Shaolin

The Mystical Power of the SHAOLIN KUNG FU

 

THE HISTORY OF THE SHAOLIN MONASTERY

The Shaolin monastery, situated in the Province of Henan about 700 km in the Southwest of Beijing, celebrated the 1500 years of its existence in 1995. It was founded by the Indian monk Tamo who translated the Buddhist teachings into Chinese and developed a new doctrine in the course of this translation: Zen Buddhism. In contrast to the classical teachings, Zen Buddhism focuses more on the union between body and mind. The founder of the Song Shan monastery awakened a new body consciousness, called Wushu by the monks, by observing nature and through meditation. The goal is the control of the body through the power of the mind. The monks developed meditation and training exercises which gave them incredible physical skills. Over the years, these training methods were the origin of the martial arts known in the West like, for example, Kung Fu. However, the monks never saw themselves as mere Kung Fu fighters or soldiers, their special skills were only a side effect of the training. The aim was and is to be able to control the energy flow of the body, which they call Chi. This control turns parts of the body unsusceptible to pain. The monks break cast iron rods on their own heads and wooden clubs break on their bodies without leaving a trace. These exercises are not an end in itself, but a proof of this body control.

In the more than 1500 years of its existence the Shaolin monastery had a very changeful history. It was destroyed and rebuilt several times. Every now and then the monks were committed to defend the Empire due to their skills. However, the basic principle of the soldier monks was always self-defence. Over the years, the region around Shaolin became the spiritual centre of China. More than 70 monasteries are found there, many of them are presently being renovated and rebuilt.

Since the monasteries became deserted and the knowledge of the monks had almost fallen into oblivion during the Cultural Revolution, the Provincial Government of the Province of Henan founded an academy together with the monastery. The students there both receive an excellent education and are also introduced to the secrets of Wushu by the teaching monks. The students are trained according to the master class system. The Shamis (students, novices) practice 15 to 20 years until they reach master ship and are allowed to teach. The final examination is a „masterpiece“, an exercise with one of the 18 classical weapons or one of the famous animal imitations.

This is where our project comes in. These master exercises, performed in China in public on a regular basis, are the framework of the show. The exercises are performed by masters and students from Shaolin, who all live according to the stringent rules of Zen Buddhism.

Billetsalget starter august 2017