Founder of Zen Buddhism decided that the monks of the Shaolin Temple
were lazy and unable to defend themselves. Having walked from India
to the Chinese Capital, then back to the Shaolin Temple--proves
Bodhidharma was in good shape. Before leaving India, Bodhidharma
studied Kalaripayattu, which is an Indian martial art containing
staff and sword training.
So he created some exercises for them.
Just like most people today, most of the monks may not have been excited to exercise. Or maybe they thought that Kung Fu wasn't as important as gardening and temple duties. Whatever documents Bodhidharma wrote and were written about him were destroyed in one of the attacks on the Shaolin Temple. The Temple was destroyed at least twice by the Manchurian controlled government.
I'm not sure what the ORIGINAL "18 Hands of Luohan" were. They may have been 18 separate dances with some for weapons. It may have been one Kung Fu Form with 18 fighting techniques in it. Or, perhaps they were Tai Chi breathing exercises, or Qigong.
to Tai Chi, Bodhidharma taught them to stretch and breathe and move
Bodhidharma believed that living a good life is its own reward. Bodhidharma didn't believe in Heaven as much as he believed in living. Bodhidharma seems to imply that enlightenment requires only an instant--after years of hard work.
Zen is not a 'shortcut' to spirituality. It requires work, focus, and stamina to be a Buddha or Bodhisattva. After 400 years of exercising at the Shaolin Temple, the monks became famous for their strength and spiritual power, proving that their bodies and minds and spirits were enhanced by following the path of Bodhidharma.
Buddha Kung Fu is reopening the path to enlightenment inspired by Bodhidharma.
Be a Zen Buddha.
Join Buddha Kung Fu.
Buddha Zhen Shen-Lang "Spirit
Wolf of Truth"