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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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(p.1) Introduction
The Shaolin Monastery

Meir Shahar

University of Hawai'i Press

This introductory chapter asserts that the Shaolin Monastery has become the most famous Buddhist temple in the world due to its association to the Chinese martial arts. Often presented as a combat style that originated at the Shaolin Monastery, the Chinese martial arts have spread the temple's fame among large populations not necessarily familiar with the Buddhist faith. This popularity raises the questions: Is Shaolin's fame justified? Did its monks ever practice the martial arts? If they did, their military practice would give rise to numerous religious, political, and military inquiries concerning contradictions between the monastic military training and the Buddhist prohibition of violence.

Keywords:   Shaolin Monastery, Chinese martial arts, Buddhist faith, martial arts, monastic military training, Buddhist prohibition

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