Kung Fu, Shaolin Temple and Chan Buddhism in China and the World
Chan Buddhism was the historical origin of an international spiritual and cultural movement popular in pre-modern East Asia and in the post-WWII Western society. Also known as Zen (Japanese), Son (Korean), and Thien (Vietnamese), Chan Buddhism and its derivative traditions have undergone various transformations in history and are still evolving. One offspring is the martial art kung fu tradition originated from Shaolin Temple in Central China. Its lineage was first invented in sixth-century China by attributing its spiritual transmission to the Indian monk Bodhidharma who was supposed to have carried the Buddha’s secret mind teaching to China. This spiritual tradition was further developed into a martial art system which flourished in later China. In recent years, through the effort of Shaolin Temple, Chan and martial arts become even more closely connected. This talk will review the historical evolution of this unique tradition and highlight the key characteristics of Chan Buddhism and its connection to kung fu.