Houston Community News >> Shaolin Culture Should Be Spread Around the World

9/30/2006 --Shaolin monks should study English and IT to adapt to modern society and spread Buddhism and Shaolin culture around the world, says the abbot of a Shaolin temple where kung fu was born.

‘Shaolin culture should develop as society progresses. It must not stick to the outdated thoughts and practices. Rather we should open up to the outside world,’ Shi Yongxin said in an interview published on China News website.

Shi Yongxin was appointed abbot of the Shaolin temple in 1987 at age 22, becoming the youngest abbot in China. Since then, he has urged people to re-evaluate their traditional notions about Buddhist monks with his business-oriented transformation of the temple and its arts.

He has taken Shaolin monk delegations abroad to perform Shaolin martial arts shows. In 1994, ‘Shaolin’ and ‘Shaolin Temple’ were established as registered trademarks.

‘To protect Shaolin culture is to protect the legacy of traditional Chinese culture. I try to travel to every corner of the world to promote Shaolin culture,’ said Shi, whose fame has shot up in recent years. ‘For over 1,500 years, Shaolin culture has developed into a system that embodies many subjects such as Zen Buddhism, martial arts and medicine,’ Shi said. 'Monks should learn to have contacts with the outside world or can even study abroad if the opportunity arises,’ he added. ‘If I do not carry Shaolin forward, history will remember me as a sinner.'

The temple attracted nearly three million domestic and overseas tourists last year, earning an income of 75.5 million yuan ($9.4 million). The temple was even visited by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

(Contributed by Xinghua)