I teach Chan Buddhism.
I met a monk from the Shaolin Temple, who is sanctioned by The Shaolin Temple, and uses the name Shaolin Kung Fu and Shaolin Temple and Chan Buddhism in his literature.
When I asked him how he teaches Buddhism in his classes, he replied, “We don’t teach any Buddhism.”
I’m still working this out in my mind. I’m looking at his pamphlet he gave me showing him always dressed in Shaolin monk robes…
His literature is interesting. I’m not sure what I can use of it for describing my school yet. I’m trying to figure out what it means for his school.
One of his explanations is that, “Shaolin kung fu is a part of Shaolin Chan (Zen) culture and is Shaolin Monks’ preferred method to practice Chan (Zen).”
That is kind of cool, but I think it’s an excuse not to study Buddhism. Wow. So Shaolin monks prefer to ‘practice’ Zen Buddhism by doing Kung Fu. I think Kung Fu is an amazing ingredient of Zen Buddhism, but I don’t think it was intended to replace all the Buddhist Dharma, the Buddhist teachings and studies and enlightenment that won’t exist in dancing around with a sword.
I agree with that whole-heartedly, but when you’re done jumping around–WHAT do you concentrate on? No enlightenment or wisdom or philosophy?
So the Government Monk qualifies this void of information with, “In Shaolin Kung Fu Chan (Zen), the optimal goals are to cultivate the mind through meditation and to achieve harmony in breathing.”
Sorry, but I’ve been watching people “meditate” for enlightenment and control their breathing for 50 years. “Harmony in breathing” sounds cute but what does that mean? Obviously, I teach EVERY student of mine “harmonious breathing” (with the diaphragm) in order to graduate the very first semester of my Tai Chi class. I think it is as important as walking… but not much to be proud of.
“Cultivating the mind through meditation” doesn’t happen. Sorry. There are millions of dollars being spent every year by people expecting something wonderful to happen by ‘doing nothing.’ I don’t make false promises like that because my students do gain skills and health and abilities through meditation–but our mediation is nothing like anyone else is offering. Our Shaolin Chi Mantis meditation is a one-year program that requires effort and diligence and Kung Fu and Tai Chi and breathing and INFORMATION. My students cannot possibly learn or discover what I’m teaching without THE INFORMATION that doesn’t exist in the ‘doing nothing’ classes…
I not only teach them the Original Buddhism, plus Chan (Zen) Buddhism; I also teach Confucianism, plus Taoism, plus oriental strategy, plus common sense. I teach my students to understand the “nature of the rule.” That is OUR Buddhism. Buddhism is about enlightenment. IF you know Shaolin Kung Fu — you have the ability and desire to teach it. IF you know Buddhism — you have the ability and desire to teach it.
I’m 1,000 years out-of-line here. The Shaolin Temple is owned by the Chinese Government which does not support Chan Buddhism. So someone trained by the Chinese Government knows what the Chinese government allows you to know since they are paying your rent. I haven’t met a Shaolin Monk yet who teaches Buddhism. I tried to teach some Buddhism to one of those graduate monks of the The Shaolin Temple in China. I was hoping to help him with his gambling addiction.
In support of my recent Shaolin brother he explains that he offers “inner peace… self-confidence… physical coordination… and self-confidence.” But that’s what you’ll get from any Mixed-up Martial Art or Karate school. The “inner peace” will come from quitting Karate. Then people aren’t punching and kicking your “inner peace” any more.