California honors origin of kung fu
Updated: 2014-03-19 08:28
By An Baijie in Beijing and Chen Jia in San Francisco (China Daily)
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California put its best foot forward to celebrate a special day and welcome a delegation from Shaolin Temple, a birthplace of kung fu.
The delegation, led by the temple's abbot Shi Yongxin, arrived in the United States on Monday to attend activities commemorating the 10th anniversary of the California State Assembly's unanimous passing of Resolution 675, which designated March 21 as Songshan Shaolin Temple Day in the state.
"During the past 10 years, we have met and shared Shaolin culture with folks of different races, beliefs, faiths, ages and backgrounds," Shi said at a news conference on his arrival in San Francisco.
"Our efforts have been supported and recognized by local officials, higher-education institutions, such as Stanford University and University of California, Berkeley, as well as by various communities," he said.
Shi will also attend activities commemorating the seventh anniversary of the establishment of Shaolin Temple USA in San Francisco.
Shi Yanran, executive director of Shaolin Temple USA, said on Monday that Shaolin kung fu has more than 4 million fans and followers in North America.
"Ten years ago, Americans' knowledge of kung fu came from Hollywood movies and Bruce Lee," he said. "Today, they have a more mature understanding about the spirit and power behind kung fu."
Shaolin Temple USA has been able to attract many followers because it provides an easy way of sharing the wisdom of Buddhism and Shaolin's contribution to the peace and health of mankind, he said.
At Stanford, more than 200 professors and students learn Shaolin kung fu every Friday on campus under a university health promotion plan coordinated by Stanford's school of medicine, he said.
Shi Yongxin, the temple's 30th abbot, kicked off, literally, the weeklong trip on Monday with 20 monks, including some kung fu performers.
Shi will attend a forum on Wednesday - Kung fu and medication in Buddhist practice: A view from the Shaolin Temple - at UC Berkeley.
Saturday sees three key engagements. First, a Buddhism blessing ceremony, presided over by Shi, will be held at the Shaolin Temple USA Culture Center in San Francisco.