Shaolin Temple in Songshan Mountain, central China's Henan province has sent invitation cards overseas to call on Kongfu masters worldwide to take part in the "Martial Arts Competition" to be held this month.
Apart from "China's 18 martial arts arhats" to be selected from China, another 5 martial arts champions will be selected from overseas. All the shortlists will compete for the title of "Star of Chinese Martial Arts" worldwide.
It is believed that this will be a "real world martial arts competition" sponsored by Shaolin Temple, which consequently sparks the international attention.
Foreigners are fond of "Chinese Kongfu".
Nowadays, just like the dragon and lion dances, the performance of Chinese martial arts has become an essential part of festive celebrations in overseas Chinese communities, and gradually the influence of Kongfu has gone beyond Chinese circles.
Countless men and women, old and young have been crazy about the martial arts performance shown in the movie Shaolin Temple. Even in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, the Roof of Africa, there are 17 Chinese martial arts halls sponsored by local Kongfu coaches.
Proceeding from the worship and affection towards Chinese martial arts, both coaches and players there perseveringly strive for the art of Kongfu, and several thousand locals join them annually. Their earnest wish is to learn Kongfu directly from the Chinese masters and some of them even dream of learning Kongfu in China, the birthplace of martial arts.
"Foreign disciples" and "foreign Shaolin Temples" increase.
The establishment of Shaolin temple overseas branches is another great step that carries Shaolin martial arts forward.
Presided by Master Guolin, the Shaolin Temple in New York's Flushing District where the Chinese community congregates is the first sub-temple in the US.
So far, the number of disciples of British, Spanish, Russian, South American and African origins in the temple has increased to 50 percent from the previous 10 percent when it was founded in 1995. Among the Kongfu learners, there are women too. The Shaolin Temple in New York has trained several thousand of disciples of various origins in the past decade.
There are also Shaolin branches in other US cities including Houston and Los Angeles. Master Guolin often delivers lectures there.
In July 2001, a German disciple of Shaolin established a Shaolin Culture Centre in Berlin. With an area of some 2,000 square meters and usable green land of 10,000 square meters, and several thousand of registered learners, the center has become the largest Chinese temple in Europe.
Shaolin branches not only serve as the martial arts halls, but also the centre for spreading Buddhist thought. The centre is widely known in Germany, and it has even become a hot tourist spot in Berlin.
Shaolin Kongfu becomes global.
Shaolin Temple launched its official Chinese language website in 1996 and published the secret works of Shaolin martial arts such as Muscle Tendon Change Classic, Bone Marrow Washing as well as 72 unique skills, disseminating Chinese Kongfu and Chinese culture.
Shaolin Temple in Songshan Mountain began to receive Buddhist, martial arts and cultural delegations and government officials from Japan, South Korea as well as Europe and the US since the late 1970s. With a total of nearly 300 visitors in over 20 delegations every year, the exchanges have become more and more frequent in recent years. Meanwhile, Shaolin monks have also gone abroad for international conferences on religion and other Buddhist rituals.
Shaolin Temple so far has not only charity and welfare fund and Chanlu Magazine Publishing House, but also other affiliate organizations such as Shaolin Industrial Development Company and Film and Television Company.
However, Shaolin Temple's commercial operations have drawn criticism from outside. Many people censured it for seeking fame and gains, which went against the aim of Buddhism, and some Shaolin disciples worried that too many public activities would affect their practice.
Shi Yongxin, the Buddhist abbot with Shaolin Temple pointed out that every monk has his specific duty, some devoted to practice, some to study and some to fame and gains. Everyone can choose the future he likes. If some monks want to be businessmen, it is up to them.
Others say that the temple is so near to the busy commercial centers, it's inevitable that they are influenced by commercial thoughts.
By People's Daily Online