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Shaolin Temple

china shaolin templeShaolin Temple in Dengfeng County, Henan Province, is known in and outside of China for Shaolin wushu (martial arts). The temple was built in 495, the 19th year of the reign of Emperor Xiaowen of the Northern Wei Dynasty and was named Shaolin because it is at the northern foot of Shaoshi Mountain and surrounded by densely growing trees (lin means forest).

In 527, the Indian monk Bodhi dharma came to China and settled at Shaolin Temple, where he began to preach Chan (Zen), a form of Buddhism originating in India. This was the beginning of Chan Buddhism in China, with Bodhidharma as the first teacher and Shaolin as the first temple. Later, during the Tang Dynasty (618-907), Chan became the most influential branch of Buddhism in China.

Bodhidharma advocated self-cultivation through sitting meditation and held that meditation is of primary importance to the attainment of Buddhahood. He set an example by sitting with his face to the wall in a rock cave northwest of the Shaolin Temple for nine years, and his shadow became engraved deep into the rock face. The rock is now in Baiyi Hall at Shaolin Temple, and the cave is now known as Bodhidharma Cave.

 Other Places in Luoyang
Longmen Grottoes The Guan Yu Forest  


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