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Shaolin pivots to a future beyond kung fu

Updated: 2024-03-19 06:26 ( China Daily )
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A view of Songshan Buddhist Academy in Henan province. [Photo provided to China Daily]

But located 8 km from the temple is Songshan Buddhist Academy, the main practice center for Chan Wu Yi. Chan means Zen, Wu means kung fu, while Yi means medicine.

In 1994, Master Shi Dejian, under the guidance of his mentor, initiated the restoration of the academy's dilapidated buildings to help promote Chan Wu Yi. Eleven years later, the Songshan Chan Wu Yi Research Institute was established near Songshan Buddhist Academy, with Shi Dejian serving as its director.

Shi Xingjia, a disciple of Shi Dejian, said the institute also operates an official website to provide free public education on Chan Wu Yi culture, which has attracted nearly 1 million followers.

Chen Ruiyan, a professor and clinical psychologist at the Chinese University of Hong Kong who specializes in the brain and nervous system, is one of Master Shi Dejian's disciples. She has set up a research team that has found indications that practicing dan tian breathing enhances brain function, and eases emotional, sleep and gastrointestinal problems.

"The practice of dan tian breathing is the foundation of Songshan internal cultivation, the basic method of Shaolin Chan practice, and is also a good way to improve people's psychological and physical condition," Chen said.

She has been practicing Chan Wu Yi for over 10 years, and her research results have been published in several international academic journals. Chen has also written two books on the subject — The Way of Mind Peace and Dejian Mind-Body Therapy.

Songshan Buddhist Academy has established an ecological health culture base at Lingnan Chan Temple in Luhe county, Shanwei, Guangdong province, to provide information on Chan Wu Yi culture to the public.

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