Shaolin Temple’s Monastic Rules in Detail

Upon joining the monastery, there is the “Three Refuges and Five Precepts”, and the sramanera have to observe the “Ten Precepts”. For monks such as myself who have taken the upasampada ordination, we have to observe two hundred and fifty precepts, which do impose a lot of restrictions. The monastery also has quite a number of monastic rules and each branch has their own respective monastic rules, and the Teaching Hall, Meditation Hall, Dining Hall, Grand Hall and the Abbot Hall all have their own respective stipulations, which are very strict. The reason that the monks voluntarily accept such large number of precept is that we the monastics abide by our faith. If one day we lose our faith, even if we enter the monastic order, we will still have many vexations. The fact about monastic life is that it is not as leisurely or as carefree or as poetic or as charming as some people may think. Those in the monastic order also have to face many real problems, and they could easily fall into a new round of vexations if their faith is not strong. Contrarily, if their faith is strong, all problems will be easily resolved. (From Shaolin Temple in My Heart)

Author: 2023-12-23

Shaolin Monks Follow the Rules that were Set by the Founders

Of course, Shaolin monks’ daily life today is juxtaposed against an exciting outside world, whereas the monks’ living environment has undergone great changes from before. It is impossible to isolate the monks’ life. Therefore, would outside temptations affect the monks’ practice? In my view, the key is whether the monks’ faith is steadfast. As previously mentioned, the monks’ daily lives are very much governed by rules with very strict schedules that each monk must follow. On the first and fifteenth of each month according to the lunar calendar, the monks have to recite and carry out the commandments and rules, and apply their faith to restrain their thoughts and action. The rules of Shaolin Temple were set by the founders and we still live according to these monastery rules. Those who are used to these rules do not find them strict but for those who are new to the monastery, they are not accustomed to these rules and find them restrictive. (From Shaolin Temple in My Heart)

Author: 2023-12-16

The Abbot Yongxin’s Daily Life

A lot of people want to know whether I have the same routine as the other monks. I renounced secular life and entered the monastic order at Shaolin in 1981. For the past thirty years, I have maintained a discipline life and follow the same routine as the other monks, eating and practicing with them. Each day, if I need to attend the meditation at the Meditation Hall, I will get up at 5 am and then join the monks for breakfast. As to the standard for the monks’ meal, we had a daily allowance of five yuan per day three or four years ago; now our daily allowance is seven yuan. We have three meals a day, all vegetarian. Following a northern China custom, we usually have porridge and noodle for dinner, and noodles for lunch. Meditation daily is a habit I adhere to. I meditate for two hours each day, once during the day and once at night; I either take an afternoon nap or meditate during my noon break. I feel more comfortable sitting in a cross-legged meditation posture than laying on my side to sleep. To me, meditation is comforting and a daily habit that I have cultivated over many years; I do not feel natural if I do not sit in meditation. I meditate daily; as soon as I sit cross-legged, all my thoughts dissolve into a state of emptiness, so it is very easy to calm down. (From Shaolin Temple in My Heart)

Author: 2023-11-30

The Dharma Lineage Is Passed on to This Generation

In the precept transmission ceremony, China’s Taiwan Buddhist Association President Ven. Jingliang said, “Ven. Yongxin has attached great importance to the inheritance of Vinaya dharma. After three years when the precept transmission ceremony was launched, this year marks the second Three Ordination Platforms Precept Transmission Ceremony. It is by no means an ordinary and simple vow. Because the ceremony consists of a set of rigid rules and requires a lot of energy and labors. He doesn’t serve as the Precept Master and would rather make any sacrifices so that the dharma lineage could be transmitted. During the precept transmission period, as the head of the monastery, he adheres to a rigorous code of conduct and plays an exemplary role for the newly-precepted monastics, which is attributed to one’s usual cultivation practices. Therefore, I admire and esteem him highly. In the Buddhist circle, as the saying goes, ‘dharma prevails as long as there is Vinaya.’ Without the transmission and observation of Vinaya, Buddhism will be secularized. Even for the Chan sect, which lays great emphasis on mindfulness and enlightenment, it cannot exist without the basis of Vinaya, to complement each other. To that end, monasteries of Chan sect all have the custom of transmitting precept occasionally. Otherwise, it might lead to the discontinuation of dharma and there would be no successor to the lineage of Chan sect. Ven. Jingliang’s comments gave me a lot encouragement and support. It is owing to this prosperous era that Shaolin Temple could restore the past glory of the Ordination Platform. As a member of the monastics, I’m doing my duties by renovating the platform and applying for precept transmission so as to uphold orthodox dharma and propagate Buddhism. The precept transmission ceremony sets a strict examination rule and rigorous ritual for the monastics to receive precepts at Shaolin Temple. Every time when I walk upon the Shaolin Temple’s Ordination Platform, which reminds me of many deceased eminent monks, I wish I could console them: the dharma lineage has been passed on to this generation. (From Shaolin Temple in My Heart)

Author: 2023-11-25

The Real Kungfu and Practice in the Shaollin is Chan Meditation

Chinese Buddhism originated almost two thousand years ago, but despite slow and gradual progress since the 1980s, it still faces many challenges and difficulties. With the restoration and revival of Shaolin Temple’s position as the ancestral monastery of Chan, we must orientate monks towards the serious practice of Chan meditation. Many say that “Shaolin is the cradle of all martial arts under Heaven” and that statement is true. In the minds of many, our kungfu is unrivaled. However, the real kongfu and practice in the Shaolin is Chan meditation. Different forms of fist arts and other martial arts styles were passed down froShaolin’s previous generations of masters and derived from the practice process of Chan cultivation. Meditation is the focal point of the daily life of a Shaolin monk and monastic members are able to transcend life and death only through meditation, which is the foundation of Shaolin’s culture. Other forms of cultural expression perfected with the meditation include wushu, medicine, calligraphy, architecture and sculpture, etc. (From Shaolin Temple in My Heart)

Author: 2023-11-16

The Launching of Chan Debate

Properly speaking, this is an innovation to the tradition. Debate activities have been held in history. But in the modern time, some new developments in the activity are being initiated by inviting scholars and experts in the various disciplines of the society and selecting some of the most talented candidates. It is our hope that it could attract wider participation of intellects that have great interest in researches of Buddhist culture. We also start an online application. At the end of the application process, the judges will select twenty-four candidates to participate in the Chan debate at Shaolin Temple and the winners will be presented with awards. During the activity period, the candidates’ expenses of accommodation, transportation and food are converted by Shaolin Temple. The purpose is to provide a platform for more people to experience the joy of Chan, awaken wisdom, light the lamp of soul and realize the mind of Buddha. Meanwhile it is a way to nurture monastic talents. In the proceedings of Chan debate, the candidates should be very familiar with Buddhist scriptures and elaborate on their understandings and interpretations to the doctrines. The monastics used to recite volumes of Buddhist scriptures and get through the examination before they could receive the ordination ceremony. In present time this tradition has been seldom carried out. The launching of Chan debate is also expected to stimulate the multitude’s interest in scripture recital. (From Shaolin Temple in My Heart)

Author: 2023-10-28

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