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The Shaolin Grandmasters' Text: History, Philosophy, and Gung Fu of Shaolin Ch'an Paperback – February 15, 2008


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

The living authors are Shaolin monks who wish to remain anonymous, but who put the book together largely from written records and orally transmitted teachings from three Shaolin priests, all of whom passed away in the 1970's. They were Li En Huo, Hua Ling P'o, and Ben Ch'i Lo.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Order of Shaolin Ch'an (February 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0975500929
  • ISBN-13: 978-0975500927
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.6 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #334,339 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

I find this book to be very interesting.
Randy V. Brown
I've been studying Buddhism and practicing Kung Fu for over 10 years, and this book is the best source I've found on the history and philosophy of the Shaolin order.
Jason W. Bacon
Please save yourself the time and money and stay away from this book.
KVH

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By M42 on May 10, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Forty years ago I was fortunate to begin studying with a Shaolin Master whose teachers had come to America from China during one of the purges. These teachers were from both Southern and Northern temples and taught a blend of styles from those temples. The lessons, philosophy and teachings that were instilled in me have had a life long impact.

I was hesitant to buy this book because of a number of negative reviews I read on thisr forum. It was not until I did purchase and read this book did I realize all the negative comments had been made in light of comparing Shaolin to what one experiences today in martial arts gyms. Or by comparing the book to what is coming out of China's Communist state run newly created Shaolin Temples. The Chinese government has "restored" several of the temples and now have "warrior monks" traveling around the world performing for money. They even have branch temples here in America. The so called monks are nothing more than actors who perform an acrobat art called Wu Shu, which was invented by the Communist government in the 1950's.

When I read this book it was as if I had stepped back in time and was listening to my teacher. This book portrays the essence of Shaolin philosophy as it has been preserved by its monks for centuries. I did find some minor differences, but that is to be expected. If you are truly interested in what genuine Shaolin is about, regarding its philosophy as well as the styles of Wugong (Kung Fu) that was taught then pick up this book and read it carefully. I am happy that somebody is preserving the true history, art and philosophy of Shaolin.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Jason W. Bacon on February 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I've been studying Buddhism and practicing Kung Fu for over 10 years, and this book is the best source I've found on the history and philosophy of the Shaolin order. Some readers may be made skeptical by the anonymity of the authors, or may naively think that the "real" Shaolin monks must be in China. However, the reasons stated by the authors for fleeing China jibe well with historical fact, and the their views on the essence of Buddism vs. the practices of the various sects are right on target.

(Recommended reading: "The Buddha Speaks" + anything by the Dalai Lama) The authors are also very modest and realistic with respect to the certainty of the claims in this book. The more I read, the more I become convinced that the authors of this book are the real deal.

I have the utmost respect for the Kung Fu of the Shaolin monks on tour with "Wheel of Life". In fact I own a copy of the DVD. Their Kung Fu skills are nothing short of inspiring. However, anyone who understands Buddhism would realize that touring the world to attain honor for one's self or one's country is a contradiction to the basic goal of any Buddhist: abandonment of the ego. This is not to say that the monks in China are not true Shaolin at heart, but only that they have compromized on some aspects of the Shaolin way for (probably pragmatic) reasons that those outside the temple could only speculate about.

My advice: Be equally skeptical of all sources, READ THIS BOOK, and then decide for yourself.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By L.D. on October 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
I have this book and it's definitely a very interesting read especially for those unaware of the significant link between the practice of Shaolin martial arts and the practice of Chan Buddhism.

But like many books on Shaolin (and martial arts in general) it is largely based on hear-say: stories and legends told to them by their instructors or stories that were picked up in other "English" martial arts books. And they are very common Shoalin "legends" found in many texts and heard in many schools, here at home and abroad in Asia. And when compared to actual historical facts, those stories just don't hold up. Which was the same problem with another interesting but weak Shaolin title "Shaolin-Do: Secrets from the Temple".

The greatest deficiency of this book is it lack of an academic level of historical research in Chinese. How you can write a book about Shaolin and not have even one reference to Kang Ge Wu's work, as he is THE most prolific martial arts historian in Asia. His seminal work, "Complete Authentic Chinese Wushu" [...] is a phenomenal resource on the origins of nearly every martial art style of China. And then there is his English book "The Spring and Autumn of Chinese Martial Arts - 5000 years" which documents very clearly the historically significant points of martial arts for the past 5000 years. And most disturbing is the absence of Shi De Qian's life's work "The Shoalin Encyclopedia". How could these significant resources be missing from their reference list? Was anybody doing any research outside of their comfort zone?

There are many other historians they should have researched before this was published such as Ma Ming Da, Xu Zhen and Tang Hao to name a few. And that's my biggest complaint: the lack of an Academic level of research.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By KVH on August 9, 2012
Format: Paperback
I read this book, and thought something was not quite right. I did some research and found out that Kung fu magazine ( or maybe inside kung fu) had big forum on the internet about this book. Quite a few practitioners out there has some serious discrepencies with this book as I did. I went to contact " the order" and found that their website is shut down, and the only traces I could find on the internet was their filing for a non-profit buddhist organization. Please save yourself the time and money and stay away from this book. At the very least spend some time doing some research about the authors, " the order of the shaolin cha an", and read the criticisms.
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