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  1. --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!

    Shaolin monastery becomes money-making machine

    <b>Shaolin monastery becomes money-making machine</b> (AFP)

    <img src="http://www.bullshido.net/images/news/shaolin.jpg" align=left>Every morning as a new fleet of buses unloads tourists at the Shaolin temple, Li Yaojin thinks wistfully about the peaceful days two decades ago when he first arrived as a Buddhist novice. “Now there are just too many people here,” he says, as the main temple courtyard fills with visitors speaking loudly in a variety of languages. “It's hard to find a quiet place to meditate.”
    Shaolin, famous as the birthplace of China's martial arts, has emerged as a well-oiled money-making machine servicing hordes of tourists attracted to the scene of countless kung fu novels and movies.

    They come to this remote part of central Henan province in hopes of seeing authentic monks miraculously surviving in some sort of time capsule. But what they find instead is exploitation of the Shaolin myth on an industrial scale.

    Eighty-three martial arts schools with a total enrollment of 40,000 line the road from the large town of Dengfeng to the sprawling temple complex itself, where souvenir sellers and minibus drivers stand ready to welcome the tourists.

    “We're very worried about the impact of all the tourists, but there's nothing we can do,” said Li Songjiang, a staff member of the monastery. “Speaking on behalf of Shaolin, I'd say we don't even welcome one single tourist here.”

    The massive influx of tourists has turned the monastery's 180 monks into bewildered and unhappy strangers in their own homes, or worse, exotically dressed workers in the tourism trade.
    When Sun Zhongfei's parents sent him to the monastery at the age of 10, they thought he would be trained as a monk, but three years later he spends most of his day selling souvenirs. “My mom and dad said, 'Buddhism has brought so much good to people', and wanted me to spend my life in the service of religion,” he says, taking time off amid efforts to hawk 60-yuan Shaolin-themed T-shirts.
    While the temple has sold its soul to tourism, it has got very little in return, according to the staff.

    “Entrance tickets are 40 yuan, but the local government takes 30 yuan for itself,” said Li, the staff member.
    Many of the temple buildings greeting the tourists are of recent date — some constructed as late as 2004 — and as artificial as much of the Shaolin martial arts antics known from Hong Kong cinema. Constant rebuilding has been a necessity, as the monastery has been battered through its 15 centuries of meticulously recorded history.

    Thousands of young Chinese men, and a fair number of women, go to Shaolin to learn kung fu and other martial arts from the source. It is estimated that about 10,000 foreigners, too, have taken classes since the temple area opened to tourism in 1988.


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    <i>I am very saddened... :icon_sad: </i>

  2. Wounded Ronin is offline
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    Posted On:
    11/28/2004 11:38am

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    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I think it's important to take things like this into perspective. Many of the important historical Buddhist temples in Japan are now tourist attractions. But, historically, these famous temples and monastareys probably had their fair share of political involvement, just like the Shaolin temple. Is it so bad that today people who are interested in learning history can give some money to support the historical sites and learn just a little bit about history?

    In Japan, I've seen Buddhist monks selling magical charms at tourist stores, and it made me sad. But on the other hand I had been able to see leftovers of history in person. I've even seen recently-constructed buildings and crap like that but if you look closely the remnants of history are still there.

    At the very very least, at the Shaolin temple, a tourist might be able to see a real monk meditating or something.

    So I really don't think that it's all bad.
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  3. NextGuard is offline
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    Posted On:
    11/28/2004 5:49pm

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    What interested me was the quote about 15 centuries of meticulously preserved history... I wonder it has ever been translated.
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  4. Shimora is offline

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    Posted On:
    11/29/2004 5:09am


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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    At least there would be no difference in the fighting abilities of fake monks and real monks. They are good acrobats but that is all.
  5. PizDoff is offline

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    Posted On:
    11/29/2004 1:40pm

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    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    w00t, another one of my articles make the front page!

    They come to this remote part of central Henan province in hopes of seeing authentic monks miraculously surviving in some sort of time capsule. But what they find instead is exploitation of the Shaolin myth on an industrial scale.
    This was in bold before I do believe.
    Just want to emphasize it again.
  6. Jenfucius is offline

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    Posted On:
    11/30/2004 5:03pm

    Join us... or die
     

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    if you really want to see shaolin, you must enter the 36th chamber
  7. Edge is offline

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    Posted On:
    11/30/2004 8:02pm


     

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Nice article, it is accurate. I agree with wounded Ronin's point, Shaolin is a beautiful place to visit, just too overcrowded and over exploited.

    Shimora, are you saying that a student at Shaolin has no fighting ability whatsoever? In all fairness there is at least some martial value in traditional Shaolin Gong Fu.

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