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Shaolin Monk Rain Demonstration
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Uploaded on May 12, 2007
The Shaolin Monks of China perform a private demonstration for United Studios of Self Defense an American Martial Arts Organization.
The demonstration took place at the Shaolin Temples in Henan China. The monks performed the demonstration even though it rained.
The Shaolin temples (Shàolín Sì) are a group of Chinese Buddhist monasteries famed for their long association with Chán (Japanese Zen) Buddhism and martial arts. They are perhaps the Buddhist monasteries most familiar in the West. The name "Shaolin" means "Young Forest".
Shaolin is situated on China's central Taoist sacred mountain, Songshan in Henan province. It was founded during the Northern Wei dynasty in approximately 497 AD and remains one of China's oldest Buddhist temples. It was said to have been used as a home by the Indian monk Batuo during the thirty years he spent preaching Nikaya Buddhism in China.
Probably the most famous name associated with Shaolin is that of Bodhidharma or Tamo (pinyin: Dámó), an Indian monk who travelled to China in 5th century to teach Buddhism. A traditional story relates that Bodhidharma sat in meditation facing a wall in a nearby cave for nine years. Bodhidharma's ministry at Shaolin formed the basis for what would later be called the Zen or, in China, Chán (both terms means Meditation) school of Buddhism.
After entering Shaolin, it is said that Bodhidharma found the monks out of shape from a lifetime spent only in study and scholasticism, so he introduced a regimen of martial exercises which later developed into kung fu. Traditionally, the Shaolin monks developed their martial arts expertise as a defense against aggressors' attacks, as a means to promote health, and as a mental and physical discipline.
The temple's military fame began during the early Tang Dynasty (618-907). Records describe Shaolin fighting monks saving the life of the future emperor Li Shimin (in this record, it says that the monks were in and out of the fort before anyone could even raise the alarm) and assisting in his fight against renegade forces.
Once enthroned, the gratified emperor enlarged their compound and gave permission for some monks to continue their military training. Shaolin kung fu reached its peak during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), when several hundred Shaolin monks were given military status and personally led campaigns against rebels and Japanese bandits. By this time, the Shaolin had developed their own unique style of martial arts, known as Shaolinquan.
The original temple survived being sacked and rebuilt many times, but the Manchus destroyed the compound in 1647 and massacred almost the entire population of monks. Shaolin was not rebuilt until around 1800. The most recent destruction was a fire set by the warlord Shi Yousan in 1928, which destroyed the buildings and many priceless manuscripts of the temple library.
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