American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the by Matthew Polly

By Matthew Polly

Invoice Bryson meets Bruce Lee during this raucously shaggy dog story of 1 scrawny American's quest to turn into a kung fu grasp at China's mythical Shaolin Temple.

Growing up a ninety-pound weakling plagued by bullies within the schoolyards of Kansas, younger Matthew Polly dreamed of 1 day traveling to the Shaolin Temple in China to develop into the hardest fighter on this planet, like Caine in his favourite Nineteen Seventies television sequence, Kung Fu. whereas in collage, Matthew determined the time had come to pursue this quixotic dream sooner than it was once too past due. a lot to the dismay of his mom and dad, he dropped out of Princeton to spend years education with the mythical sect of clergymen who invented kung fu and Zen Buddhism.

Expecting to discover an remoted castle populated by way of supernatural ascetics that he'd visible in numerous badly dubbed chop-socky flicks, Matthew as a substitute found a cheesy vacationer seize run by means of Communist occasion hacks. however the committed clergymen nonetheless informed within the rigorous age-old scuffling with forms—some even training the "iron kung fu" self-discipline, during which in depth education could make a number of physique components almost indestructible (even the crotch). As Matthew grew in his wisdom of China and kung fu ability, he could come to symbolize the Temple in problem suits and foreign competitions, and eventually the clergymen might settle for their new American begin as with regards to certainly one of their very own as any Westerner had ever become.

Laced with humor and illuminated through cultural perception, American Shaolin is an unforgettable coming-of-age story of 1 younger man's trip into the traditional artwork of kung fu—and a humorous and poignant portrait of a swiftly altering China.

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Additional resources for American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch: An Odyssey in the New China

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First Zeng Guofan and then returning natives of the city constructed shrines to the heroic dead where officials and survivors could make offerings. Individual graves could also be ritual sites. The tombs of Baozhi (a Buddhist monk who bedazzled Emperor Liang Wudi in the early sixth century), of the first Ming emperor (who established his dynasty in Nanjing in 1368), and Fang Xiaoru (a scholar who died while opposing a usurpation of the throne in 1402) inspired poetic accounts, ritual performances, and reflections on the nature of imperial power in the nineteenth century.

The very notion of a “universal monarch” drew from the Buddhist model of the cakravartin (“wheel turning king”), whose chariot carried him throughout the world as he furthered the “greater vehicle” of Mahayana Buddhism. 31 Nanjing’s cityscape offered additional means of enacting the emperor’s many roles within China proper. To demonstrate the combination of Buddhist devotion and charismatic rule of the cakravartin, the emperor turned to Linggu Monastery, whose recent (Qing) history was relatively sedate, but whose deeper past was permeated with symbols of holiness and imperial power.

34 The monastery itself endured shifting fortunes. As of the founding of the Ming, it supposedly stood near the grave of Baozhi. And then the first Ming emperor, Zhu Yuanzhang, sufficiently respectful of antiquity, sanctity, and scenery to want to preserve what he found, yet not so pious that he was unwilling to exploit the area for his own purposes, moved the whole thing, which is to say that he had the buildings torn down and constructed anew at a different location. He did so in the course of transforming Nanjing into his new capital.

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