Kongfu Monk

Feature

Friday, August 01, 2008

The Buddhist monks of Shaolin Temple may perform at the Olympic opening ceremonies. But they face two deadly foes –- copyright infringement and tourists. Jocelyn Ford took a road trip to the temple with one monk, who turned out not to be quite what he seemed.

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Contributors:

Jocelyn Ford

Comments [1]

Craig Clayton from Seattle, WA

As an avid NPR listener I was more than a little disappointed to hear your story regarding the Shaolin temple. Usually NPR makes an attempt to actually explore both sides of a controversial topic but in this case you give your listeners the impression that there is no controversy at all in regards to the monks who live in the current Shaolin temple.
You mentioned thousands of hits on google searches of "Shaolin" but yet had you actually examined them (even the first one, Shaolin.com) you would see that it's not clear at all the current Shaolin temple at Honan has anything whatsoever to do with historical Shaolin. Discussing topics like copyright infringement begs the question that you then dodge – what gives the current residents of the Shaolin temple complex ownership of a 1500+ year old martial arts legacy?
Had you interviewed pretty much any instructor in any martial art not directly affiliated with the current Shaolin temple you would get a very different perception. See http://www.shaolin.com/faqcontent.aspx#anchor187631 for an example. The Shaolin practiced there is one of acrobatics and tricks with an Abbot handpicked by the Chinese government.
I hope Studio 360 makes an attempt in the future to address this issue - as it is it's a disappointment. Your listeners might like to hear both sides of the issue, ironically something not allowed in the country the current Shaolin temple resides in - Shaolin.com is blocked by the Chinese government.

Aug. 14 2008 01:04 AM

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