Shaolin Temple Cultural Festival 2013 in Los Angeles
By Benny Meng
What is the greatest brand name to ever come out of China? It’s not an electronics company, or even connected to modern technology. Instead, it’s a name tied to very ancient technology; it’s a name tied to ancient wisdom that has survived wars, cultural upheaval, the changing of Dynasties… a name 1,500 years old — the name of Shaolin. Under the leadership of Venerable Abbot Shi Yong Xin, the Shaolin Temple has seen a resurgence like no other. The Shaolin Temples have grown into a network of Temples and Cultural Centers throughout the world.
It was my extreme honor and pleasure to participate in the first Instructor Certification by the Shaolin Temple for non-monks as part of the Shaolin Temple Cultural Festival 2013. This festival was a series of events throughout the US starting with a visit to Harvard in Boston and the UN in New York City, then a series of seminars and meditation classes throughout the Los Angeles metro area, followed by a tournament with over 800 competitors, student ranking and promotion testing, Masters testing, and Instructor certification. Many VIPs in the martial arts and the California political scene, such as Senator Leland Y Yee, were on hand to witness and participate in these cultural events – even Hollywood wanted to get involved: Robert Downey, Jr. Chris Tucker, Stevie Wonder, and Mike Tyson were all involved in some way, shape or form… just to name a few! Kung Fu Tai Chi Magazine did a great job covering and promoting this event as usual. This was the first event of its kind, with over a year of planning involved, and supported by 300 volunteers led by the LA Shaolin Temple Cultural Center leaders headed by Shi Yan Xu, along with his kung fu brothers Shi Yan Kai, Shi Yan Li, Shi Yan Yue, Shi Yan Yi, Shi Yan Ji, Shi Yan Qi, Shi Yan Yuan, and supported by Steve Mok and Bing Yeh.
This was not only a special event, it was the largest group of travelling monks from China with over 40 monks participating. This was a significant event for both the Buddhist community and the martial art community in the USA because among the 1,000s of temples and 100s of lineages of Buddhism, the Shaolin Temples stand as unique – the birthplace of Chan Buddhism – and utilizes the unique method of martial arts and Chan united, two sides of the same coin, to awaken to Enlightenment.