Think people can’t fly? They do at the Songshan Shaolin Temple. Just remember not to take pictures of the Buddha, or you will be schooled by the closest monk…
We’re now about 800 km south of Beijing staying on the Songshan Shaolin Temple grounds. The temple dates back 1,500 years and is the birthplace of Zen Buddhism.
We toured the temple today, which we recognized from the movie “Shaolin.” I told Al he could play the part of the evil white dude, so he rubbed his belly and laughed.
We were lucky enough to see a Buddhist ritual taking place. We listened to the monks chanting and banging on drums and a gong.
I was really tempted to take a picture, but they have signs up everywhere in Chinese and English telling you not to use your camera. But Chinese people all around me had whipped out their cell phones to take pictures and videos of the ritual, so I was thinking I might do the same. I was about to reach into my camera bag when a monk broke chant and not only gave “the look” but also pointed at the offenders, who sheepishly moved on. Guess they are serious about the photos!
There are students everywhere on the temple grounds learning the Shaolin style of Kungfu. We saw kids as young as 6 or 7 taking classes here. Visitors from around the world also come for special classes, and there is a even group here from Africa.
Today we played “spot the white guy.” It came in useful yesterday when we were trying to figure out where to see the Kungfu show. I approached the only white dude for miles and asked how to get to the demonstration area. This will be our strategy from now on when we don’t have access to Google Translate.
And back to the flying bit – here are a few more photos!