The current abbot of Shaolin Temple is Shi Yongxin. Originally named Liu Yingcheng, he was born into a family in Yingshang, Anhui Province in 1965. The former abbot Master Xingzheng passed away in 1987. Taking the ceremonial alms-bowl and robes on his shoulder (a symbol for the Dharma transmission), Master Yongxin took over the Shaolin Temple Management Committee and started to run the temple. In August 1999, he was inaugurated as Shaolin Abbot at the inaugural ceremony. Shi Yongxin conducts commercialized operation and promotion on Shaolin Temple, causing controversies in society.
Thousands of Shaolin disciples display "warrior matrix" on the hillside near Shaolin Temple, Oct. 15, 2006. (CNTV)
Shaolin monk soldiers in the past
It is said that there were 13 monks in Shaolin Temple who saved a king in Tang Dynasty by using sticks. Therefore, the king issued an edict offering a privilege that Shaolin Temple could own its monk soldiers.
Photo shows Shaolin martial monk troupe giving performance in Bystrica, May 10, 2007. (CNTV)
Shaolin monks today: performance and promotion
Initiated in 1987 by Shi Yongxin, the Shaolin Wushu team was established in Shaolin Temple. In 1989, it changed name to Shaolin martial monk troupe, aiming to promote Wushu culture and Zen through performances. The Shaolin martial monk troupe has given Kung Fu performances in over 60 countries and regions.
A hundred of Shaolin monks display "Shaolin bronze matrix" under the guidance of a coach in front of Shaolin Temple gate, Oct. 23, 2010. (CNTV)
Shaolin Temple declines Wulin General Assembly
Zheng Shuming, an official in Shaolin Temple, expressed that there was no relation between Shaolin Temple and "Tianshan Wulin General Assembly". He pointed out that: firstly, there is no Dharma Hall affiliated to Shaolin Temple; secondly, there is no monk or master named Shi Dechao in Shaolin Temple; and thirdly, Shaolin Temple did not send any monk or organization to attend the assembly. According to a staff in Shaolin Temple, they did receive an invitation from "Tianshan Wulin General Assembly", however, they declined the invitation. (Reported by Dahe Daily on July 29, 2013)
Wudang is the sacred place of Taoism martial arts, which enjoys the same fame as Shaolin Temple of Buddhism. In the Kung Fu world, there is a saying: "In the North, Shaolin holds way; in the South, Wudang rules".