World famous warrior monks head to Tufnell Park
- Credit: Archant
From the misty mountains of northern China to the rainy traffic-clogged streets of northern Islington, the world’s most revered warrior monk paid tribute to a Tufnell Park temple this week.
Grand master Shi Yongxin, 30th abbot of the Shaolin Monastary, along with 50 robed and shaven-headed kung fu disciples, came to bless Shaolin Temple UK, in Junction Road, on Monday morning.
The visit was part of the Shaolin Cultural Festival 2014, held in London, and gave the grandmaster the chance to formerly honour the UK temple – founded 16 years ago at his request by fighting monk Yanzi Shi.
Mr Shi said: “This is a great honour for the temple. The abbot is like a living Buddha.
“He is a peaceful ambassador, going around the world promoting health and peace.
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“We are now training the 35th generation of disciples, who now have to carry on Shaolin culture.”
Built around 495 amid the forest of the Song Mountain, the original Shaolin Temple is the birthplace of Chan Buddhism and considered the home of all martial arts.
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The monastery’s highly trained warrior monks are famous for their incredible feats of strength and endurance – including balancing on various parts of their bodies, being poked with sharp spears or even having iron bars smashed across their stomachs.
Blessing the temple and its disciples, the grand master said: “This is a great opportunity to give our blessing.
“You now have made a big commitment and a wish to be good and keen and accept it as your life’s missions to help as many people as possible.”
Cinnemen Johnson, 38, a student at the temple, said: “It’s great here, it’s like my second home and I would be here every day if I could, it’s so welcoming.
“The visit and the whole festival have been great – there’s been some amazing demonstrations and performances by the monks.”
Shi Yan Kun, who runs another temple in Kent, said: “I had a responsibility to come and show that Shaolin culture isn’t just eastern, but the west can use it as well.”