Shaolin Pharmacy Bureau

Ancient Indian monk Buddhabhadra arrived in Songshan Mountains to propagate the religion and therefore built Shaolin Temple in 495. In 527, an eminent Indian monk Bodhidharma got to Songshan Mountain for the spread of Chan Buddhism, and left Yi Jin Jing, Xi Sui Jing and so on handed down. Though the works were not true martial arts but established a foundation for later Shaolin Kungfu. Shaolin Temple’ s Tangzong, Zhicao and Huiyi totaling 13 Kungfu monks assisted Li Shimin to pacify Wang Shichong in the late Sui Dynasty. In the early Qing Dynasty, master Tanzong was claimed the great general meanwhile Shaolin Temple also received the grace with a better troop of more than 500 men, which made the way of troop training led by great general and weapons taken into Shaolin Temple and created the period of Shaolin martial arts. Most eminent monks of generations in Shaolin Temple were versed in dharma, martial arts and medicine, serving the country and benefiting the public. Tanzong and Huiyi were good at traumatology and created Shaolin martial arts traumatology which made great progress in the Ming and Qing dynasties.


Chinese Buddhism continued in decline after the Five Dynasties. During the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms, eminent monk Fuju specially invited eighteen martial artists to Shaolin Temple practicing for three years and finally compiled the “Shaolin Boxing”. Shaolin martial arts made progress, promoting the development of Shaolin traumatology.


Shaolin Temple’ s then abbot Zhilong created the Shaolin Pharmacy Bureau in about 1217.


Yuan Haowen (1190-1220), a known litterateur wrote an article called the “Records of the Shaolin Pharmacy Bureau”, documenting the whole process that Shaolin Temple established the pharmacy bureau. According to the “Records of the Shaolin Pharmacy Bureau” written by Yuan Haowen, a big donor with hundreds of families donated materials, gold, etc., hoping to offering centurial vegetarian diet, during the later years in Xingding reign. Abbot Zhilong imitated monk Xibian in Qingzhouto and set up a pharmacy bureau in Shaolin Temple.


Elder Wansong sent his brilliant disciple Xuting Fuyu took charge of Shaolin Temple in 1242. Xueting Fuyu, a known eminent monk in the Yuan Dynasty, was honored as the ancestor of Shaolin Temple’ s resurgence. Dharma master Fuyu promoted substantial development of Shaolin medicine and advocated Buddhist doctor’ s guideline that “majoring in traumatology and minoring in pediatry as well as treating monks and the public’ s common diseases are just to take across sentient beings universally”. During this period, Shaolin Temple’ s Buddhist medical techniques achieved great results, and also was its core area of Chan medicine.

Taizu of Ming was from monks. During the Ming Dynasty, governor Hu Zongxian used Shaolin warrior monk to prevent harassment of pirates of the south in the Ming Dynasty. Anti-dwarf great governor Yu Dayou had also been to Shaolin Temple to teach cudgel. Monk Yuekong from Shaolin Temple led warrior monks to the southeast to prevent pirates while bring their own first-aid medicine such as Xingjun San, Bazhen Dan and so on. Known Shaolin Buddhist doctors included Zhizheng and Zhichun. Then Zhizheng collected all effective secret prescriptions of the temple before the Ming Dynasty and later compiled the “Secret Prescriptions of Shaolin Temple”.


By the 1980s, Shaolin Temple established the Editorial Board of Shaolin Boxing. Dharma master Dechan, the 36th generation abbot of Shaolin Temple, integrated his 60-70 years clinical experience and Buddhist doctors’ prescriptions, which was passed on to his disciple Deqian. Then the “Collection of Secret Prescriptions of Shaolin Temple”, “Secret Prescriptions of Shaolin Temple”, “Methods of Shaolin Acupoint Pressure” and other works were successively compiled to benefit the country and the people. This was the result of Buddhist doctors’ traumatology from Shaolin Temple from which we could appreciate the general situation and treatment level, as well as know about characteristics of Shaolin traumatology.


Buddhist doctors of the Shaolin Pharmacy Bureau combined Chan, Wu and Yi jointly carrying forward and promoting their strength and integration with each other.