By Li Hang
Photo: China News Service
A decade since the first North American Shaolin Cultural Festival in 2013, the Shaolin Temple is once again hosting an official cultural exchange event in the US.
The highly anticipated "2023 North American Shaolin Games" and a series of martial arts-related activities are scheduled to take place in Los Angeles, the US, on November 11 and 12.
The announcement was made during a press conference held on November 7.
Organized by the renowned Songshan Shaolin Temple in China, in collaboration with the Shaolin North American Association, the games are expected to serve as a platform for kung fu enthusiasts to show off their skills and promote the popularization of the ancient sport in North America.
Approximately 500 Shaolin disciples from over 40 states in the US, as well as from countries including Canada and Mexico will participate in the events.
Shi Yongxin, the abbot of the Shaolin Temple, said at the press conference that Shaolin kung fu is famous all over the world.
Kung fu not only strengthens the body, but also uses martial arts to achieve Zen and enlighten people through wisdom.
The kung fu competition is a long-standing tradition at the Shaolin Temple, which aims to enable Shaolin disciples to study more diligently and constantly surpass themselves, according to Shi.
During the opening ceremony, dignitaries from various fields will witness the top performers in various categories.
The 2023 North American Shaolin kung fu stars - the top three in each discipline - will receive medals, trophies, certificates, and accolades as encouragement.
According to Shi, the tradition of Shaolin kung fu competitions has flourished overseas since 2011.
Events like the European Shaolin Cultural Festival and the North American Shaolin Cultural Festival all regard the Shaolin kung fu competition as core content.
In 2022, the Shaolin kung fu online competition continued this tradition, uniting 5,320 participants from 94 countries and regions across six continents.
Before coming to the US in 2023, the Shaolin Games had already been held in Zambia in Africa, Singapore in Asia, and Argentina in Latin America.
Shi, leading the visiting delegation, arrived in Los Angeles on November 1 to kick off a series of North American visits.
During his visit to San Francisco on November 7, he delivered a speech titled "Zen Meets AI" at Meta's headquarters.
In his address, he emphasized that while AI possesses remarkable data processing and analytical capabilities, and may display similar human perceptions through programs and algorithms, but it cannot replicate the awakened consciousness advocated by Zen Buddhism.
He encouraged human beings to seek inner wisdom and transcendence, even in the face of AI advancements.
According to Shi, Zen Buddhism emphasizes that Zen practitioners can gradually improve their state of enlightenment through their own efforts.
As a tool, AI can search and find relevant classics to solve various doubts that Zen practitioners encounter, providing assistance and convenience to Zen practitioners.