This chapter provides an overview of the Shaolin Monastery. The place was founded during the last decade of the fifth century by an Indian-born monk referred to in the Chinese sources as Batuo, or Fotuo. The monastery is situated in mountainous Dengfeng County, Central Henan. The poverty of the region highlights the place's significance for Dengfeng County's economy. By the late 1990s, the temple attracted more than a million tourists a year. The lodging, food, and transportation for the monastery pilgrims spurred the emergence of a tourist industry, which plays a major role in the region's development to date. On that note, Shaolin's intense commercialization is opposed by some of its devotees who believe that marketing the temple is contrary to Buddhist ideology.
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