Are you curious about the connection between martial arts and Buddhism? Do you practice a style of gung fu rooted in Shaolin traditions and wonder what those traditions are? Are you looking for a spiritual path which is both practical and focused upon compassion, integrity, and peace?
If you have these or other questions about Sholin, we humbly recommend this book to you. Inside, you will learn about the key tenets of Shaolin Ch’an Buddhism, our martial styles, our history, our legends, and how our tradition differs from the recent reinvention of Shaolin in the People’s Republic of China. You will discover the details of a 1500 year old tradition focused upon the coordination of mind, body, and ch’i in the service of conquering suffering and promoting happiness.
As with all texts, these writings are dwarfed by a vast amount of empty space. The few words within float on an otherwise barren and lonely sea of paper. Do not ignore the empty spaces; do not discount what is left unsaid. Wide open spaces tend to generate more questions than answers, yet they have their own kind of wisdom as well. The depth of that wisdom is a reflection of ourselves.
PART 1: THE HISTORY AND SPIRITUAL PHILOSOPHY OF SHAOLIN
1. Welcome to Shaolin Ch’an
What is Shaolin?
The Purpose of This Book
Obstacles to Understanding
Who are the Shaolin?
Issues of Identity
2. History of Shaolin
Tamo and Early Shaolin Development
Development of Shaolin After the Time of Tamo
The Dark Side of Shaolin
Temples and Early Styles
Shaolin During the Early Ch’ing Dynasty
Legend of the Five Elders
Shaolin During the Late Ch’ing Dynasty
Shaolin and China in the 20th Century
Shaolin in America
Shaolin Ch’an and Other Religions
3. Shaolin Ch’an Buddhism
Many Paths: a Buddish Sects Education
The Four Noble Truths and the Eighfold Path
What Does the Buddha Mean by “Right”?
Spiritual Enemy Number One: the Ego
Shaolin Ch’an and Other Religions.
4. Lessons in Shaolin Philosophy
The Parable of the Empty Cup
The Teachings of Tamo
Will the Real Tamo Please Step Forward
The Nature of Truth
5. Inside the Shaolin Temple
Setting the Record Straight on Women and Sacred Objects
To be a Priest of Priestess
6. Shaolin Instructors and Public Perception
A Haunting Question
Shaolin Performing for Money?
PART 2: THE MARTIAL ARTS OF SHAOLIN
7. Gung Fu
The Illusion of Martial Dualism
“Robert Rules” of Combat
Stances: the Foundation of Gung Fu
Hand and Elbow Weapons
Blocks and Parries
Kicks and Sweeps
8. Overview of the Styles
9. The Circular Styles
Forms of Shaolin White Crane
Apllications of White Crane
Northern Praying Mantis
Non-Chinese Mantis Systems
Dragon Properties and Corresponding Systems
Origins of the Styles
Apllications and Forms
10. The Centerline Styles
Fighting Towards the Centerline: White Eyebrow
Fighting Outside-Inwards: Wing Chun
Fighting Inside-Outwards: Southern Praying Mantis
PART 3: INTEGRATING THE PRACTICES OF SHAOLIN
11. Foundations of the Shaolin Path
Basic Training Exercises
Intermediate Training Exercises
Advanced Training Exercises
A Basic Gung Fu Workout
12. Ch’i and Inner Power
Ch’I Kung Exercises
Hidden Valley: High-Level Meditation and Ch’i Kung
13. Coming Full Circle: Integrating Principles and Gung Fu
Martial Arts, Combat, and the Spiritual Warrior
Shaolin in the 21th Century: Contributor or Anachronism?