( birthplace of Zen )

As the birthplace of both Zen Buddhism and the martial arts, the Temple of Shaolin is one of the most significant religious institution in China.

As the inspiration for countless kung fu movies, Shaolin has long held a romantic place in the western heart.

The Shaolin Monastery or Shaolin Temple, is a Chan Buddhist temple at Song Shan in Henan Province.The temple was firstly built in the year of 495 AD on Songshan Mountain during the reign of the Northern Wei dynasty (386-534) by the emperor Xiao Wen, as an isolated mountain monastery in central china, northwest of Dengfeng city.

The first abbot of Shaolin was Batuo, an Indian dhyana master who came to China in AD 464 to spread Buddhist teachings.

SHAOLIN TEMPLE is long famous for its association with Chinese martial arts and particularly with Shaolin Kung Fu, it is the Mahayana Buddhist monastery perhaps best known to the Western world.

The temple of Shaolin, although destroyed many times over the years, still stands today and upholds its proud tradition.

It is said that a holy man named Bodhidharma who came from India started teaching the monks some exercises to help them be healthy and strong. By this time, shaolin temple was regularly attacked by peasant armies . So later on, Bodhidarma's movements where slowly developed into self-defence movements. This marked the beginning of Shaolin Temple Gong Fu.

Many great martial artists, retired soldiers and generals would seek refuge there when they needed to escape powerful enemies or political persecution. So, their techniques would be incorporated into the Shaolin arsenal. Ta Mo's teachings were enriched and refined by these martial art masters. Slowly but surely the Shaolin became renown for their martial arts prowess and fighting ability.

Today, at Shaolin Temple on Songshan, students are not longer allowed to be trained within the temple walls. Instead, a number of Shaolin Wushu Schools, some years ago, opened their doors at the foot of the mountain, but the demand of students was too high that it began to get out of control. Therefore the shaolin schools were relocated to nearby Dengfeng or Zhengzhou cities. Enter Dengfeng by road and you will be overwhelmed by the sight of school after school lining the side of the road, housing thousands of students and all teaching a Shaolin branded form of wushu. The draw of the Shaolin name is huge, especially within China, and there are hundreds of wushu schools all providing a dream for young Chinese children - to be the next Jet Li or Zhang Ziy

Nowadays Shaolin Temple is merely a tourist attraction, although there are still some monks living there and studying the Buddhist scriptures. Some of this monks may still have one or two little shaolin kung fu disciples: The future generations of warrior shaolin monks.