taiwandeutscher wrote:There is no real proof that Da Mo brought any fighting skills to Shaolin. In fact, even the Yijinjing is very likley not from him.
Dàoxuān wrote that Bodhidharma was "of South Indian Brahman stock," Broughton (1999:2) notes that Bodhidharma's royal pedigree implies that he was of the Kshatriya warrior caste. Mahajan (1972:705–707) argued that the Pallava dynasty was a Tamilian dynasty and Zvelebil (1987) proposed that Bodhidharma was born a prince of the Pallava dynasty in their capital of Kanchipuram. Some other scholars have a view that Bodhidharma was a kalaripayattu master from the Malabar region .
Dvivid wrote:Da Mo, who is the 28th patriarch, or 28th recognized master, of Buddhism, arrived at Shaolin Temple from India to teach Buddhism in about 500 AD. The monks at Shaolin Temple did already have martial arts techniques, for self defense; however, Da Mo emphasized the internal aspects of training. He brought with him knowlegde of prana yoga, ancient Buddhist techniques of internal cultivation (ie - embryonic breathing), and he WAS a martial artist, as was Siddhartha Gautama, likely in the style of Kalarippayat.
"Kalari" is an arena for combat, "payat" stands for a system of combat in Sanskrit. Similar to both Taijiquan and Shaolin Kung Fu, with elements of traditional herbal medicine, the style is based upon achieving spiritual transcendence. Kalarippayat stretches the body to its limits, and then repairs the damage with massage and medication. Very few schools exist now keeping this martial tradition alive. It is probably from pre-Buddhist times.
Kalarippayat includes wrestling and hand to hand combat. It also involves daily massage along the meridians, similar to Thai massage. Students undergo a process of softening and strengthening the body simultaneously.
I personally believe this internal style was prevalent between India, Rome, and into China.
Tibet imported Chinese and Indian Buddhism and martial arts, but they also had their own qigong-like practices and fighting arts.
Or so I have read.
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