The Shaolin Bandwagon

Discussion in 'Other Styles' started by 47MartialMan, Jul 15, 2015.

  1. 47MartialMan

    47MartialMan Valued Member

    Yes. I thought about that point. But the intention of something that changes into something else, does not make it "authentic".

    And, indeed, non-violence is subjected to the person.

    That said, Buddhists who are studying to be Buddhist clergy, have to follow the Sangha. Especially a monk has to

    But, as we know, every religion has a clergy that goes against their doctrines. There are extremists in every religion or people. If they do this, are they still staying true or authentic to the doctrines/vows they had taken? See Note*

    Yes, I was about to post about the term "Buddhist Warrior Monks" seeming like a oxymoron. Given the nature of a clergy/monk of that statue (I was going to say religion, but many Buddhists do not consider Buddhism as a religion)

    Christians can be violent. Buddhist (practitioners) also. But a Buddhist monk has to undergo all of the dharma,mandalas,suttas,ideas of the Sangha. If they fail, they are exiled. So a monk exiled from a Buddhist temple is no longer a Buddhist monk. They can still be a Buddhist practitioner
    My post #37 is a SHAOLIN SATIRE-look upon it as critical thinking, if not interesting things to ponder

    Note* Now all of this said, I have been in communication not only with Buddhists, but some Buddhist clergy. From this, I need to gather all of my notes from the past 15+ years on the subject of Buddhist monks.

    I will soon have a writing about this revealing some interesting aspects
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2015
  2. The Iron Fist

    The Iron Fist Banned Banned

    Perhaps a way of seeing things is to realize that Buddhism is not really Chan is not really Zen, and that war and Chan are to China as Zen and war are to Japan. To both, Buddhism is like a distant grandfather.

    "March: tramp, tramp, or shoot: bang, bang. This is the manifestation of the highest Wisdom. The unity of Zen and war of which I speak extends to the farthest reaches of the holy war" - Harada Daiun Sogaku

    To some people, the Kamikaze were the epitome of Zen Buddhism.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2015
  3. EmptyHandGuy

    EmptyHandGuy Valued Member

    Its actually You shall not murder, which is a difference. But it is another example of why the KJV is such a poor translation.
  4. 47MartialMan

    47MartialMan Valued Member

    But the Samurai and Kamikaze were not Buddhist Bhikkhu (monks) having to undergo the Sangha :rolleyes:

    Last edited: Jul 31, 2015
  5. Late for dinner

    Late for dinner Valued Member

    King James Version....

    It's the British imprint/interpretation.. :' D

  6. 47MartialMan

    47MartialMan Valued Member

    Although, I did not start off studying martial arts from a initial interest or desire, it became a obsession. Along with this, people who knew me, knew I was studying, gave me all sorts of Asiatic items. They seem to relate martial arts with Asian culture. Immediate family members would give me more items closer to the subject (martial arts) such as weapons, periodicals like magazines and books. (This could be a separate discussion)

    Back then, martial art history was leaning towards more regurgitated myth, rather than accurate data

    To understand Shaolin is NOT to understand Gung Fu. One must research when Shaolin was built, why was it built, and where was it built. Not just a rhetorical response or answer, but an in-depth one has to be emanated. The assiduous research on Buddhism must remain as an integral part of the whole process.

    It wasn't until I had a friend from India, who introduced me to his family and culture. He in turn, introduced me to one of his uncles who was/is a Ordained Buddhist Monk. After a span of time, that Buddhist Monk (uncle) introduced me to other Buddhists practitioners and monks alike. This lead me to the discovery of how monastic monks should be. And it also made me think of how this should be applied or approached to Shaolin.

    I spoke/communicated with many Buddhist practitioners and a few Buddhist monks over a period of time; Here are some of my findings

    When I speak of "authentic", I am speaking of first or original intention. A Ordain or Monastic Monk, follows the rules of their Sangha (Sect-Order). These rules for the monks are strict.

    Lets look upon Buddhism and Monastic Buddhist Monk (A Monastic Buddhist Monk is very different than a Disciple Monk or Buddhist Practitioner)

    The Rules of a Ordained Monastic Buddhist Monk;

    " The core of the monastic discipline is a list of rules called the Patimokkha. In the bhikkhu-patimokkha (for the monks) there are 227 rules, while in the bhikkhuni-patimokkha (for the nuns) there are 311 rules. The first four rules in the patimokkha, for both monks and nuns, are the four Parajika. The word parajika (in the ancient Indian language called Pali) is usually translated as 'making the doer defeated'. In effect it means that the offender MUST DISROBE. No ceremony or trial is required. From the instant the transgression is completed, the perpetrator automatically loses his or her status as a Buddhist monk or nun. Obviously these four rules were considered by the Buddha to be extreme violations of the spiritual ethic and a major obstacle in the path to enlightenment. They considered such gross behavior on the part of a monk or nun that the penalty of disrobe was for life! Such a one could not simply re-ordain after a period of grace. "

    The four transgressions which incur a Parajika, the penalty of automatic disrobe, are as follows:

    1. Engaging in sexual intercourse with another being of either sex.

    2. Stealing something of value (which includes smuggling or cheating).

    3. Purposely killing a human being or encouraging him or her to commit suicide (this includes inciting another to murder somebody)

    4. Ego or Boasting. Knowing that one is lying. For example, claiming to be enlightened. Bragging upon status

    Should any monk or nun do any of these then you may know them as no longer holding the status of Buddhist monk or nun. They must disrobe. Should they attempt to hide their transgression and not disrobe then it is said that the bad karma produced is extreme indeed!

    In these four disrobing offences there is no excuse for ignorance. In a story related in the Buddhist scriptures [1], a newly ordained monk who had not as yet been instructed in the Vinaya was cajoled by his former wife into having sexual intercourse with her. When he told the other monks of this, they approached the Buddha and asked what should be done. The Buddha decreed that the offending monk had to disrobe and in future all monks were to be told of the Four Things Not to be Done, the four Parajika, immediately after they have been ordained. Indeed, instructing the new monk in these four rules has now become part of the Ordination Ceremony itself. So there can be no excuse!

    [1] Book of the Discipline, volume 4, page 124.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2015
  7. Thompsons

    Thompsons Valued Member

    Interesting thread. I dont have much to add though as my views and opinions are very parralel to those of 47MartialMan. I am glad to see we are some folks "on the same page" here.

    Back in the late 1980`s Shaolin was looked upon as a bit of a joke from a buddhist perspective, i am not sure that has changed much to the better over the years. A few from the Deng Feng area would go to the White Horse Temple in Luoyang when Shaolin became a little too much for them. White Horse Temple seemed about a thousand times more authentic than anything Shaolin.

    From a martialarts point of view some may argue why buddhism has to play any significant part in the daily practises. When you talk Shaolin separating this from the physical practise leaves back an entirely different product, in my opinion not worth a dime.
  8. 47MartialMan

    47MartialMan Valued Member

    Indeed, Shaolin is over-rated and only a few people actually know about White Horse Temple ....beautiful

    Other temples of interest: Wofo Temple, Xiangguo Temple, and Hanshan Temple
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2015
  9. belltoller

    belltoller OffTopic MonstreOrdinaire Supporter

    I didn't see post #46 till last evening, MM.

    Similar, in some ways, to the Roman Catholic priesthood - especially with regards to lifelong celibacy. Is this still the case for Buddhist Monks today?

    At what point did the original Buddhist Monks (India) incorporate or develop martial art - if, in fact, they did so at all?
  10. Tom bayley

    Tom bayley Valued Member

    On the subject of martial arts practiced in temples and the status of "shoalin Kung Fu" as a uniquely special entity. I personally do not believe that the kungfu taught at the Shoalin temple was substantially different to that practiced in other temples.

    My great grandfather teacher was an ordained Buddhist monk. The school to which I belong does not practice just one system, in stead it has many systems mainly from southern china but a few from the north. This fact along with the oral tradition of the school makes me think that there was a significant exchange of martial arts knowledge between both monks from different temples and lay martial practitioners. In fact the oral tradition of the school holds that part of my great grandfather teachers role was to train monks to defend isolated temples from the threat of unlawful violence. For this reason I believe that it is justified to use the terms "shoalin kung fu", "monastic kung fu" and "five animals kung fu" interchangeably.

    As for the Chan Buddhist approach to killing. I am not a Buddhist. My teacher is a Buddhist but is not a monk. The innate ugliness of the violence that we practice is obvious. Any sane person who regularly practices techniques that are designed to maim and kill, asks themselves why they do it. I have spoken to my teacher about this, he has spoken to many ordained monks over the years.

    The answer is, in fact, not that different from the way that violent action is justified by most Christians or Jews or Muslims (all of them notionally work under the "commandant thou shalt not kill"). Sometimes a wrong is necessary to stop a greater wrong.

    As for the subject of the modern wu shu that is predominantly taught via formally recognised and endorsed shoalin temple schools, I do not discuss this with my teacher as it is very bad for his blood pressure.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2015
  11. Thompsons

    Thompsons Valued Member

    I think you are right in your phrase " Sometimes a wrong is necessary to stop a greater wrong" Also:
    I have been told from various sources over the years,“legendary Shaolin” had its monks divided into “litterary” and “martial/warrior”.
    Buddhist monks from that temple took active part in a local battle as late as in the late 1920`s using firearms.
    Their lead was killed in one of the battles and the temple burned to the ground in a “pay-back” raid.

    In China I think its important to understand that the Emperor was above anything and anyone else, temples existed on his blessings or were destroyed if the opposite was the case.
    Temples had to adopt to their surrounding realities to exists, although this probably kills much of the “romance”
  12. Dean Winchester

    Dean Winchester Valued Member

    Some ordained take a vow of celibacy but not all sects follow this.

    I'm a Tendai practitioner and hope eventually to ordain, in Tendai some people who are ordained are also married. In Japan some things pass on from father to son, if your dad was a priest then you are.

    Vinaya (regulatory frame work/rules)will differ between sects.

    Buddhist ethics and conduct certainly isn't a black and white approach.
  13. Thompsons

    Thompsons Valued Member

  14. 47MartialMan

    47MartialMan Valued Member

    What has to be known, as I have sometimes stated, the study or research of Buddhist (ism), has to be foremost included before examining Shaolin, or monks fighting. Even catholic priests violate their vows. Even though they may continue to follow the other Christian values, but are they still considered as "priests"? Per My Post 46

    Indeed, throughout history, monks of any religion had participated in combat. This is not the basis of discussion (in whole). The very idea of a temple built for the study of Ch'an Buddhism, in a remote region "to practice martial arts" is the paradox

    I do not believe that actual ordained monks will practice a fighting art* Per My Post 46 (However per note "Z")

    What sect, how long ago and by whom he was ordained?

    Oral traditions have many flaws

    Sorry, not to sound condescending, I am not thoroughly convinced, Please read my opening post about my "Shaolin teacher"

    *BOLD* As have I.

    But, I hardly, nowadays, take the "face value" of something dealing with past history of long ago, especially "oral traditions/transmissions" (To reiterate-Please read my opening post about my "Shaolin teacher") The almighty internet has now given better research and information dispelling many myths or non-whole-truths about any subject.

    Somewhat agree. SWC Sifu Ben's post #39 has covered this.

    As entertaining (to me), the series "Kung Fu", had some interesting monk idiosyncrasies;
    "Sometimes one must cut off a finger to save a hand" -Master Po to Caine
    "As we prize peace and quiet above victory, there is a simple and preferred method.... Run away."_Shaolin Master to Caine

    Interesting to also note, that the actual combat scenes where under par, but I always enjoyed the flashbacks Caine had of his experiences in Shaolin. When the VCR was introduced/sold in mass to the public, I edited all the "Temple Scenes" from each episode into one video. Note "Z"

    Can't say I blame you and its good to keep a peace and respect

    History has shown, stories told by a raconteur, are not totally accurate which leave oral traditions and transmissions to be questioned. Thus will not fall under the term "authentic" (Z2). This term is used in my overall description; "Were they Authentic Ordained Buddhist Monks" Per My Post 46 (Also, Note "Z")

    Somewhat agree. But then it beckons, why would a (any) Chinese Emperor "allow" such different types of religions in the first place? (I have a interesting answer)

    Totally agree on the "different sects", like Christianity. (Also Note "Z")

    Thanks for that. I will order it, read it, and add it to my other references (Posts 15&21)
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2015
  15. 47MartialMan

    47MartialMan Valued Member

    Belltoller, In the interest of the thread, I took the liberty to add our PMs. Please do not be offended. My apology in advance

    NOTE "Z"

    Some other "Food for Thought";
    The Psychological Order of Surfeit -
    To cause (someone) to desire no more of something as a result of having consumed or done it to excess.

    Upon a martial artist, some people look into the study for defense or spiritual, where many, look into it for the practices of the action. After a time, perhaps because of (psychological order of) surfeit, some martial artists may start to loathe fighting or even be less involved in physical confrontations, perhaps resulting from long years of practice

    The Kung Fu Series: Fiction or Interesting Concept From A Temple View?
    It is reported that Ed Spielman, the creator of the series, was by all accounts a sinophile fascinated with the religions and traditions of China. It has been stated, that he reportedly spent years studying the language and customs. (As I am-to a degree)

    My research has continued, perhaps a reason, of why a Shaolin monk, of the Chen (Zen) study of Buddhism (or any sects) will train to fight. Buddhist monks belong to sects which is like different types of Christian denominations (like Catholics and Baptists). Thus, a sect, could change its views slightly, while "somewhat remaining with the core values" (Likewise a Christian Minister being married--Z3*)

    Perhaps a monk may practice fighting method in order to overcome the urge to fight (per the psychological order of surfeit to suppress violent action resulting from satiety or disgust).

    Another way to look upon it:
    Person A: Very aggressive, cruel, spiteful, and malicious. No morals. Iniquity
    Person B: Always getting physically thrashed with no methods to stop Person A

    Person B: Studies methods with above par excellence to stop Person A. In the analogy a adult (B) keeping at bay, a small child with little effort and without injury (to A). Thus it renders Person A as useless.

    In summary, skills were studied to prevent injury to not only oneself, (B) but their adversary (A) not injured (severely) as well.

    Interesting to note, again from the Kung Fu series, Ed Spielman includes a episode where Cain has to convince a Western Religious Minister, that there is a need for physical action; "You do not have to hurt, you can learn to take the stick away" . NOTE: Referencing "Kung Fu" series, is to not be misconstrued as a vehicle to maintain credible information. It is included as to demonstrate how its creator-researched or applied data (somewhat monk-hood principals) to the series

    * Z2 : "Authentic"- A great analogy of swords. The manufacture of a sword in modern times in comparison to of when one like it was made in history long before. For example; upon the displaying of a samurai sword, observers often ask; "Is that real?". The sword on display is "real", but "authentic" may not be proper. The paradox is when, the techniques of making said centuries before, being still practiced by modern smiths, could it maintain the authenticity? Could the oral transmission have a defect, in some way, likewise a family "recipe" missing something over time? Does authentic apply to antiquity? Does antiquity apply to value? Why must people adhere to such things to add credibility or namesake? (Per example; My teacher/style practiced/is from Shaolin)

    *Z3 : It could be possible that a Buddhist monk (or a priest) train to fight. But, given that, because of the rules of monkhood, they will no longer be considered as monks. The question beckons, will they still be considered as a "Ordained Monk" -(Post 46) Perhaps a disciple or student studied before being ordained?

    I would like to thank everyone for their participation
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2015
  16. Dean Winchester

    Dean Winchester Valued Member

    It mind sound odd but I heartily recommend looking at the Illiad as an example of an oral tradition. Look at the various methods that are employed as mnemonic devices, then hunt down some commentaries and essays on it. Also comparing it to Vergil's work is interesting due to the difference between a literary piece and an oral one.

    In some ways similar aspects as seen in the Buddhist Suttra, the repetition of certain phrases and of course some of the methods of delivery itself. Chanting is a rather handy method for memorizing a teaching.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2015
  17. belltoller

    belltoller OffTopic MonstreOrdinaire Supporter

    I remember all of those scenes from the series. It went into syndication just about the time I came over - I do recall, even as a kid, thinking it odd that a television series devoted to martial arts fighting would feature an episode ("... preferred method.... Run away.") in which the main protagonists would choose to run away rather than display their martial skills.

    But it made sense and gave the series, I thought, a sense of realism through recognition of the idea of "limitation" - a novel concept, especially given that era of American Television.

    Unfortunately, none of that carried over to the series second incarnation.

    I think Tom to've meant that the idea of the PRC's modern, manufactured-for-export version of the Shaolin Temple - in particular the employment of Wushu acrobatics as a stand in for Gong Fu - would send his great-grandfather's blood-pressure to the stratosphere.

    I think you could relate to that :p
  18. belltoller

    belltoller OffTopic MonstreOrdinaire Supporter

    Now that's an interesting angle/perspective to view the topic of ancient Buddhist oral traditions from.

    Yeah, the oral traditions of Ancient Greece as a test-model for examining those of Ancient China and India.

    Cor...this thread is threatening to sprout a monster one.

    I sense a head-on train wreck with the Kung Fu-developing Jewish Spartans thread on the horizon.

    Advance tickets on sale now.
  19. Guitar Nado

    Guitar Nado Valued Member

    Side tangent - I just got a brochure dropped off at my house for Shen Yun - which is basically a Wushu-like Acrobatics dance/story type production - with no mention of martial arts (that I know of) in the marketing. They were dropping them off all over the neighborhood. I have always assumed it was some sort of PRC export when I have heard of it in the past.

    Then I actually looked at the brochure today - and it has several things in there about the PRC suppressing Chinese Culture, etc. Then I look at the address on the back of it - which is Falun Dafa Association, which explains that slant. I'm not really sure what to think of the Falun Dafa people really - it seems a bit like a cult, but I can see their point about prosecution by the PRC (which doesn't negate the cult bits).
  20. Tom bayley

    Tom bayley Valued Member

    The information below is from the home website of the club to which I belong. Ng Hei Kwoon was my great, great, grandfather teacher and was an ordained monk. Hang Yat Siu was my great grandfather teacher and was a lay monk. Lai Ng Sam was my grandfather teacher he was undergoing religious instruction prior to becoming a monk when the Japanese invaded Manchuria.

    Ng Hei Kwoon

    During the 1860’s Ng Hei Kwoon came to Canton and became the indoor disciple of Tit Kiu Sam. As well as studying with Tit Ku Sam, Ng Hei Kwoen also followed classes at the Canton dye works near Rainbow bridge. He trained there until the passing of Tit Kiu Sam in 1888. It was after this time that Ng Hei Kwoon devoted himself to Buddhism and started upon the monastic path taking on the name ’Yan Gong Sim Si’. After becoming an ordained monk his first disciple was a 13 year old boy called Hang Yat Siu.

    Hang Yat Siu

    Hang Yat Siu’s father was a member of the underground movement fighting against the government of his time. After his father’s death being still a young boy, Hang Yat Siu returned with his family to Canton in Kwantung his mothers birthplace. At the age of 13 he left his family and followed a nomadic path. Eventually he found his way to a small temple near Canton where he worked in the kitchen in exchange for food and shelter. After a time Hang Yat Siu devoted himself to Buddhism and became a lay monk taking the name ’Lin Hung Sim Si’. He became a student of the Zen master Yan Gong who taught him traditional martial arts. During his travels he met and befriended the father of Lai Ng Sam and after Lai Ng Sam’s father’s death adopted Lai Ng Sam as his son. As Hang Yat Siu grew older and his eye sight deteriorated his wanderings came to an end and he settled down at a small temple near Changsha, Wunam. During this time he accepted five more students and wrote letters of introduction to other teachers so his students could exchange forms and continue learning southern shoalin boxing.

    Lai Ng Sam

    Lai Ng Sam was born in Futshan village in Kwantung in 1927. His father was an herbal doctor and Mok Ga kung fu teacher. During his travels Lai Ng Sams’s father met Hang Yat Siu in the village of Shen Tong. The two became good friends and made a living selling herbs and giving kung fu demonstrations. When Lai Ng Sam was seven his father passed away and he was adopted by Hang Yat Siu. From 1934 Lai Ng Sam was the adopted son and student of Hang Yat Siu being trained in the arts of herbal medicine and southern Chinese boxing.

    In 1937 Japan invaded China with the intention of dominating the Asian mainland. It was a turbulent time for the Chinese people, and Hang Yat Sui and Lai Ng Sam were both actively involved in the resistance movement against the Japanese invaders.

    After the Second World War the true nature of the Maoist regime became obvious and in 1949 Hang Yat Sui instructed each of his students to flee the country. Lai Ng Sam was lucky to have succeeded in escaping mainland China, not many did. He arrived in Hong Kong where he made a new life for himself continuing to teach martial ars just as they were given to him. He taught at the YMCA, the Japanses embassy and in Victoria Park, where he taught on a daily basis. It was in this park, in the 1970’s, that Jeff Hasbrouck was introducted to Lai Ng Sam, becoming both a student and a friend. Tragically Lai Ng Sam contracted cancer and during his final days appointed Jeff Hasbrouck as his offical succesor. Sadly Lai Ng Sam passed away in November 1995.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2015

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