On Wednesday, Sept. 8, Jeff, Malia, and I took an all-day trip with the adoption families to the Shaolin Temple and Kung Fu Institute. Shaolin is in the Songshan Mountains about two hours west of Zhengzhou (incidentally, as near as I can tell this city's name is pronounced Jung-Joe).
As our guide related the legend, about 1600 years ago a Buddhist monk from India found his way to these mountains. He spent several years holed up in a cave, meditating. When he came out, he had no strength. He invented "18“moves” for building strength and this is the basis for Kung Fu.
This Shaolin Kung Fu Institute website tells more of the story. Kung Fu was developed by the Buddhist monks to fight off thieves and opposing religions. Their fighting ability established their superiority. Here's a website picture.
We started our tour at this “pagoda forest” cemetery of notable monks.
Next, we strolled through the temple complex - quite a few buildings.
There was some nice music emanating from this chapel.
Touring the Shaolin temple, we worked our way up a hill through a series of buildings. On the way back down I espied a basketball backboard down a side path - hmm, Buddhist basketball. That ought to be an interesting sight.
However, the rim is missing, so it's been a while since the game was played there.
We concluded our visit by attending a kung fu demonstration. Very impressive and fast-moving. As with the acrobatic show in Beijing, my camera and I couldn’t keep up with the action. Before the show people from the audience who wanted to could go on stage for a picture staged with some of the performers. Two of our members are in this picture.
The Songshan Mountains behind the Shaolin temple are designated a World Geological Park. They were socked in while we were there, so we just got a hint of what they look like. There was a chairlift running back into the mountains, but we didn’t have time for that – also not a good trip for small children. Here’s an internet picture of a walkway attached to a mountain face. Looks like fun.
Also found a website with some artistic renditions of the Songshan Mountains. There are several mountain ranges in China that have this sort of mystical appeal that I’d like to see some day. Next trip?
Susie, Rob, Jeff, Valerie, Malia, Macy