they are taught by senior warriors. Here there are sparring in full force, using different weapons. Senior masters teach not only the rules of combat and the possession of tools, they show techniques to influence pain points, as well as acquaint with medical techniques. The exercises of the Shaolin monks include practicing the basic strokes, struts and blocks. Beginners must master them for at least three years. For example, you need to improve the "finger art", which makes it possible to punch any barrier with just one finger. This skill begins with monotonous blows to millet, then to sand and gravel. It is necessary to put 3800 tychkov. After that, the blows are already applied to the iron filings. The number of tychkov is 9 thousand. The result of mastering the skill is the formation of corn and atrophy of nerve endings. The finger is now called "iron". Another of the many exercises is the ability to strike energy. Those monks who have mastered the basics of skill, are grouped in groups of four, headed by a mentor. So warriors improve their skills for several years.

After a grueling workout at seven in the evening, novices are waiting for dinner, after which you can relax a bit or do your own thing. Most often, all the warriors are improved deep into the night.

After 10-15 years of studying the art of Shaolin, the monks take an exam, which includes theoretical and practical parts. At the first stage, novices demonstrate their knowledge of the history of the temple, canonical books, and martial art. Next are sparring using different types of weapons. Traditions tell about the test, which is the passage of a dark corridor with one hundred and eight mannequins. The latter were activated by special mechanisms. The mannequins struck, the walker had to dodge or respond. It was necessary to move along the corridors very quickly. At the exit stood a large tripod with coals, which had to be rearranged. With the successful completion of all tests on the forearm of the monk, the images of the dragon and the tiger were burned. They were evidence of the owner’s skill.

Speeches and battles of Shaolin monks

Monastery warriors do not often demonstrate to ordinary people the art of owning a body, which is based on ancient spiritual practices. Basically, the performance of the monks of Shaolin can be observed on the territory of the temple itself. They are conducted to draw attention to the art of battle. But sometimes the students of Shaolin go to other countries. So, in 2015, a demonstration of the unique skills of Buddhist warriors was held in Latvia. In Moscow, the masters of the legendary temple also perform periodically, showing skillful mastery of various weapons and fighting styles.

Shaolin monks in the ring also appear periodically. Battles are held between students of different combat schools. Ancient traditions do not encourage ostentatious battles, but the modern world requires a more intimate acquaintance with the secrets of art. So, one of the famous warriors is Liu Yilong, who was a participant in a number of competitions with athletes of different styles. But the master's belonging to the real art of Shaolin is not proven, most likely, he was trained on the territory of the monastery in one of many schools. After the battle, the money won must be transferred to the monastery.

The commandments of the masters

The rules of life for warriors, once compiled by Jueyuan, are still observed by all the monks of Shaolin. The possibilities of a person who has devoted himself to the development and improvement in this monastery are transcendent. What are these commandments? Here are some of them:

  1. The main task is to improve the body and soul. Therefore, you need to train every day, without distractions.
  2. The martial art of the Shaolin Temple is used only as self-defense.
  3. Mentors and teachers should be treated with respect and esteem.
  4. It is necessary to be sincere with the brothers, not to deceive and respect them.
  5. You can not use force to clarify the relationship.
  6. Do not eat meat and wine.
  7. Try not to get involved in women beyond measure.
  8. Martial technicians can not teach ordinary people, you can share only medical skills.
  9. The monks of Shaolin should not praise their achievements.

The secrets of longevity that masters possess are based on the observance of these commandments. There are also internal bans of the temple. For example, you need to avoid negligence and laziness, envy and anger and be sure to go through all the stages of training.

How to become a true monk of Shaolin?

The warriors of the monastery talked about the tremendous work on improving their body and mind. It is necessary to prove to the masters that the student has a bright soul and a hardy body. Nobody rushes the novice in the assimilation of knowledge and skills, the mentor will wait as long as necessary. When the novice warrior is ready, the master will inform him and send him to the exam.

The true monks of Shaolin are the founders of the monastery and the teachings in it. So, the first patriarch Bodhidharma left behind two works: "The Canon on the purification of the bone marrow" and "The Canon on the change of muscles", as well as the fighting style "The Fist of the Arhats of the Early Sky". Master Tse Hongbei, who lived during the Tang dynasty, introduced a “deceptive style” into wushu. Mentor Fu Yu developed the art of short shots at close range. Bai Yufeng, along with monk Jiao Yuan, created a new style that included the techniques of the Leopard, Tiger, Snake, Crane and Dragon schools.

During the Qing dynasty lived the famous master Zhen Jun. The monk perfectly mastered the art of lightness. He easily jumped onto the roofs of houses and flew from rock to rock. "Living Legend" was Hai Dan, who was born in Sichuan Province. During classes, he achieved perfection in the management of internal energy and could, for example, force the water into the pelvis to seethe. The master was involved in writing books and manuals on martial arts, was known as an expert on alternative medicine. Hai Dan was able to execute a hundred complexes of Shaolin, owned 18 types of weapons, and at the age of 75 he could stand on two fingers for an hour. Despite a small increase, the strength of his blow reached 500 kilograms. The names of the monks of Shaolin, who left an indelible mark on the history of the monastery, deserve to be remembered. All the masters were distinguished by their devotion to their work and faith in the martial art.

Secrets and myths about the life of Shaolin warriors

The essence of the incredible abilities of the masters lies in the use of Qi energy. Its use, for example, helps control pain. An integral part in the development of Chan Buddhism is the full development of the five feelings of the student, as well as the improvement of his thinking, memory and intuition. The ultimate goal of martial art is to comprehend oneself and merge with the Absolute. Gaining mental balance gives the student the ability to be unshakable in all situations. Long meditations and the development of wisdom contribute to the acquisition of unique abilities, such as clairvoyance.

The second of the common 10 myths about the monks of Shaolin is the borrowing of the main features of Indian animals in some types of fighting techniques. According to historians, all techniques were formed within the group of soldiers, which initially played the role of a private army. There is a legend that thirteen Shaolin masters defeated a hundred thousandth army of soldiers in order to save Emperor Tan Teizong. However, the information was somewhat distorted. The monks did play an important role in the outcome of the battle, but they appeared only in the decisive battle.

Warriors endowed with supernatural abilities. For example, there is a legend about a battle with Japanese pirates, when three monks buried themselves with the help of reeds and crawled under the ground, thereby preserving their lives.

The final tests in the monastery are also overgrown with many legends. Thus, the existence of a learning labyrinth trap with wooden dummies has not yet been proved.

Leaving the monastery, according to legend, was also not easy. Those who wanted to leave the walls of the monastery needed to unite with three monks and fight against 18 warriors. In case of victory, the monastery was deprived of the strongest fighters.

Until now, there is a legend about a temple chef who secretly developed physical and spiritual skills. His name was Ji Naw Lowe. He was able to defeat the Red Turbans group that had attacked the monastery.

Revered in the temple, Shaolin God Vaprapni also shrouded in myths. So, he forced to eat the forbidden piece of meat of the monk Shengchou, who was mocked at the monastery. As a reward for his deed, the warrior received the power and opportunity to deal with offenders. Such a legend is contrary to the commandments of the monastery.

Many fighters and ordinary people wanted to learn the martial art of Shaolin. Thus, one of the myths tells of the Indian prince Bodhidharma, who fulfilled his dream by imprisoning himself in a cave, where he meditated for nine years. The abbots of the monastery were impressed and provided him with a separate room.

But the story is not limited to this. There is a continuation of the legend of the prince. So, they say that in the seventh year of imprisonment Bodhidharma fell asleep. To prevent this from happening again, he cut off the eyelids. Falling to the ground, they turned into tea bushes.

In the network you can find a video in which a Buddhist monk punches a ball behind a glass by throwing a needle. However, this miracle was nothing more than a myth. He managed to dethrone the team “Wreckers of Legends”.

Many more incredible stories tell about the famous place - the Shaolin Temple. It only supports the interest in living in a monastery and attracts more and more tourists to China.