Shaolin Temple has developed a comprehensive system of history and culture, including Shaolin Chan tradition, Kungfu, Chan Medicine, architecture, inscriptions and calligraphies, monastic structure, etc. Shaolin Chan, Kungfu, Medicine and Art are of spiritual and cultural values for human beings. These have displayed a great vitality and charisma of perfect syncretism. Chan and Kungfu, the motion and motionless, the sacred and the profane, the conservative and innovative, are never dualistic, only differing on stages and conditions. Shaolin culture is a creatively resourceful source for the issues of the society, nature and real life.  

The program of Shaolin cultural experience incorporates a broad range of activities including Chan meditation, Kungfu practice, traditional Chan Medicine, Buddhist chanting, Shaolin etiquette, Chan music appreciation, monastic diet, etc. Following is introduction and content of the program courses: 


Sitting Meditation: body and mind stress relief; seeing into the true nature of life
Kungfu Practice: combined application of Chan cultivations and martial arts
Traditional Chan Medicine: body-mind self regulation, health care improvement exercises
Monastic Chores: letting go of self egos; living in the humble way as Buddhist monks do
Buddhist Diet: eating healthy vegetarian diet
Tea and Etiquette: having a taste of tea culture
Incense and Etiquette: incense appreciation and offering customs
Buddhist Chanting: spiritual practice and contemplation
Buddhist Etiquette: learning rules and disciplines of Buddhist monasteries
Chan Music Ritual: interpreting the pure and natural Chan rhythms
Completion Ceremony: Abbot and Chan masters’ dharma lecture
The sudden enlightenment initiated by Bodhidharma can be summarized into four-line stanza: A special transmission outside the scriptures, not founded upon words and letters; By pointing directly to [one's] mind, it lets one see into [one's own true] nature and [thus] attain Buddhahood. The patriarchal Chan tradition emphasizes upon cultivating daily mindfulness throughout walking, standing, sitting and reclining, and getting to a natural, balanced state in the present moment. By letting go of worldly attachment and waking up to the present moment, the practitioners shall find themselves close to the inner tranquility and enjoy the pleasure of the comfort and ease that the Chan mind brings.
Shaolin Kungfu was formed in the special Buddhist cultural environment-Songshan Shaolin Temple. Based on the Buddhist belief, Shaolin Kungfu has fully demonstrated the perfect wisdom of Chan Buddhism and developed into a cultural system with Kungfu practices of Shaolin monks as its form of expression. The goal for monks’ practicing Shaolin Kungfu is to attain a “Unity of Chan and Kungfu”, the state of demonstrating Kungfu imbued with Chan Mindfulness and ideal for physical and spiritual development.
Shaolin “Traditional Chan Medicine” has inherited and developed from Traditional Chinese Medicine and Buddhist Medicine. It incorporates Chan cultivation methods like meditation and body-mind regulation in the medical practices and constitutes the typical Shaolin Chan Medicine system and the development of Shaolin Medicine Bureau. In general, Kungfu is physical practices for building health and fitness; Chan for mindful cultivations while Medicine for refreshing and reinvigorating the body, mind and spirit.
The monastery’s architectures, scriptures, inscriptions, frescos and paintings are all cultural and art treasures of Shaolin Temple and have great artistic value.
The blending of Shaolin Chan, Kungfu, Medicine and Art is an exceptional creation of Shaolin Temple and manifests the unsurpassed wisdom of Buddhists as well as the Chinese.