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Rebranded Shaolin temples open today

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Today four temples in Kunming's Guandu district officially reopened under management by Shaolin Temple, the temple where kung fu is believed to have originated. The temples have been rebranded as "Guandu Shaolin Temples" according to a Shanghai Daily report.

Shaolin Temple abbot Shi Yongxin (释永信) signed a trusteeship agreement last November with Kunming's Guandu district government to take over management of four ancient temples in Guandu: Miaozhan Temple (妙湛寺), Tuzhu Temple (土主庙), Fading Temple (法定寺), and Guanyin Temple (观音寺).

Under the agreement, Shaolin Temple will operate the temples for 20 years. At present there are 46 Shaolin monks in the Guandu temples, which are now free to the public. Admission had formerly been five yuan.

In exchange for taking over management duties at the four temples, Shaolin Temple will receive all profits generated by the temples via sales of religious paraphernalia, religious texts and any donations made by visitors. Shaolin would also get all the money generated by ticket sales should it reinstate entry fees.

Image: www.xiwuhui.com

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hmm I wonder if it is possible to study kungfu there.... or is it more a touristic place?

This isn't a rant. It is said with a little sadness.

This development is good for Kungfu, but perhaps not so good for Buddhism. Anyone who has visited the main Shaolin Temple will have experienced Kung Fu Incorporated. Including the Kung Fu cabaret, Cirque de Soleil rip off, blatant commercialism, and overpricing. The only thing missing are the harlots and moneychangers. Call me cynical, but many Chinese visitors I have spoken to are also saddened and disappointed (with a capital D) by the culture.

Many temples are now attracting money from many sources, and the need for commercialism is not as strong as it used to be. Those temples that have not already died, seem to be more stable than before, many are renovating.

Shaolin Temple, in the region of Songshan Mountain, Dengfeng City, Henan Province, is reputed to be 'the Number One Temple under Heaven'. Shaolin Temple history can date back to Northern Wei Dynasty (386 - 534), and it played an important role on the development of the Buddhism in China. Included on UNESCO's World Cultural & Natural Heritage List in 2010, it is the cradle of the Chinese Zen Buddhism and the Shaolin Martial Arts such as Shaolin Cudgel.


As the center of Chan Buddhism, the Shaolin Temple attracted many emperors' attention in China's history.


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