Shaolin Kungfu as a Form of Religion and Culture

Shaolin Kungfu is one of the most popular and farthest expressions in Buddhist culture spread. The traditional Buddhist culture in China has not only taken the important role of ethics in social development, but also in improving human spirit and quality. Shaolin Kungfu is a Buddhist cultural system developing in the special historical environment of Buddhism, taking Kimnara as the core and behaving in the form of Wushu (martial arts) Shaolin Kungfu monks practice, which fully embodies the traditional Buddhist cultural system of Chan wisdom.


Spirit Cultivation of Buddhism

Spirit cultivation of Buddhism contains the conditioning of body and mind as well as interest cultivation and moral cultivation. Listening to Buddhist music is also one method of spirit cultivation. Buddhist music is fresh, elegant and extraordinary. Its sound and implication is distant and profound. The singer whose body and mind is a unity sings the music, forgetting self and anything else. Listeners whose body and mind become clear suddenly and is touched, seeming to enter the blissful wonderland. Buddhist music can calm brain activities and relieve the venation. It could also adjust to physical and mental state, playing a role in lowering blood pressure as well as tranquilizing and allaying excitement.


All Rivers Run into Sea

The creation of Chan Buddhism sufficiently integrated into the essence of traditional Chinese culture and went into their advantages of Taoism and Confucianism, then developing the Chinese Buddhism. Similarly, its Chan boxing insists on its new enlightenment and new creation with the feature that all rivers run into sea. (From Words of Chan by Shi Yongxin)


Getting to North America for Visit and Exchange

From Nov. 11 to 12, the 2023 North American Shaolin Games hosted by China Songshan Shaolin Temple was held in Los Angeles. Its contents covered the first North American Shaolin Kungfu Games, world peace blessing meeting, promoting training and certification of Shaolin Kungfu Duanpin system, Shaolin Kungfu public performance and so on. This is a grand event held in America again by Shaolin Temple since the 2013 North American Shaolin Culture Festival over ten years. Participants are from more than 40 states from America as well as Canada, Mexico and other countries. Kungfu Star chosen from the Shaolin Kungfu games also together with Shaolin Kungfu monks attended “immortal Shaolin” public performance on Nov. 12, showing American audience Chinese Kungfu’ s unique charm.


Getting to South America for Visit and Exchange

From Oct. 18 to 29, to spread traditional Chinese culture and healthy Shaolin lifestyle and concepts, and to promote Shaolin culture outgoing, recently, a group led by Shi Yongxin, abbot of Shaolin Temple, arrived in Bolivia and Argentina, starting the 2023 Shaolin Kungfu games and Shaolin and the South American cultural exchange tour. This is another grand event held in the South America after the African, Asian Singapore’ s Kungfu games.


Temple Is a Part of Society

I believe that Buddhism and dharma teachings need not be confined to the walls of temples but be fully immersed and integrated into secular society where it could be best used to help alleviate suffering and deal with daily problems. Following this Mahayana practice, Shaolin Temple cannot be separated from secular society as a monk cannot be entirely segregated from society after ordination. Interaction with society is essential as the water we drink, the electricity we use, and even the food we consume, are products of society. In Buddhism, we have a term called “Chushi” which means “leaving the world” entirely. In the past, temples were able to live off the land, but in present day living, it is not possible to survive on a few acres of land. Being part of society has become a necessity. In today’s world, retreating into meditation would mean living a secluded and quiet life in the mountains, but part of the process would mean being marginalized from society. (From Shaolin Temple in My Heart)


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