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The Shaolin Grandmasters' Text: History, Philosophy, and Gung Fu of Shaolin Ch'an Hardcover – January 15, 2005


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Hardcover, January 15, 2005
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Order Of Shaolin Ch'an; 6 edition (January 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0975500902
  • ISBN-13: 978-0975500903
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 7.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,684,827 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

...provides very specific information and insights...for...this rigorous physical, mental, and spiritual way of life. -- October Bookviews.com - Alan Caruba

...richly informative and very strongly recommended survey of Shaolin...Especially commended to the attention of dedicated martial artists... -- Midwest Book Review

About the Author

Written by the Order of Shaolin Ch'an who wish to remain anonymous, this book was compiled from the written records and orally transmitted teachings of three Shaolin priests who passed away in the 1970s. They were Li En Huo, Hua Ling P'o, and Ben Ch'i Lo.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 16 customer reviews
It is a well written book in good English.
Friend
I am a contributor to The Shaolin Grandmasters' Test, and would like to make some comments about the book.
OSC
A great mix of philosophy and martial arts.
Joseph Wales

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

94 of 99 people found the following review helpful By OSC on September 16, 2005
I am a contributor to The Shaolin Grandmasters' Test, and would like to make some comments about the book. I will do my best to represent other contributors, both living and deceased. Complaints that we fail to shower compliments upon the People's Republic of China (in general) and the resurrected Shaolin Temple in Honan Province (specifically) are not without substance. Many reviewers who are affiliated with the new Shaolin Temple may be offended by our book because we have tried to be truthful. Our perhaps it is simply the blunt presentation.

The PRC today employs tens of thousands of human and computerized monitors to censor the information accessible by the Chinese people. Internet sites with the word "freedom" typically do not make it onto the computers of Chinese citizens. The PRC continues to imprison Tibetan Buddhists who so much as say something positive about the Dalai Lama. The Shaolin Temple is the nucleus of a massive tourist industry, and has given rise to kung fu schools nearby for 10,000+ Chinese boys - keeping many young men "occupied" in a nation where the ratio of men:women is horribly skewed. Shaolin kung fu schools in Europe have been sued for using the "Shaolin" name - by an entity intimately connected with the Shaolin Temple. Stating these sorts of facts earn us the distinction of "having no room in our heart[s] for mainland China".

Our book is far from perfect. Many of our now-deceased priests were old enough to feel some personal bitterness over the incompetence of the Ch'ing dynasty, and many of our senior members had negative personal experiences with "Red China". In some places in the book, this bitterness shows. Deciding to leave some of these sentiments in the book was not a simple decision, but perhaps it was a wrong one.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By D. Zeitler on February 25, 2007
I have studied many types of "Shaolin Kung Fu" - and let's get one thing clear from the beginning: There are many, many incorrect views out there about what "Shaolin" really is. This book, in my opinion, comes the closest to a genuinely authentic version of "Shaolin."

After studying for over two years as a lay-monk (i.e., taking Bodhisattva vows, studying Sutras, and doing 'kung-fu') under the current Temple's "official" US representative monk in Flushing, NYC, I learned only ONE martial move. That monk is himself an accomplished iron-body master. Yet he did not do any iron body training during my stay. (Nor did any of his students - it was ALL modern wushu for us). Nor was there any type of meditation practice. There was a strong sense of community, which was appealing.

I moved on to study Jin-Woo, which incorporated many authentic Shaolin forms before Mao took over China. Unfortunately, many Jin-Woo schools are continuing this impulse, and are "incorporating" modern wushu as well, to the point where many no longer teach any authentic, traditional Kung-Fu. I am much happier knowing three authentic Shaolin forms, instead of knowing 20 modern wushu forms that are Shaolin in name-only.

Where is Shaolin? Well, we all romanticize the "warrior-monks" of legend. But adhering to the philosophy of Shaolin requires taking the Bodhisattva vow, abiding by the rules of a monastery, and practicing Kung-Fu as an augmentation to sitting meditation. The closest thing that comes to Shaolin, nowadays, is Integral Institute's "Integral Life Practice".

I have only two small problems with this book:
1) It is not nearly polemical enough in deriding the ridiculous charlatans that perform flashy wushu with bald heads and saffron robes.
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30 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on October 12, 2004
The Shaolin Grandmasters' Text: History, Philosophy, And Gung Fu Of Shaolin Ch'an is a richly informative and very strongly recommended survey of Shaolin history, Buddhism, and the martial arts associated with Shaolin practitioners. The authors purport to be two Shaolin monks with a direct and unbroken lineage to the Shaolin Order of dynastic China. Enhanced with charts, photographs, and themed artwork, this 304-page compendium is informed and informative as to Shaolin martial arts practices and the Buddhist philosophy that undergirds them. Especially commended to the attention of dedicated martial artists, The Shaolin Grandmasters' Text will also prove to be of particular interest to students of Buddhism and will correct a great deal of modern misinformation put out from the People's Republic Of China's attempted commercialized resurrection of Shaolin -- as well as the American cinema's distortions of authentic Shaolin practices.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By J. Eubanks on November 19, 2005
The primary strength of this book is that it sincerely attempts to remain loyal to the superiority of an historical analysis of Shaolin Chan and its associated martial arts. As any good academic will tell you, a given topic can only be understood in its historical time and place. The Shaolin Grandmasters' Text does an outstanding job at reaching for this standard while always acknowledging that no one has all of the pertinent facts of a 1500 year old lineage such as Shaolin Chan. Combined with this historical analysis are general overviews of several gongfu styles and fundamentals of the Shaolin moving arts. One of the overall messages of this book that grants it such value is the emphasis on the reason for Shaolin Chan: to cultivate self-awakening. This book is recommended for the novice and the instructor.
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