The Shaolin Temple
Where is the Shaolin Temple?
It is located in Dengfeng Ave, Dengfeng, Zhengzhou, Henan, China, at the southern foot of Mount Song, 13 km northwest of Dengfeng City, Zhengzhou City, Henan Province.
A map of the Temple grounds, which would come in handy before you enter the grounds, so that you have some idea of what there is to see:
A bit of history:
The Shaolin Temple was originally built in 495 during the Northern Wei Dynasty (368-534). For over 1500 years, Shaolin Temple has developed through good and bad times. The temple was firstly destroyed in the Northern Zhou Dynasty (557-581), then rebuilt much later as the Zhihu Temple. In the Sui Dynasty (581-618) the temple was renamed Shaolin and became one of the largest Buddhism monasteries in North China.
Good fortune in the early Tang Dynasty (618-907) was followed by bad fortune in the later of Tang Dynasty, it improved during the Song Dynasty (960-1279) until 1312 in Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) where it returned to its former glory. The Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) also made contributions to the development of Shaolin Temple.
Due to the wars of the modern era much of the Temple was destroyed.
The Shaolin Temple, nestled in the forested mountains of Henan, its the birthplace of Kung Fu and Zen Buddhism. The Shaolin Temple embraces many exciting attractions, such as the Hall of Heavenly Kings (Tianwangdian), and the Mahavira Hall (Daxiongbaodian)
This is not a single building, that’s not how the Chinese work. It’s a whole host of buildings, the first of which is up some steps, through a gate, then along a tree-lined avenue with monument stones to some more steps, past a cauldron burning incense, and then to the temple. There are several monks inside.
The front entrance:
Inside the entrance building, there are some large statues that I’m guessing are there to scare away the wrong sort of people
Once past these characters, you are on a walkway between pagodas where there are trees, and sculptures
and through the next pagoda brings you to the first of the temples. There are three doors and three buddas. This is through the middle door
And no you can’t go inside, you just stand on the outside looking in.
In one part of the temple there were three monks, and, believe it or not, they were all on their mobile phones.
This is certainly not ancient times, so what did the monks do before mobile communications?
Up some more stairs to the next building,
And so on till we reach the one at the top. Outside each is a cauldron burning incense, and that aroma hangs on the air everywhere you go in the compound.
Then it’s a case of what goes up must come down, and strangely enough, it doesn’t take as long to go back down, and in doing so we got to see and hear a bit of singing by the monks.
There was a story to go with the various buildings and other aspects but I didn’t hear half of it, and couldn’t understand our guide for the rest.
All in all, it was an interesting place, but still not worth the money we paid.