In 1992, in the final days of a performance tour of the United States, 34th generation Shaolin monk Shi Yan Ming defected and hid out in a San Francisco basement before making his way to New York City. Now, 21 years later, he is the abbot and founder of the USA Shaolin Temple in Manhattan, where he is the shifu (teacher) of many disciples devoted to learning the ways of Ch’an Buddhism and Shaolin martial arts.
Amituofo means many things—it can be a greeting, it can express gratitude or condolences, or it can be a blessing. It is the transliteration of the Sanskrit “Amitabha,” and is used to express anything honestly from the heart. Watch our profile of Shifu Shi Yan Ming and the USA Shaolin Temple, and make sure to watch it big and play it loud. You can also download a transcript here.