Songshan Shaolin Scenic Area

Shaolin Monk Flying

Shaolin Monk Flying by fab to pix. Sourced via Flickr under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.

The Shaolin Temple is a Buddhist temple dating to the 5th century. It became famous for its brave warrior monks who help defend the area form raids by pirates from Japan and Taiwan. The monks had highly developed their martial arts skills. In particular the skill of using wooden staves. The temple is located on the side of Shaoshi, the western most peak of Songshan mountain. Songshan is one of the four most sacred mountains in China.

The temple has gone through periods of favour, destruction, reconstruction and again ruin before its current prosperity. At the beginning of the Qing dynasty, the temple was thought to support restoration of the former Ming Emperors. The Qing armies twice sacked the temple. Also during the 1960's cultural revolution, the temple was stripped bare of all religious materials and some of the monks publicly denounced, beaten and imprisoned.

Today the fame of the Shaolin Kong Fu has brought donations from many martial arts schools worldwide. Some people have tried to cash in on this fame by founding martial arts schools near the temple. These have now all been moved by the government to nearby Dengfeng city. Thus the temple maintains its original purpose. Dengfeng is described by some as a Kong Fu Disney land.

Map showing location of Songshan Shaolin Scenic Area

Above: Location of Songshan Shaolin Scenic Area in Zhengzhou, Henan, China