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  • Shi Yan Ming????

    Dear Friends,


    I want to share with you some thoughts regarding my experience and the recent posts I have read regarding other's experiences while training with Shi Yan Ming.
    The unfortunate incident of a disciple of Shi Yan Ming having a seizure due to heat exhaustion last summer did not surprise me but did confirm what I had already been thinking about my own experience while training there. At the time I was initially shocked to learn that Yan Ming had trained his students during the 110 degree heat last summer. Using my own common sense I did not attend that week. The place had no air conditioning and from I heard from other students he was actually pushing them harder then usual. To be concise and as clear as possible. This was irresponsible, careless and dangerous. Someone could have easily gone into shock and died under such circumstances. The young man who collapsed and went into seizure should have been brought to or gotten immediate medical attention. When you suffer heat exhuastion your kidneys can shut down and you can easily go into shock. Your kidneys can suffer permanent damage or you can die. I am happy that this young man is well and survived intact. He is indeed fortunate.
    I do not train any longer at the USA Shaolin Temple. My departure was not due to any dramatic physical incident but rather a close observation of things as they are over a course of a number of months. The last straw for me was when I forgot to sign in one session and I was yelled at across the room by Sifu and told that there was "something wrong with my mind" . I could not, as a reasonable adult, take his comment seriously and when I lightheartedly went to explain to him after class why I had forgot he took offense at my friendly disposition and told me if I forgot again he would charge me $100 and if I didn't pay I would not be able to train there any longer. Of course I would not pay him or anyone $100 for such. For goodness sake what other beautiful and great charitable things I could do with $100 if I wanted to give it away: food for the poor, eye medicine for those suffering from glaucoma in Africa, part of the fee for a cleft lip surgery for a child in Asia. So I left and never went back. Shi Yan Ming's training syllabus is second to none. His teaching ability is also good. But his judgements many times are way off the mark. He can be arrogant, moody and plain wrong. I wish we could stop rationalizing, and making excuses for bad judgements on the part of others, even if they are great Gong Fu artists or great at anything else, and I wish we could be more realistic. If a medical team had showed up at the Shaolin Temple last summer when it was 110 degrees and saw the training or the conditions, Shi Yan Ming would have been in deep legal trouble. Perhaps one day someone will really get hurt or suffer a total physical collapse while training there and then people will learn from that. I hope it does not take that for us to learn. Last summer I was told by some substitute trainers for Sifu, when he was away on his many promotional tours, not to drink too much, that my broken toe should be "punished" in order to make it stronger and during one session we were left without a water break for one hour. Another time I was told no to listen to my doctor about my health but myself instead and Sifu Shi Yan Ming. They all wanted to fill in for him and many of them made their attempt in the most arrogant, irresponsible, and downright stupid way possible.
    The drinking that goes on there with Shi Yan Ming is reprehensible. It is not "special water" or "very special water" it is alcohol. This goes against the Five Precepts of Buddhism; to not intoxicate the body or mind. Alcohol is an intoxicant that kills brain cells that are not replenished and in large amounts it is also bad for the liver, kidneys, pancreas and heart. No exceptions, just reality.
    As far as Buddhism is concerned I have studied it for many years and have taught it as part of a Eastern Religions college course. I have studied and practiced seated meditation for years as well. Most of my experience has been in the Theravada tradition as practiced in Thailand and Burma. So I know a bit about Buddhism. The Middle Way, the avoiding of extremes is a big teaching, as well as Sila (morality), and Metta (compassion and patience) but the biggest daily practice is mindfulness. I was very mindful while training, about myself and everyone and everything else around me as much as I could through my senses and mind. Through mindfulness you can see the dharma (truth).


  • #2
    You know jack I am happy I didnt die too... dying sucks...

    I tend to agree with everything you just said except 2 things.. His teaching ability sucks... and sucks bad.. in fact its almost nonexistant... and secondly I have found WAAAAAY better instruction at my new school... in terms of material taught.. ie. various weapons and so many styles i cant keep track of them all..

    Keep it real man... hope all is well


    The essential point in science it not a complicated mathematical formalism or a ritualized experimentation. Rather the heart of science is a kind of shrewd honesty the springs from really wanting to know what the hell is going on!


    • #3

      i have always admired shi yanming's personal practice of chan (at least insofar as his talks about it) being so impressing and admirable, i went to meet him recently. but there are things here that should be taken into account. and that i have.

      first of all, i wouldnt doubt any of the problems you guys may have had. the first night i met him his eyes were shining like glazed doughnuts as he took another sip of his coronas. now he wasnt drunk by any means but he was obviously buzzing. further over the course of a few days i noticed his attitude changed a lot. with new people to the temple, especially chinese he acted very humble and monklike. which is not his usual attitude as i have seen.

      but the most important thing to look at here is what monkhood really is. i've noticed so many people on this site and elsewhere talking about monks with babies, broken vows, meat eating and drinking, etc.. but thats a mistaken thought right off. there simply cant be a monk with babies or broken celibacy vows.

      although, vegetarianism is not part of the vinaya precepts. its the bodhisattva precepts where not eating meat comes up. though a chinese monastic must take both sets of precepts to be ordained, but eating meat doesnt necessarily have any punishment. the precepts that are punishable are from the vinaya required for ordination. even a layman may take the bodhisattva precepts. among those vinaya precepts though includes celibacy (abstinence from any sexual action).

      a monk must be celibate but can eat meat. why? because their focus is on liberation. a bodhisattva can have a family but must not eat meat. why? because their focus is on liberation of others.

      for one to be ordained in the chinese tradition they are both a monk and a bodhisattva, taking both sets of precepts. therefore a monk or nun in the chinese tradition must be celibate and vegetarian.

      but again, vegetarianism doesnt come up in the requirements of a monk. only a bodhisattva, which those precepts can be taken by a layman. and so no punishment with regards to ordination can be imposed.

      however, there are grave violations in the patimokkha (codes of discipline for a monk) known as parajika or defeat for a monk, "rules entailing expulsion from the sangha". which if one were found to have committed would in turn have grave consequences- defeat. without review of any kind their punishment is automatic and requires no meeting of the sangha. no questions asked. the moment the vow is broken they are automatically excommunicated from the sangha. they must leave the order, are disrobed, and never allowed to reordain in this lifetime.. this of course includes celibacy- and goes for all vinaya traditions.

      so with regards to guys like shi yanming who claim monkhood yet have families, (though i've been told wuseng take different vows, no one has been able to explain their ordination yet) by the vinaya, preceptual codes that is the basis of ordination, technically he is no longer a monk. simple as that. broken vow of celibacy= automatic expulsion.

      in fact it is rule number one and reads as follows:

      1. Should any bhikkhu — participating in the training and livelihood of the bhikkhus, without having renounced the training, without having declared his weakness — engage in the sexual act, even with a female animal, he is defeated and no longer in communion.

      further, one who has committed such an act but does not acknowledge the transgression for what it is has committed an even greater transgression. furthermore, such a person has "known yet broken the vinaya"- an even greater transgression still. such a person is referred to by the buddha as "shameless" and "wicked".

      ... and obviously, no longer a monk.

      the importance of monastics strictly following the vinaya is much more important in our day than in the buddha's day. remember at the start of the sangha there were no rules. each one was added when someone commited an unskillful action. but also people back then had deeper karmic roots and access to a living buddha. unlike nowadays.

      when the vinaya is not strictly observed by the monastics, lines between monastic and laity fade and the dharma weakens. it was and is due to the venerable ordained who uphold the true dharma message by strict observance of the vinaya that we still have the teachings after nearly 2600 years.

      the decline of the sassana (message) is said by the buddha to be due to none other than fellow dharma practitioners. that is why strict observance of the vinaya by the monastic community and respect for the vinaya by the laity is so much more important in our day than it was in the time of the buddha. with shallow roots and no access to the living buddha, you can see the importance of the vinaya in establishing and upholding the true dharma message in our day.

      observance, respect.

      so in conclusion, guys like shi yanming (or maybe more correctly duan genshan) are not monks by any buddhist sense and should not be considered as such. in his book he says "it is not the temple with all its rules that make the monk but rather how he lives and teaches the dharma". in a way, i certainly agree. but technically this statement (as used by him) is only half correct. (whether or not it comes from the dhammapada or wherever, misused, its meaning is changed from "even some ordained folks still havent grasped the dharma, ordination doesnt guarantee realization and teaching skills" -to- "rules dont matter if you can teach the dharma".)

      but ones capability to teach dharma is not the case, its ordination. and it is indeed the temple and rules that validate ordination, literally the precepts are what "make the monk" through ordination ceremony. if rules such as celibacy are dismissed as unimportant and one starts a family, they are simply no longer monks. automatically expelled. and claiming monkhood by one who is not, even if they were previously, is a great transgression in buddhism for obvious reasons. spreading such perverse ideas can only weaken the lineage of monasticism and ultimately fade the line between laity and monastic. obviously not conducive to dharma preservation.

      we have heard rebuttals from guys such as 'arhat' (richard, aka hengfa) who i infact have great respect for. simply because he seems have great dedication to his master. thats what a disciple should be. but with a teacher spreading such ideas, the student (if they dont find out for themselves) will have the same misleading ideas about what makes a monk a monk and the more this happens, the more monasticism will fade along with the vinaya and ultimately the dharma as we know it.

      one such rebuttal was that of the origin of the vinaya. no one knows if it was directly from shakyamuni or not. but this is a very weak excuse. reason being that it is this vinaya with its precepts that are the basis of ordination into the bhiksu sangha. if you dont believe it is from shakyamuni and dont accept its precepts (the basis of your ordination) then you should take back your vows and disrobe as a monk under this ordination. but by yanming having children he has already been disrobed and expelled from the sangha. any continuing claim of monkhood is only further transgression on his part.

      but still you have him claiming monkhood and spreading the idea of meat eating, drinking, and having kids to be a beautiful part of monkhood. which is utterly and completely false. and from this sort of attitude being taught to students who havent properly studied or even made an attempt to study the vinaya, or by those who simply agree with him over all buddhist tradition, conclude that non-celibacy for a monk is "a step forward not a step backward" as i have seen 'arhat' post.

      however, it is indeed a step forward, into the decline of the sassana, aka dharma ending age obviously as predicted by the buddha due to the ordained not obvserving the vinaya and the laity not respecting it.

      lastly, it can be concluded from the basis of shi yanming's (and others like him) ordination and their breaking of the first precept of celibacy resulting in parajika or defeat, aka expulsion that he is NOT a monk.

      he should then not be judged as a monk but as a layperson. and obviously, his actions even then are not always in accordance with the lay precepts. but who is perfect? although, over drinking and offering beer to others, not showing compassion, and cheating people on money is not very buddhist at all.

      those are my thoughts for today...
      amituofo! _/_


      • #4
        Thank you for clarifying that!!!! Shaolin followers on this site obviusly do not know dick about buddhism. Wait a minute- This would mean I'm no longer a monk!!?? Damn!! Good work sir! You had to ruin it all..... But thanks anyway


        • #5
          You are a monk as long as you continue to say you are.... works for yan ming apparently..
          The essential point in science it not a complicated mathematical formalism or a ritualized experimentation. Rather the heart of science is a kind of shrewd honesty the springs from really wanting to know what the hell is going on!


          • #6
            Let's be honest with this shnazz... We live in a capitalistic society... I can sell you "Original Shaolin Monk Kung Fu Master" faster than "Chinese Karate Teacher". It is all a stunt to make his school a better product. If McDonald's had great food, they wouldn't have Ronald McDonald to lure the kiddies. What you are buying into in that school is sodium and grease... not nutrition.

            I really appreciated your explanation LFJ and totally agree. Planting false information about Buddhism is really unfortunate. And then students who come up with wild excuses for why it is allowed in the monkhood is also really unfortunate. But of coures Yan Ming's "buddhism" attracts people. Who doesn't like to drink, have sex and eat a lot of BBQ and still be "enlightened". This is like business school 101. Sell the sizzle but not the steak.

            In conclusion, of course Yan Ming's Shaolin Temple will continue to exist because he sells the dream: that in our world of materialism and greed, we can still believe we are at peace....

            I was trying not to write anymore stuff on the forum because I get letters from temple students and I dont want to get involved in that mess.... but oh well

            PS. Jack.. atleast you didn't actually pay him any money like I did.... I got completely scammed... I quit because they said I had to buy another 100 dollar uniform because my uniform wasn't orange..... Well along other scores of reasons but that was the breaking point. Hope you find a better school...


            • #7
              God dam it!!!!, are there any good kung fu schools out there anymore? It just seems that all the good teachers have become corrupt. Where have all those masters ive seen in the old kung fu movies gone


              • #8
                $ 100 for the uniform ???!!! That's Crazy !!! My old school in the U.S. had us wear a uniform (the old school black outfit w/ white cuffs and whit hoop latches) but it was only 20 bucks... Given, the Shaolin outfit has a few more pieces to it but I just bought one in the Shaolin village there at Shaolin for 80 yuan. THat's like a bit over 10 usd.... $100 is outrageous !!!

                I know, this was a pointless rant, but I just can't belive that.... 100 dollars... WoW
                "Winners turn to losers, losers are forgotten..." - A Tribe Called Quest


                • #9
                  Hippo Foo... My advice to you is if you do ever post anything on here agian do so out of pure amusment purposes... and take nothing seriously... it will drive you insane... If you get letters from the shaolin fanatics havea laugh at it and use the magic delete key...
                  The essential point in science it not a complicated mathematical formalism or a ritualized experimentation. Rather the heart of science is a kind of shrewd honesty the springs from really wanting to know what the hell is going on!


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by LFJ
                    in fact it is rule number one and reads as follows:1. Should any bhikkhu — participating in the training and livelihood of the bhikkhus, without having renounced the training, without having declared his weakness — engage in the sexual act, even with a female animal, he is defeated and no longer in communion.

                    Even with a female animal? C'mon! Cut a brotha some slack! Im a 50 year old virgin and that tiger's looking s#@y as hell!
                    "Life is a run. In attack we run, in defense we run. When you can no longer run, time to die" - Shichiroji "Seven samurai"


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Iron Cross
                      Hippo Foo... My advice to you is if you do ever post anything on here agian do so out of pure amusment purposes... and take nothing seriously... it will drive you insane... If you get letters from the shaolin fanatics havea laugh at it and use the magic delete key...
                      Oh that's for sure. If it has to do with USAST I just look at stuff to laugh. The video clips on the Temple website and branch websites are hilarious. They all think Yan Ming is god and they have these huge celebrations with terrible acts and demonstrations for him. Recounting one video from Mexico of Iron Shirt, they hit the demonstrator with this SUPER LONG 12 foot staff. It's like could you make it anymore obvious how you pull those stunts off. And then there are the little stuff, like pictures of Yan Ming doing a seminar and all he is doing is showing how he can stretch to kiss his foot. And then doing mabu. Those seminars are like 150-200 dollars and all you are learning is mabu. It is all funny to me now.

                      Yeah, there are dozens of things that tell you USAST is not a good kung fu outfit. The classes aren't expensive but all the branded clothes you have to buy shows you it's a corporation. 100 dollar uniform is just for the shaolin clothes, the T-shirt is 15 and the shoes are 35. So all together the uniform is 150. Of course there is no need to actually wear the uniforms in class, Yan Ming just likes to parade his school as being "authentic" when in reality, it is just another stunt to sell his "Shaolin".

                      Another thing is just go to both a level 1 and level 2 class. The level 1 class has scores of people maybe 50 students in one class. It may look like Yan Ming has a good following, but then go to level 2 class and you'll see 10 people. Yan Ming has bad retention because if you are really interested in the Martial Arts you'll realize Yan Ming either can't teach it, or doesn't know it himself.

                      Does anyone have video links of USAST demo team performing? I just want to remind myself how it looked like. But I can't find any online. I'm thinking Yan Ming doesn't allow video taping of them because maybe others will realize, his best students aren't even that good....


                      • #12
                        to make things fair, in the nun version of the precepts its the other way around. not even with a male animal.


                        • #13
                          Ok I can totally testify to what Hippo Foo is saying and asking about... we used to trian there together...

                          Those guys in mexico.. i spent a week with them and they have very little experience at all.. i was shocked they were given permission to teach in his name... On the plus side they are super nice guys for sure...

                          I was on the demo team for a few years... and I totally agree with what Hippo just said ... yan ming doesnt let people tape or have copies of demos.. i asked for a copy once for a project i was doing... a copy of our most recent one at the time.. he told me i didnt need it... i told him I did need it but he still refused to give me one.... The demos we did were horrible and a joke... I even thought this while i was still on teh demo team... coordination was completely off there was nothing special or flare to anythign we did... there was always this generic pattern we would follow...

                          Open with Luohan Duan Da, jump off people do next form usually xiao hong quan... then we would do random jump passes in a diagonal pattern like we always did in class... after this maybe another form or two tong bei quan maybe da hong quan... then a fight set that looks worsse than a segal movie...then people would do watered down wushu animal forms like mantis or eagle... wernt even good version of them... after this another jump pass and fight set.... then we would finish with another group form and call it a day....

                          What always pissed me off most was people would insist on doing things they were no good at.. so a girl that had a 2 inch verticle leap wanted to do tornado kicks... or someone that practically trips over her staff wants to do staff form in EVERY SINGLE DEMO!!! gave me headaches watching it.... I have no illusions about how good we were... we totally sucked... I think back onto some of the stuff we did and laugh to myself and say "geez that was aweful"

                          By the end i didnt care about it anymore because nothing mattered... If we were demoing in house it didnt matter what we did the temple folk would scream and yell and foam at the mouth at our "skill".... So it didnt matter what pile of crap we put together the reaction was always the same...

                          Strangely i got alot of grief from people when i attempted to organize things in a fashion that would show each individuals strengths vs. what they just wants to do... So if someone had jumps they should do acrobatics the whole time, flexibilty should demonstrate thator if someone was agressive and screamed alot to show that... I quickly realized no one had any clue how to put a show together...

                          ne show we did had a $35 cover to see... some fundraiser bullshit or something.. I kept telling them over and over people are PAYING to see this so we have to make it good and not the same crap we always do... they ignored me and did the same crap... Told them i was quiting after that and they still got mad at me... thought it didnt really matter cause i got kicked out not long after that...

                          So, thats my experience on USAST demo team... on a side note im not even sue there is one anymore... there were like 12 or so of us when I was there... Yan Ming kicked me and another guy out.. 2 moved.. 2 stopped because of time constraints... another doesnt train anymore.. another doesnt because of work... think there are only 4 people left... doesnt make for a good show..

                          No videos of any demo performance exist anywhere except for a locked box yan ming keeps... no joke... I knew someone that had a copy of one bday demo but he wasnt supposed to and was worried yan ming might find out and yell at him...

                          I know there was a video on youtube of yan ming fighting this girl that used to train.. when she was there people raved about her skills and thought she was the best... I looked at the video recently and was laughing out loud.. then i realized in class she would jsut scream at people so that must have meant she was good in shaolin temple land...

                          Oh wells... not sure if any of this helps better udnerstand the crap fest USAST Demo Team was... if it does the hooray.. if not then sorry let me know what needs clarificaiton..
                          The essential point in science it not a complicated mathematical formalism or a ritualized experimentation. Rather the heart of science is a kind of shrewd honesty the springs from really wanting to know what the hell is going on!


                          • #14
                            Iron cross you are right i'll ceep on calling myself monk as long as Yan ming does. As long as there is a Yan ming with followers there will be Yan LU teaching girls the power of qi. By the way i havent seen anything from any of the believers whats going on with them?


                            • #15
                              Hahahaha... Iron Cross are you talking about this one:


                              Oh man.. I love this one... "form is emptiness.. emptiness is form..." teehee.. I also love the part where when the girl falls on the carpet there is dust coming up in the air and then fog rises. That's one really DUSTY carpet.... So dusty it started condensation....

                              The comments are equally great... about the great editing... I don't think saturation filter and speed filter are considered great editing... but who cares about that when it breaks all the other codes and conventions of film....


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