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Shaolin Temple

On the first day when I didn’t have a class to teach I headed to Shaolin Temple (少林寺), the birthplace of Kung Fu. The monastery has more than a 1,500-year history. However, most of the current buildings were built since the 1980s. Thanks to the pollution, it seemed much older.

Lots of Kung Fu movies have been filmed here, or at least the studios were made to look like they were shot at Shaolin Temple. This has contributed to the place becoming too touristy now.

There was a story about these lotus stones in the temple. I think the founder of the temple was able to walk across a river on lotus flowers or something. People walk on the lotus stones now for good luck.

Nearby there are several Kung Fu schools with hundreds of students in colorful, Kung Fu uniforms. The students were outside practicing all day.

I apologize for the poor quality of the above photo. Our driver never stopped at these places (which seemed less touristy and more interesting in some regards than the temple) so I took this photo from a speeding van.

The students are in these schools full time so they aren’t receiving a regular education. In addition, these schools are more expensive than regular schools in China. Our guide said the goal of the boys (or rather their parents who paid for them to be in these “boarding schools”) is to someday appear in Kung Fu movies.

There is one Kung Fu academy on the temple grounds. I caught these Kung Fu kids on their lunch break.

There is a dry river bed that runs along the walk on the side of the temple grounds. On the other side is a rather decent view. From photos like this, the haze gives the appearance of that special, mysterious Kung Fu feel. In person, the smell tells you that the mysterious fog is actually smog.

One Response to “Shaolin Temple”

  1. 1
    robert:

    The tree in the background of the first picture looks like as if he had been under influence of the envrionment of the temple. Thank you for showing a place one has seen only on TV before.