I’ve blogged about the high-flying Shaolin monks at least once before, but what can I say? I love the photographs of these kung-fu Buddhists. And they’re always up to something fun like performing at the Sydney Opera House. The Shaolin Temple has decided to tap into the appeal these monks carry in order to promote Chinese Buddhism around the world. According to provincial spokesman Li Hongwei, they would like to raise the number of Shaolin temples, Taiji schools and Confucius schools overseas in order to enhance the international influence of Chinese culture.
From China’s Global Times:
Cui Wei, a researcher at the Buddhism Academy of China, told the Global Times that the Shaolin Temple is both the promoter of Chinese kungfu and Chinese Buddhism.
“The overseas growth of Chinese Buddhism is still very limited. We have no official missionary monks and no officially funded temples, but the cultural centers launched by Shaolin Temple are a good way to promote Chinese Buddhism,” Cui said.
However, Cui said most foreigners identify Shaolin with kungfu, instead of its Buddhist traditions. “I believe that is because Shaolin kungfu is more visual compared to Buddhism, and is easier to learn and understand,” said Cui. “But we should not ignore the Buddhist nature of Shaolin Temple.”
That’s cool. I’m glad they aren’t going to ignore the Buddhist nature of Shaolin, but let’s all hope it never comes at the expense of the kung-fu.
Start your day with a fresh perspective
Thank you for subscribing to Tricycle! As a nonprofit, we depend on readers like you to keep Buddhist teachings and practices widely available.