The Third Shaolin Cultural Festival will be held at the London Soccer Dome between the dates of 8 to 14 October 2014.
SHAOLIN TEMPLE, SONGSHAN, CHINA
The Song Shan Shaolin Temple in China was built in the year 495 AD. It is located at the bottom of Mount Song, in Dengfeng City, Henan Province. Its history can be traced back to over fifteen hundred years ago. Around the year 508 AD, the twenty-eighth generation of Buddha’s successor, Bodhidharma, came to China from India. He stayed inside the cave in the Song Shan Mountain to meditate for nine years.
He continued to direct his efforts into teaching Ch’an (Zen) Buddhism and meditation at the Temple, whilst also combining the pre-existing teachings of Daoism and Confucianism. He believed that in order to study Ch’an, the mind needs to be purified; to purify the mind, the body needs to be strong; a strong body leads to the flourishing of energy; with abundant energy, one can better understand Ch’an and help others to do the same.
In time, this philosophy of mind and body practice gave Shaolin Kung Fu Ch’an its famous and reputable name in the world. The Shaolin Temple has become ‘the shrine of Buddhism, the Sacred Land of Martial Arts’. Its mind and body practice helps to purify the spirit and deepen one’s wisdom; it also promotes the philosophy of wellbeing, equality, benevolence and peace to people across the globe.
Shi Yongxin is currently the 29th Abbot in the history of the Shaolin Temple. He became a monk when he was very young and has been an outstanding Buddhist practitioner since. Under the support of the Chinese government, he has made significant achievements in the promotion of traditional Chinese culture. More and more Shaolin cultural centres have been established around the world due to his efforts. Furthermore, the North American and European Shaolin Federations enjoy a great reputation and have earned international support. Shi Yongxin is not only a promoter of Shaolin culture, but also encourages the concept of a healthy lifestyle and world peace.
SHAOLIN TEMPLE, UK
Shifu Shi Yanzi is one of the chief disciples of the Abbot Shi Yongxin and also a prominent kung fu master among the 34th generation Shaolin monks. In 1998, he was appointed the task of moving to the UK and establishing a Shaolin cultural centre in London.
With huge support from the local people and the government, the centre has become increasingly popular for a wide range of people who want to exercise their body and to learn about Ch’an Buddhism. The cultural centre plays a significant role in improving people’s health. The teachings of Ch’an are embedded within the kung fu teaching and the process of training strengthens the body. Combining the philosophy with the physical self discipline training can help to build a good character, teaches respect, compassion, benevolence, and develops willpower, determination. These attributes can significantly improve the individual’s contribution to improving society’s stability, with positive results in reducing crime, promoting peace, kindness and equality.
As the co-organizer of the Second European Shaolin Cultural Festival, we hope that, with the support from governments, people and institutions worldwide, this event will bring people from all nations together as one and help make our event a huge success.
Have Kind Thoughts – All good and evil deeds start from our thoughts, which are controlled by the mind. It is therefore important that we think right and kind thoughts.
Speak Kind Words – Speech is important it communicates feelings, emotions and knowledge. We should study and understand Confucianism, Buddhism, Daosim (The 3 Philosophies) and other philosophies so that we can use this to promote the idea of health and peacefulness
Do Good Deeds – Actions Speak Louder Than Words A healthy body is of fundamental importance for anything we aspire to do and vital for a happy life. We should learn from the ancient wisdom found in disciplines such as Wushu, Qi Gong, Tai Ji (Tai Chi), meditation, and Traditional Chinese medicine. Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture
If there is imbalance in the body and the mind illness can set in. Apart from natural causes, much of the suffering is caused by our poor habits and unhealthy lifestyles. Shaolin medicine owes its roots to traditional Chinese medicine and the ‘3 Philosophies’ which can also be used to treat illness.
Universal Wisdom of Life – Have kind thought, speak kind words, and use your actions to do good. So, in achieving world peace and harmonious living, must start with ourselves.
SHAOLIN CULTURAL TREASURES
Many years ago, an oversea Chinese family found in their family storeroom a set of precious art collections. Among them are a complete set of bronze Chinese Zodiac Statues in good preservation conditions.
With the help of Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the Stated Council and China Cultural Relics Protection Foundation, the the bronze Zodiac statues were escorted to their motherland.
After that, under the arrangement of China Cultural Relics Protection Foundation, former experts from Museum of Chinese History worked on maintenance of the bronze statues, and experts from National Museum of China corroborated that these statues dated back to late Qing Dynasty, and have a history of more than 2 200 years.
To promote the culture of Chinese Zodiac, China Cultural Relics Protection Foundation established the Zodiac Culture Protection Office.
An exhibition of Chinese Zodiac Culture was held in the Museum of Summer Palace, a World Heritage in Hebei Province, China.
Since 2012 when the Zodiac statues were escorted back to China, cultural promotion activities have been organized on 12th December every year.
On 12th December 2012, a limited collection of the book that’s based on the Zodiac statues, “Cultural treasure collection of bronze Zodiac statues by oversea Chinese”, was published by Beijing Forbidden City Palace. At noon time of that day, the “International Press on Chinese Zodiac Culture” is hosted at the auditorium of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Committee (CPPCC). One of China’s state leaders, Li Meng, hosted the press and presented his calligraphy “Cultural Heritage (in Chinese)” to support the event. Representatives from The Prince’s Charities Foundation also attended the press.
At 12pm (noon) on 12th December 2013, “Cultural treasure- Chinese Zodiac Cultural Exhibition” was held in Beijing Gulou Tower, at the northern end of the central axis of the Inner City, by UK-Asia Art Gallery (Beijing). Officers in cultural organizations from both China and UK have attended the event and gave strong support and encouragement. Present guests include representatives from China Culture Relics Protection Foundation, National Museum of China, Beijing Forbidden City Palace Publisher, The Prince’s Charities Foundation (China) and British Embassy in Beijing.
During 10th Oct and 12th Oct 2014, China SongShan Shaolin Temple and Chinese Zodiac Culture Protection Office would organize “2014 2nd European Shaolin Cultural Festival and Cultural treasure: Chinese Zodiac Exhibition” in London.
In 1935, the British Empire representing British people invited China to attend a Chinese Art Exposition in London, UK to show the collections from Beijing Imperial Palace. China at that time was in the wars and had difficulties in accepting the invitation due to a lack of financial support and efforts. British Empire then promised to Chinese people that British people would always give comprehensive supports when Chinese people would like to attend the exposition.
Shortly afterwards, the Chinese government at that time selected around 700 pieces of Chinese art collections from Beijing Imperial Palace and other significant museums to attend the exposition. The exposition was highly successful. This was the first time that Chinese art and cultural collections went out of China and people around the world were strongly impressed. It is the China-UK cooperation in history on organizing expositions, and wrote down a new page in the book of China-UK friendship.
British Premier David Cameron visited China in December 2010 and December 2013, respectively, strengthening the friendship between British people and Chinese people. During his visit in China, he visited at Beijing Gulou Tower (now the site of UK-Asia Art Gallery (Beijing)), and encouraged the deep-rooted cultural exchange between UK and China.