If you are a big fan of Chinese martial arts, you must have been heard of the word “Kungfu”. As the origin place of Kungfu, Shaolin temple has enjoyed a high reputation all over the world. Today there are more than 50 Shaolin culture center worldwide. Built in 495 B.C, Shaolin temple is located in the south hill of Mountain Song in Zhengzhou city, Henan province. It is the traditional Buddhist sanctuary and one of the Fourth Great Temples in China.
Kung fu is a primarily unarmed Chinese martial art resembling karate. And among Chinese martial arts, Shaolin kung fu is the largest one. With more than 700 sets different martial arts plus the spirit of zen in it, thus it is also called Zen of Martial Arts. On the west side of Shaolin temple, there is the largest tower forests existing in China. It covers an area of 21000 square meters and has over 230 towers. Inside those towers bury remains of deceased monks in Shaolin temple from generations to generations, some are carved with exquisite patterns.
The yard of Shaolin temple is so huge. There are totally seven separate yards in total from the front gate to Thousand Buddha Hall. The words Shaolin temple on top of the gate was written by the Qing dynasty emperor Kangxi. As a matter of that, what we see now isn’t exactly what it used to be. In 1928, part of the temple was burn down in a civil war. It was not rebuilt until 1982. Walking in, a statue of Buddha with big belly and bright smile come in sight.
At this moment, you would feel you in a some religious place. The building, the atmosphere, stone tablets, even those giant ancient trees, everything feels like religious. Shaolin monks usually chant and meditate during the daytime, and practice kungku at night. The habit has been kept for hundred years. Ancient literature also prove the high level of Shaolin kungfu since Qing dynasty.
Walking through the Tianwang hall, there is Daxiong Precious Hall behind. Inside the hall they worship the statue of Buddha, Amitabha, and Medicine Buddha, with the eighteen disciples of the Buddha besides the hall. Then there is depositarry of Buddhist chanting texts, where monks chanting and doing rites. In front of the hall stands a giant iron bell, weighted as 650 kilograms. It looks so huge and majestic, I could almost imagine how it sounds like when monk hit the bell for the first time.
If you think Shaolin is only famous for its martial arts, then you are way wrong. Shaolin medicine also enjoys a high prestige in traditional Chinese medicine. The core of shaolin medicine is promoting blood circulation to remove blood stasis and anti-aging, dredging the channels and collaterals and keep healthy. It is worth mentioning they have this magic cure called Shaolin black paste which was originated in ancient times. It does magic on bone problems, lower back pain as well as rheumatism rheumatism pain.