Shaolin Temple, Dengfeng China

Read Wikipedia's: Shaolin Master

On Oct 11, 2013 we flew from Kunming to Beijing. On this leg of the trip our final destination was the Shaolin Temple and Training Center in Dengfeng, China. The following morning we left Beijing aboard one of China's high speed trains for Zhengzhou, 450 miles south. From Zhengzhou our Dengfeng exit was 46 miles southwest, so we changed trains. Once in Dengfeng we had to use three buses to travel the last 9 miles, northwest out of the city. The first bus connection was easy, we boarded it inside the well marked, combination train/bus depot. The second bus connection was supposed to be a number of blocks away, streets and sidewalks were very crowded and communication was a problem. Traffic intersections were constantly being slowed by entrepreneurs. Fortunately we met a young English speaking college student who took charge. She located the bus station, communicated with ticketing people and the bus driver then saw us aboard the second bus. A short time later the bus driver delivered us to the third and final bus. We traveled northwest out of Dengfeng on limited access highway G207. As we had discovered in Kunming and Beijing, China's freeway system is well done. We climbed through green timber for about 30 minutes then pulled into the Shaolin parking lot. I discovered sometime later, the training center is a special place where Zen Buddhism and martial arts share the same origin and goal. The school believes that exercising with Shaolin Kung Fu reshapes, or at least improve one's disposition, by ridding the mind of aggressiveness and worldly disturbances. To this end the facility was located in the foothills of spectacular Songshan and Shaoshi Mountains.

Shaolin Temple & Training Facility
  • Highway G207 to the Shaolin Temple, Dengfeng, China

As you walk past the introduction and welcoming area a large stone walkway leads you into the ticketing and temple grounds. Past the second set of arches the walkway is lined with buildings that are used to support the history and activities of the training center. Exercise areas are on the left and right and demonstrations are held in front of some of the buildings.

Past all the buildings, and on the right, you will find a large Stupa and cemetery area. The graves are the resting place of numerous past masters of Shaolin Kung Fu. As for the Stupa, the following is the first paragraph of an extensive explanation: "The Stupa represents Buddha's holy mind, Dharmakaya, and each part of the Stupa shows the path to Enlightenment. Building a Stupa is a very powerful way to purify negative karma and obscurations, and to accumulate extensive merit. In this way you can have realizations of the path to Enlightenment and be able to do perfect work to liberate suffering beings, who equal the sky, leading them to the peerless happiness of Enlightenment, which is the ultimate goal of our life." Further more, a second source explained that a Pagoda is an evolved Stupa.

I am bummed that we did not have time on this trip to visit Mount Songshan, Shaosi, the Sanhuangzhai scenic area or Damo: Work in progress. I did provide some incredible pictures of what the Chinese have done in these mountains.

There is six Shaolin Training Centers in the USA: San Francisco, Fremont and Sunnyvale, Ca, Herndon, Va, Soho and Fleischmanns, New York. Read what Wikipedia has to say, then look at what this man, Shifu Yan Ming, who at that time could not speak English, built in Fleischmanns, New York.

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