Authentic Traditional Shaolin Kung Fu
加拿大少林俗家弟子武术会

Shaolin Temple destruction in 1928

The Warlords were to cause the third attack on Shaolin. Chiang Kai Shek worked to reunite China by putting together a huge army in his Northern Expedition (1926-1928), which was to rid the countryside of the warlords once and for all. at The 17th year of the Republic of China (1928) Shi Yousan a low rank officer of warlord Feng Yu Xiang was appointed to drive out the warlord in Honan Province, Fan Zhong Xiu.

General Fan was friend with the Head Monk in Shaolin, Miao Xing, who was known as an extraordinary martial artist, but given to vanity by his seeking of friendships with famous people. When the republic’s troops overcame Fan’s army, he fled to Shaolin and asked protection from Abbot Miao Xing. The troops used their weapons to try to drive out Fan.

He evacuated along with many of the monks. In frustration and anger, the general burned down the temple. Not much was left of the compound and more than 110 monks-were killed in the fire. Many other temples with Shaolin affiliations were destroyed also. For more than 40 days, all the main buildings and halls of the Monastery were burned, raising the Temple's total destruction, as well as the destruction of its relics and its numerous sacred objects.

More than 200 buildings were burned down, including the Temple's library with all the sacred texts and manuscripts, gathered there since the beginning of the Shaolin Temple, the Heavenly Kings' Hall, the Great Heroes' Hall and the Drum Tower.

Numerous historic handicrafts and mass of texts and manuscripts about monastery's martial arts were also destroyed. Unfortunately, three of the Temple's oldest books that were destroyed and lost, are now haunting the memories of the priests. " The Basic Art of Shaolin", the "Secrets of Shaolin Boxing" and "The essence of Shaolin Boxing". Since the burning, the Shaolin Temple almost vanished.

Ironically, some of the things left standing were the wall frescos painted with images of the fighting monks and the various stone tablets from ancient times proclaiming that the temple is to be spared any destruction by the various emperors. Quite a few survived the burning, fleeing south to Taiwan and British owned Hong Kong, or even to Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Japan, Korea and Europe.

The monks, who managed to escape the furious rage of the warlord, run away. Few though, stayed there to protect the temple. One of the monks who stayed there was Shi De Chan, 12 years old then. Hiding in the mountains, at places that very few knew, the young boy waited passionately, praying for the army to leave, and seeing the Temple burning, he wept.

Together with other surviving monks, managed to save a great deal of the One Thousand Buddha Hall, Damo Hall, Arhats Hall, the Hall of Di Cang Buddha, the White Robe Hall, and the Mountain Gate. Many of the monks suffered during that period.

However, there is a saying "for every great destructing of the Shaolin Temple, a thrive period follows". In 1963, the Shaolin Temple was officially declared by the state of Henan Province, as a Provincial Historic Monument and the continuous looting of the last relics was stopped.

In 1979, was decided the reopening of the Temple and the rebuilding started in 1983, since the Temple was announced by the Chinese congress as one of the last remains of the National Treasures.