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The Shaolin Monastery: History, Religion and the Chinese Martial Arts



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Univ of Hawaii Pr
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The Shaolin Monastery charts, for the first time in any language, the history of the Shaolin Temple and the evolution of its world-renowned martial arts. In this meticulously researched and eminently readable study, Meir Shahar considers the economic, political, and religious factors that led Shaolin monks to disregard the Buddhist prohibition against violence and instead create fighting techniques that by the twenty-first century have spread throughout the world. He reveals the intimate connection between monastic violence and the veneration of the violent divinities of Buddhism and analyzes the Shaolin association of martial discipline and the search for spiritual enlightenment.

Author Biography

Meir Shahar is associate professor in the Department of East Asian Studies, Tel Aviv University.

Table of Contents

Maps and Figuresp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introductionp. 1
Origins of a Military Tradition (500-900)
The Monasteryp. 9
Serving the Emperorp. 20
Systemizing Martial Practice (900-1600)
Defending the Nationp. 55
Staff Legendsp. 82
Fist Fighting and Self-Cultivation (1600-1900)
Hand Combatp. 113
Gymnasticsp. 137
Suspect Rebelsp. 182
Conclusion: History, Religion, and the Chinese Martial Artsp. 197
Some Editions of the Sinews Transformation Classicp. 203
Notesp. 205
Glossaryp. 239
Works Citedp. 247
Indexp. 273
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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