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Celebrated in pop culture as a martial arts Mecca, Shaolin Temple is also one of the world’s most important Mahayana Buddhist monasteries and the birthplace of Zen (Chan) Buddhism.
Homegrown Taoist philosophy influenced how Buddhism, an import from India, was practiced in Shaolin, emphasizing observing and living in harmony with nature. According to legend, the local variant of Kung Fu originated in 520AD when Bodhidharma, a Zen (Chan) Buddhist monk, devised a set of breathing and training exercises to help fellow monks build their inner strength and protect themselves in their harsh, remote mountain home. Over time, the monks developed these exercises into a complex fighting system that combines internal, meditation-based training and breathing with fighting techniques inspired by animals’ movements, hence their names: Praying Mantis, Tiger, Toad, Bird, Dragon, and Monkey, to name a few.
For this program, Shaolin monks will perform a Kungfu show and teach a 6-hour Kungfu class. Students will also hike Mountain Song, enjoy a vegetarian meal at Yongtai temple, visit the Longmen caves, and experience local cooking at a neighboring vocational school. Students will be fully immersed in Henan culture and walk away with an experience like no other.