Shaolin Zen was created in 1984 when Zhen Shen-Lang began teaching Shaolin Gongfu
in Brentwood, California. Originally, Shen-Lang referred to his religion
as Shaolin Chan. After years of explaining that Chan was the Chinese word
for Zen, he decided to refer to his religion as Shaolin Zen.
In 1994 Buddha Zhen drafted his nonprofit bylaws for Shaolin Zen. Over the next year
while teaching Shaolin Gongfu and Yang Taijiquan in Utah, Buddha Zhen
realized that forming a new Buddhist religion in Utah would be an unreasonable
task and would prevent too many Mormons from being able to attend his
classes. (The Mormons were already boycotting him publicly and sending letters to his employers to sever contracts with him.)
So in 1996 Buddha Zhen changed his mind and created the Tai Chi Youth nonprofit education
organization. Tai Chi Youth as a nondenominational
corporation was able to receive funding from Government agencies
including the NEA (National Endowment for the Arts).
This left Shaolin Zen as an oasis between the nondenominational Tai Chi Youth and
the traditional Buddhist Gongfu of Shaolin Chi Mantis. Many people wanted to learn Buddha Zhen's "California Buddhism," without having to take his Tai Chi or Kung Fu classes. So Sunday mornings in the park became Shaolin Zen Sangha meetings.
From this genesis,
Shaolin Zen has continued to evolve into its own spiritual identity, an American Sect of Chan Buddhism.
Bodhidharma's Shaolin Disciples expanded the exercises of the Shaolin Temple by adding Muslim Kung Fu drills. For more information on the history of Kung Fu, visit the www.shaolinchiMANTIS.com website.
The warrior Buddhist Monks looked for the best Kung Fu in China and added Kung Fu weaponry dances from the "Hui" tribes of Northern China. (Also Chinese Muslims.)
Now, the Shaolin Monks are famous for their Kung Fu. Most people don't realize that Kung Fu was created for spiritual development, not warfare. A Shaolin Monk with a wooden staff was equal to 10 sword & shield soldiers.
Shaolin Zen began in 1993 as
our newsletter for the Gongfu and Taijiquan school, Shaolin Chi Mantis, and later for Tai Chi Youth as well.
With the creation of Tai
Chi Youth, Inc., a nonprofit education organization funded by the NEA
(National Endowment for the Arts, N.E.A.) and other government agencies,
Shaolin Zen became the focus of the Buddhist
studies that had previously been taught in Shaolin Chi Mantis Traditional Buddhist Gongfu classes.
In 1998, Buddha Zhen finished the 2nd edition of Dharma Directory. The first 48 Dharma Lessons assign specific Dharma lessons to specific Kung Fu and Tai Chi lessons. The next 10 Dharma lessons are taught while the Disciple also learns Shaolin Staff. The next 10 are taught with the Chinese Broadsword lessons.
Buddha Zhen's commitment to spreading the Dharma seemed minimal though with the very elite few who reached the Intermediate and Advanced levels of Shaolin Chi Mantis. So Shaolin Zen has been the focus of Buddha Zhen's Buddha path since arriving back in California.
We hope that Shaolin Zen will supply more truth to more people with our shaolinZEN.org CyberTemple.
Here we go.