It's been a recurring theme, the whole concept of Buddhism and gong fu. A a most puzzling one at that. People always ask, what does this whole peace-loving philosophy and religion called Buddhism have to do with the Shaolin martial arts? How does one coexist with the other? Or, even more bizarre, how does one seem to depend so heavily upon the other? To the point whereby the loss of one might ultimately end up in the destruction of the other?
Talk about symbiotic relationships. It's something that really puzzled us back in 1995, when we discussed it with Shi De Ren, the Shaolin temple's accomplished Buddhist master. As I remember, we left even more puzzled than we were when we got there. And you really would not have understood the term "puzzled" until you met us.
And over the years, attempts to study Buddhism and other Eastern Oriental thought just ended in more dire confusion. One of the problems is that we, in the west, are brought up thinking in a way which tends to be more scientific, more cause and effect related, more direct, and more "rule" driven. Eastern Oriental thought tends to be more fluid, more indirect, more circuitous, and therefore, it requires more analysis and understanding, to see behind the words, instead of seeing the words themselves. We tend not to think this way, so we tend to get lost in it.
But, as I've learned more and more gong fu, I've also discovered the importance of learning more and more Eastern Oriental thought. You really can't learn one without the other. It's tough, but it's not incomprehensible. The last thing that I want to do here, though, is bore you with the details of Buddhism. Struggling through that is something that you should undertake on your own. Getting to the important stuff, and how it relates to gong fu, well, that is a worthy undertaking. And that is what we are going to try to accomplish here.
I'm fortunate in that there are some resident experts out there who are devoted to the promotion of the Shaolin arts, and some of them, are expert in these Oriental religions and philosophies. They have decided to dedicate and devote some of their valuable time so that you, our readers, might benefit from their expertise. I am forever grateful.
Especially since I still don't understand the stuff...
A huge essay on the various aspects of Chinese thought, including Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, and Christianity, can be found in the very large Cultural Foundations area. Comprising of not only a great introduction to the various ancient Chinese thoughts, it contains historical background and introductory explanations. This section of the Foundations area is a great way to get some background into the different aspects of ancient Oriental Thought.
The Buddhist Theory section contains explanatory essays on various basic aspects of Buddhist thought. Also included in this section is a large selection of unabridged Buddhist sutras.
The Chinese Thought section contains unabridged versions of ancient important Chinese texts, which exemplify relevant examples of ancient Chinese thought. There are some associated explanatory essays within this section also.
Cultural issues, Buddhism, and ancient Chinese philosophical thought
It would be very difficult to discuss and learn about Shaolin gong fu and Shaolin philosophy, without becoming educated in some of the various aspects of Buddhism.
This section is devoted entirely to some of the more important and relevant Buddhist sutras and other related information.
Ancient Chinese philosophical thought
Chinese history through the ages