PERSONAL WEBSITE of

EKATERINA SHUSTKHEM

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EXPERIENCE

WHAT TO TELL YOU ABOUT SHAOLIN?

When I was going to visit Shaolin, I read plenty of skeptical feedbacks that the modern Shaolin is nothing but an attraction. And I was wondering – why people can watch but not see?  Seeing a purpose is more important than a gloss of appearance. 

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The Shaolin monastery‘s name was spread out as a birthplace of a unique martial art U-Shu, there are still a lot of legends in China about incredible skill of shaolin kung-Fu followers. However, Shaolin is known not just as a martial art but as a sacrosanct Chinese practice of chan-buddhism.


Unlike other Chinese Buddhist monasteries, Shaolin has always been focusing not on learning development only, but on the participation in social life as well. The story of rescuing an emperor of Tan state Li Shimin is a typical example.  

Through fifteen hundred years Shaolin has gone through many things. In fact, in 1928 the monastery was absolutely destroyed by fire, which was maintaining for 45 days. A lot of pavilions, pagodas, bowers and the most important Buddhist analects were burn to ashes. However, Shaolin has always been recuperating from ruins like a phoenix bird, showing a triumph of eternal harmony of spirit and body.


The location of this place is what I am mostly interested in. There are 5 sacrosanct mountain massifs in China. Four of them are directed towards all sides of the world and the fifth one – Sunshan, with  Shaolin within it, is situated in the center. Such kind of location gives a powerful flow of energy. This place used to be a stop point for clairvoyants, monks, ascetics and people who were just seeking for God enlightenment.


And here comes the second reason of my high interest state. The great Damo who’s other name is Boddhiddharma, who came from India and established here. The cave, in which he was meditating for 9 years, in which almost nobody has ever been in, due to lack of passion about knowledge and physical work (It takes 40 minutes to reach the top), is in a very nice condition and known as one the best places for practice. The cave is excessively small, and there is an altar of Namo in it with a single monk that always stands nearby.


My relationship with Boddhiddharma is particularly respectful. I confidently support his teachings, which can be depicted in just few words: “do not rely on letters”, “reach the enlightenment spontaneously”, “look at your nature becoming a Buddha” and, of course “combined nursing of spiritual and physical strengths in human”. An adamant connection of inner and outer, physical, psychical, mental, spiritual is important.


The monastery itself is used to conduct practices in front of crowds of tourists. And the demonstration of 8-9 years old kids’ skills astonishes spectators due to the incredibly powerful adeptness of human.


The reason why the Shaolin monastery is such a popular tourist source, in my opinion, is due to the ancient teaching which came out very popular and convinced a lot of followers of modern world. If one needs it – one will either hear or see it.


The old dzen question, to be precise –Chan, is:

-Where is Shaolin?

-Shaolin is right where you are.


In my case, I am in Shaolin.