North Shaolin Temple
The North Shaolin Temple is located in Man Cheng, Baoding City. Baoding is found in Hebei Province, south of Beijing and north of Shijiazhuang. It is here where Hu Long Temple’s Head Master, Matt Bindon was awarded his Shaolin Temple name ‘Shi Heng Liang’ by the Abbot and Senior Monks and recognised as a 35th generation Shaolin Warrior Disciple.
The North Shaolin Temple has a vast but relatively unknown history. In the Yuan Dynasty, a devoted monk called Fuyu was appointed by the Emperor to be the Abbot and Master of Temples of the Sonasan. Abbot Fuyu spent the rest of his life managing the Temples and teaching Buddhist knowledge to students and fellow believers. The number of his followers expanded during the course of his life. He was also recognized for holding a number of martial arts conferences which helped to spread Shaolin Kung Fu. His devotion to Ch’an Buddhism and successful management of the Temples was rewarded by the Emperor. In 1312 AD Abbot Fuyu he was given the position of Da Si Kong Kai Fu Yi Tong San Si for his immense contribution.
Also during the same year, he sent his student to Mancheng City, Hebei Province to build a branch temple of the Shaolin Monastery; it was called the North Shaolin Temple. However during the Yuan Dynasty peasant uprising, the Temple construction was victim of violence. This resulted in monks fleeing the site and the Temple’s construction was destroyed.
The first North Shaolin Temple Abbot Zhan Feng, returned to the city after the conflict. He found a location to restart the Temple’s construction which possessed a natural beauty and outstanding spirit. Abbot Feng was instrumental in rebuilding the North Temple. During its assembly, he continued to teach salvation and compassion to the monks and local people. The project then expanded with the construction of the Bell Tower, Drum Tower and a new series of gallery houses. The local people lived happily with the Temple and many people flocked to visit the Temple.
In the Qing Dynasty (Qing Yong Zheng), Zhan Feng was the Abbot of North Shaolin Temple. Influenced by the rules of the Shaolin Temple and Ch’an Buddhism, Abbot Zhan Feng was very strict and impartial. But he was also a compassionate teacher. He taught his disciples Shaolin Kung Fu and Buddhist studies. Many of his students flourished under his teaching and he was an esteemed and well liked teacher.
During this time, governor Zhou Xing Nian came to power. He was cruel towards the common people, causing many deliberate injustices. He also made false accusations against the crown Prince Hong Li in order to capture him and usurp his power. Abbot Zhan Feng’s disciples, including Jue Hui and Heng Gang, took action to stop Zhou Xing Nian. They took inspiration from the Shaolin’s famous legend about thirteen monks who saved the emperor. In the end, the monks freed Prince Hong Li. The North Shaolin Temple and its monks became well respected for this act of justice.
Unfortunately, like so many temples, a fire reduced the North Shaolin Temple to ashes in 1773 AD. The monks left the site and the Temple faded into near obscurity.
In more recent history, the North Shaolin Temple was rebuilt again in Mangcheng City.