On September 1, 2006, three dozen kung fu masters entered Shaolin Monastery
to begin their nine-day intensive meditation at Closing
Gate. It is part of the preparation for a top level
martial arts contest that has ever taken place in history
- or it is so claimed.
In his early film "Shaolin Temple", Jet Li practiced
Shaolin kung fu for good twenty years before facing his moment:
to pass the matrix of 18 Iron
Man - only after that he would be allowed to leave the
monastery and see the world. This scenario is not fictional
but an authentic Shaolin tradition. Now when the Gate is
reopened on September 9, the kung fu guys will once again
face the Matrix, and the world will have a chance to see
a live show of Iron Man battle.
Face the Matrix
By the time martial artists fight tooth and nail at Shaolin
for their place in the kung fu world, civil artists will
come to Shaolin to hold a joint seminar on Zen's place in
our lives. Their mission is to find a linkage between Zen
and comedy, Zen and music, Zen and kung fu, and Zen and just
everything under the sun.
And these are just a couple of introduction chapters. If
you want to skip to main content, wait until middle of October
when Shaolin is to open a grand theatre for Zen
Located in the Valley of Waiting Immortal, the open theatre
will be so epic that is capable of accommodating 700 performers
and 3000 audience at once. In this unspoiled corner, the
music can perfectly blend into the natural elements - the
sound of running water that reverberates in hush, and of
the pine trees audibly vibrating in night gusts. And the
surrounding hills, in the flicking lights of 1000 colourful
lanterns hidden among the trees, return echoes from all directions.
As audience sit on cushions meditating in this panoramic
setting, the melody flows unruffled and refined. In such
a united effort of contemplating the void and understanding
the indefinable, time stops, dimensions are lost, and the
rest of the world could just fade away ... ...
While in a short distance the temple stands quietly, illustrating
the power of silence.
Out of the Entrance
All these happenings are breathtaking. Yet not everything
is rosy. In recent months, Shaolin Monastery has attracted
great deal of criticism from the general public, being accused
of becoming less a Buddhist hub but more a business entity.
When the abbot expressed his delight over the award of a
luxury car for his work on promoting the local business overseas,
he was especially reproached for looking like a businessman,
talking like a businessman and acting like a businessman.
Probably he is the one. But who says a businessman can't
practice Buddhism? After all, there are a thousand ways to
enlightenment, aren't there?
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