CLIO FINAL - page 34

appears that the monks were so focused on their
mental peace of mind that they had neglected their
physical side. He believed that the body and soul
were united and not separately functioning entities
and so Buddhists should look after both in unison.
Henceforth, he tried to integrate exercise and
physical fitness into meditation. Taoism, another
religion of the time also helped in the formation
of Shaolin Kung Fu. Taoist monks were attracted
to the Shaolin temple as they shared similar ideas
of physical movements in religion. Basic forms of
these invigorating physical movements were called
Qigong, an art still practiced globally to this day. Al-
though this was far from the fast paced movements
of Shaolin Kung Fu, it laid the seeds for the monks
to later create and practise the art.
The work of Buddhidharma affects mod-
ern monks of the temple to this day. They were
encouraged to be self aware and self motivated.
The value of practice and hard work has never been
overlooked in Buddhism as they have a motivation
to gain Nirvana. The training regimen of Shaolin
monks is seen by many onlookers as brutal, but to
the Shaolin it is necessary. Their strength in com-
bat has been admired for centuries and has been
seen as magic by many. Well practiced, experienced
monks have the ability to break stone with their
heads, deal with a trident prong in the stomach and
run distances across water surfaces supported only
by plywood boards. Their philosophy is to eliminate
the pain felt by a monk through practice. For exam-
ple the sensitive fingers have many nerves, making
them very receptive to pain. However, once con-
ditioned and subject to a regular painful exercise,
the brain doesn’t notice the pain. The incredible
feats are accomplished by the channelling of chi.
It is an energy they believe flows through the body
and they attempt to channel it to a specific region
that they are using. For instance, when breaking
a wooden board with their fist, they channel their
chi to their fist, after practicing and conditioning
their first to deal with the ensuing pain. This overall
combination allows Shaolin monks to accomplish
seemingly impossible feats of strength.
At a first glance, it seems impossible that
a peaceful religion such as Buddhism could influ-
ence a martial art so vast and influential in Asia
and now across the world. The two seem almost
incomparable but really they share large common
aspects .Buddhism’s key virtues such as patience
and non-violence seem at first largely contrasting
however they do correlate strongly with Shaolin
Kung Fu. This martial art preaches mental peace
of mind and many self defence mechanisms which
are heavily linked to the virtues of Buddhism. The
self-discipline involved to achieve highly in both
religion - through enlightenment and martial arts-
through grades are remarkable.
Dhylan Patel and Ben Harrison 9LT
1...,24,25,26,27,28,29,30,31,32,33 35,36,37,38
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