Songshan Shaolin Temple in Henan, China
The construction of the Shaolin Monastery of the Song Shan Mountain started in the nineteenth year of emperor Tai He of Northern Wei about 1,500 years ago (495AD). The monastery was built by Emperor Xiao Wen of Northern Wei for the purpose of accommodating the visiting monk BO TO Le from India Later, Bodhidharma (Damo), a senior monk from India, arrived also at the Song Shan Monastery. He took residence in a cave in the Wu Ru Peak, which is situated behind the Shaolin Monastery. Bodhidharma meditated there in absolute silence for nine years, sitting in across-legged stance, facing the rock wall. He then established the doctrine of Buddhism in China and has been recognized as the first patriarch of the Chan (Zen) sect in China. The Shaolin Monastery has also been recognized and revered as the sacred founding site of Chinese Chan Buddhism.
It flourished in the Tang and Song dynasties and reached the peak of development in Yuan and Ming dynasties. According to the records in historic books, the Shaolin Temple had suffered from natural and man made disasters during the last 1500 years. However, the monks of the Shaolin Temple had endured and carried forward their tradition and culture. The Shaolin Temple was the origin of Chan Buddhism. The combined ideas of Chan and martial arts as one are the soul of the Shaolin Kung-Fu system. From 1951 to 1996, the decades of the long renovation of the Shaolin Temple had made a revival into the modern era.