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The Shaolin MonasteryHistory, Religion, and the Chinese Martial Arts$
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Meir Shahar

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780824831103

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824831103.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM HAWAII SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hawaii.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hawaii University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HSO for personal use (for details see http://www.universitypressscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 17 July 2018

Serving the Emperor

Serving the Emperor

(p.20) Chapter 2 Serving the Emperor
The Shaolin Monastery

Meir Shahar

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter contrasts Buddhism's prohibition of violence with Bhuddist monks' participation in war. Binding the clergy and laity alike, the first of the Five Buddhist Precepts forbids killing a living being (bu sha sheng). The prohibition applies to all sentient beings, humans as well as animals. The religion's objection to war is translated into its monastic code that forbids monks to carry arms or join an army. Monks are also not allowed to fight themselves, nor to incite others to fight. Despite these rules, monks took an active role in fighting along China's northwestern borders, as revealed by the late Tang manuscripts, which were discovered at the famed Dunhuang Caves in Gansu. Their military service was associated with the dynasty's Buddhist policies.

Keywords:   violence, Five Buddhist Precepts, Tang, Dunhuang Caves, military service, bu sha sheng, Buddhism, Bhuddist monks, Shaolin

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