Chan (Zen) Buddhism
A word about Chan (zen): it is a form of history, an unique culture and a certain spirit, a great wisdom derived from one's sudden enlightenment. One cannot understand Chan through reasoning. Yet we can practice Chan in our daily lives through moving, walking, sitting or lying down. In Farming, there is Farming Chan and in Martial training, there is Martial Chan.
Training in Shaolin Gungfu does not set apart from Chan (zen) thoughts. The central thought in Shaolin Gungfu is the “Unification of Chan and martial.” In fact, the soul of Shaolin Gungfu is the firm belief in the wisdom of Chan Buddhism. Since Shaolin Gungfu exists with in the Walls of the Shaolin Monastery as the center of its cultural environment, it became natural for the monks living in the Monastery to practice Shaolin Gungfu as a way of studying Chan Buddhism. Later, the monks further advanced their martial skills by patterning after the Buddhist’s life style of “No-permanence and No-self” (a Buddhist doctrine) as well as adding the indomitable spirit of continuous searching for wisdom and courage. As a result, they improved their martial skills as well as elevated further the spirit of the Shaolin Gungfu. While refining and advancing their martial skills, the also emphasized the cultivation of their minds and hearts. Thus the Shaolin monks considered their martial training as an important aspect for their religious pursuit.