Fujian Province's Fuqing County has had a Shaolin Yuan ever since Song times. After the Southern Song capitulated to the Yuan, a Quanzhou native Liang Ke Jia revised the "Three Mountain Record? in 1182. Volume 36 is called "Fuqing County Temples.? Within this volume is a small section, " The Dong Lin Temple in Xin Ning area?the same area as the Shao Lin Yuan.? The Ming dynasty scholar, Putian native Huang Zhong Zhao edited the "Records of the Min Area? in around 1499, and this also records that there are eight temples in the Xin Ning area of Fuqing County: Fang Dong, Dong Lin, Hou Tang, Long Xi, Zhao Fu, Long Ju, Shaolin and Da Xu. Among these temples, the first to be built was the Fang Dong with construction beginning in 569. The Dong Lin temple was built sometime between 1086 and 1094. Hou Tang was built in 1117. However the other five temple's construction dates weren't recorded.
On June 4, 1993 the Fuqing government's Chen Hua Guang, Xu Chang Tong, and Yu Da Zhu found the remains of this aforementioned Shaolin in the Shaolin district of Dong Zhang township. The proof comes in two forms. First, the southern face of the Xia Yang bridge is inscribed "Shaolin Yuan's Sha Men encouraged everyone to contribute merit and himself donated a bridge. Ju Fang De donated money because of Sha Men's encouragement. The monks Xian Xi and Xian Gan each donated 400?.? On the north face is inscribed the time of construction, and a commemoration of Sha Men's speech. The bridge is about 300 meters from Shaolin Yuan. Another piece of evidence is a large stone stele on which is inscribed "Yue Xiu, a monk on this mountain set this stone in the twelfth month of the fourth year of Da Guan's reign.? "Monk on this mountain? (dang shan seng) is most often preceded by "Shaolin.?
Fujian Provincial government and Fuzhou City archeological teams excavated the site in July and August of 1995 and March through October of 1996. The excavations uncovered a site of over 5000 square meters, currently the largest temple found within China. The archeologists' report found four strata: Northern Song, Southern Song, Ming/Qing and nearly modern. There seem to be strata below the Northern Song level, however it has yet to excavated. All the levels excavated have temple remnants in them. On more than 20 pottery shards that came from the site, writing was found on the bottom. The writings say "(for) Shaolin Yuan Use? (1 piece), "Shaolin? (7 pieces), "Shaolin ¯gong si'? (2 pieces, probably a contraction of Shaolin Yuan Monk ¯gong si.' The importance being that a county's head monk was titled "gong si,? a practice that began in the Northern Song), "Shaolin residence? (1 piece) and several having ¯rice,' ¯king,' ¯dragon builder,' an other characters. These shards found over several strata prove that it is the site of the Shaolin Yuan. The archeologists also point out that the location on the mountain, the size and orientation of the complex are all very similar to the Deng Feng (Northern) Shaolin temple.
The Shaolin Yuan is in the northeastern corner of Fuqing county, at the intersection of three counties: Fuqing, Putian, and Yong Tai. The area is especially beautiful with warm breezes and rich vegetation, a perfect place for Chan (Zen) reflection. From the site, directly east is Fuqing bay, and to the south is Xing Hua bay, which makes going to sea very convenient too. Indeed, one can easily say that it is the reflection of "Outside of Zen, soldierly things are discussed.? (A saying of the Northern Shaolin.) On Nov. 21, 1997 I visited the site with Fuzhou City's Cultural Bureau Chief Zeng Yi Dan and archeological team lead Lin Guo, who carefully explained the findings and gave me a copy of the newly published "Fuqing Shaolin Temple.? Still, it isn't clear when the temple was built, or what its connection to the Deng Feng (Northern) Shaolin Temple might be.
According to what is known at this point, during the Southern Song to the Yuan Dynasties, the Shaolin Yuan taught "Yang Qi? Chan (Zen). A chart by Qing Zhe Ji shows that Yuan Wu Ke Qing (1063?1135) taught both Ta Hui Zhong XX (1089?1163) and Hu Qiu Shao Long (1078?1136). Ta Hui's lineage includes on the one hand a series of unknown pupils leading to Ji Zhao and Wo An Ben Wu (1286-1343) and on the other Zhuo An De Guang (1121-1203), and Shaolin Miao Song, who later taught Yu Gu Yuan Zhi (1196?1266). As for Hui Qiu's lineage, he taught Ying An Xian Hua (1103- 1163) who transmitted the Law to Mi An Xian Jie (1118?1186) who, in turn had two pupils, Gu Chan Zi Jing and Tie Bian Yun Shao. Zi Jing was also involved in transmitting Zen to Yu Rong Yuan Zhi. Chong Zhao taught Shaolin De Cheng (1203-1254).
The importance of this is that in both the lineage of Da Hui (a.k.a. Miao Xi), as well as Hu Qiu's later generation Shaolin Yuan disciples are to be found: Shaolin De Cheng and Shaolin Miao Song. Miao Song (a.k.a. Fo Xing) was known as Shaolin Miao Song because he resided in Shaolin Yuan. He was the 29th abbot of Hangzhou northern mountains Miao Ji Temple and also the 29th abbot of Hangzhou southern mountains Jing Xuan Temple. He wrote a ten volume "Transmissions of Shaolin Master Miao Song,? but it has been lost. Records of Master Ji Zhao can be found in the "Ben Wu? volume of "History of Ming dynasty Advanced Monks.? From this work, we learn that Ji Zhao is Da Hui's fifth generation disciple and that he is a monk of the Shaolin and Da Ban order.
Gu Chan Zi Jing, Tie Bian Yun Shao, and Shaolin De Cheng are all Fuqing natives. De Cheng was a Shaolin Yuan monk and this is confirmed by a well-known Southern Song writer Liu Ke Zhuang (1187?1296). In volume 159 of his notes "Complete Collection of a backwater man,? there is an essay that introduces two of his "outside friends? --- Masters Shaolin De Cheng and Jiu Zuo Zu Ri. From Liu's works, De Cheng's life can be roughly worked out as follows: 1203, born into the Zheng family of Fuqing County. In 1217, became a monk at 15 and was given the Buddhist name of De Qing. His teacher was Tie Bian Yun Shao. He probably ¯left home' (became a monk) at Shaolin Yuan. In any case, he studied Chan (Zen) in Shaolin Yuan and Ding Zhou for about 22 years. 1242-1244 Lived in Cao An. 1245?1247, Lived in Weng Chi An. 1248?1254 lived in Hangzhou's Jing Xuan temple. These Shaolin Yuan monks all lived around the end of the twelfth century and into the end of the thirteenth, which is to say from the Southern Song dynasty Guang Chong years to the end of the Southern Song. In the North, this equates to the Jin dynasty Zhang Chong years to the beginning of the Yuan dynasty. At the same time in the Deng Feng (Northern) Shaolin Temple, the monks were members of the "Lan Qi? sect and didn't change to the "Cao Dong? sect until after 1220.
The gate mentioned earlier with its "monk on this mountain? was built in 1110 and the fact that the words "Shaolin Yuan? weren't inscribed is a hint that it wasn't called that during those Northern Song times. If the Lan Qi sect followers of Deng Feng Shaolin had come south, it would have had to between 1161 and 1220. Perhaps the Yang Qi style (of Zen) is of the Lan Qi sect.
Abbot Fu Rong built the Deng Feng Shaolin's Zi Xue Pavilion between 1248 and 1254 and within it is the "70 word naming chart.? Moreover, the De Cheng of the Fuqing Shaolin, disciple of Ji Zhao 's "De? is the 21st generation, while "Xu? is the 26th. It is impossible for the teacher to be after the student. Also, the words "Xian, "Ying,? Yuan,? etc of other Shaolin Yuan monks they don't show up on the Deng Feng naming list. This goes further to show that even after the Yuan dynasty the Northern and Southern Shaolin temples developed alone. Some other reasons include that the Deng Feng temple had already changed to the Cao Dong sect and the southern-Song Fuqing temple's inhabitants did not accept Mongolian Yuan dynasty rule, and didn't recognize the abbot of Deng Feng Shaolin.The Deng Feng temple has a large iron bell that was cast on October 25, 1336. The bell's inscription includes those temples that were under Shaolin's administration, a total of 23 temples. All of them are in the Henan area. Another Shaolin temple, near Beijing at Panshan, is also not on the list. Of course, individual monks may have made visits, but there are no examples recorded in the evidence.
In the Ming dynasty's Jia Jing years, the Shaolin "martial monks? were called out to fight coastal pirates. Their example of chivalry and bravery must have had a large impact on the coastal people. With the renown of the pirates being fought in the region for over 10 years, the Fujian people must have been especially impressed. Fuqing's Shaolin Temple monks must have gotten a lot of encouragement. Then, during the early Qing dynasty when the triads were organized the call to "overthrow the Qing and return the Ming? was heard. The Shaolin martial monk's earlier loyalty to the Ming was deliberately used as an example to rally involvement in a strategic war and encourage boldness. Moreover, there's a rich tradition that Fuqing Shaolin monks joined the triads. It is clear that the discovery of the Fuqing temple has given this theory new evidence and advanced it toward verity.