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Xueting Fuyu

Shaolin Abbot Xueting Fuyu

Fuyu (1203–1275; Traditional Chinese Kan-chih Calendar 3899 to 3900 – 3971 to 3972), also named Xueting (Chin.: Xuětíng Fúyù 雪庭福裕), was a renowned Ch'an master of the Caodong Sect during the early years of the Yuan (Mongol) Dynasty (1206–1368; Traditional Chinese Kan-chih Calendar 3902 to 3903 – 4064 to 4065). The Caodong Sect was one of the five schools of Ch'an (Chinese Zen) that developed after the end of Bodhidharma's lineage. Fuyu was the first abbot of the new lineage of Shaolin monks and nuns that emerged at the Shaolin Temple (Shàolín Sì 少林寺; lit. "Little Forest Temple").

Fuyu was born in Wenshui County, Hebei Province. His original surname was Zhang. Fuyu began schooling at nine. He soon displayed a great intellect and was called "Saint Child" by his peers. At 21, he took the Dharma name Fuyu and began studying Buddhism in Yanjing (modern Beijing) under the Caodong monk Wansong Xingxiu (Chin.: Wànsōng Xíngxiù 万松行秀). The Caodong sect was named after Cáoxī (曹溪), the "mountain-name" of Huineng, the official Sixth Ancestor of Ch'an and the last master of Bodhidharma's lineage. Huineng had engineered the Northern School of Ch'an Versus Southern School of Ch'an Controversy, though, in which he replaced Yuquan Shenxiu who was the first Sixth Ancestor of Ch'an. The Caodong Sect stressed sitting meditation and "silent illumination" techniques. Fuyu studied under Wansong for ten years, attaining distinction as a great Buddhist scholar. He eventually succeeded Wansong as the head of Caodong Sect.

In 1245 (Traditional Chinese Kan-chih Calendar 3941 to 3942), Fuyu was appointed by the first Emperor of the Yuan Dynasty, Kublai Khan (Chin.: Yuán shìzǔ Hūbìliè 元世祖忽必烈) as the abbot of Shaolin Temple before the former took the throne. In 1248 (Traditional Chinese Kan-chih Calendar 3944 to 3945), he was summoned to the court palace by Emperor Xianzong (Chin.: Xiànzōng 憲宗), the grandson of Kublai Khan, and was appointed the head of Buddhism throughout China.

Fuyu became abbot of the Shaolin Temple during a war-torn period in China's history. He sought to create one Shaolin martial arts style. For this purpose, he held symposia three times, each lasting three years, during which he invited prominent martial arts masters in all of China to come to the Shaolin Temple and share their techniques and knowledge. The Shaolin monks and nuns recorded the accumulated techniques and martial forms in a library maintained at the temple. The attending martial artists returned to their homes, bringing back Shaolin techniques with them.

As a result of Fuyu's symposia, a unified system emerged and it was called Songshan Shaolin (Chin.: Sōngshān Shàolín 嵩山少林). Numerous martial arts styles in China, Korean, and today trace their beginnings to the Shaolin Temple, which is why it is sometimes mistakenly considered "the birthplace of martial arts."

Fuyu wrote a 70-character Ch'an poem which is the basis for the current Shaolin "character generation" (Chin.: zìbèi 字辈) naming system used by masters to give Dharma names to their disciples. Each generation uses the following word in the poem. In the nearly 800 years that have followed Fuyu, there have been about thirty-five generations of monks. From 2017 (Traditional Chinese Kan-chih Calendar 4713), the current living generations use the ideograms of Dé (德), Xíng (行), Yǒng (永), Yán (延), and Héng (恒) in the generational component of their Dharma name. For example, the 29th Shaolin abbot, Shi Xing Zheng, was of the 32nd generation. The character of Xing is the 32nd word in the poem.

Shaolin Generational Names List

Generation
Generation Name
Generation
Generation Name
1
36
Miào
2
Hui
37
3
Zhi
38
Cháng
4
Zi
39
Jiān
5
Jué
40
6
Liǎo
41
Xīn
7
Běn
42
Lǎng
8
Yuán
43
Zhào
9
44
Yōu
10
45
Shēn
11
Zhōu
46
Xìng
12
Hóng
47
Mìng
13
48
Jiàn
14
Guǎng
49
Zōng
15
Zōng
50
Zuò
16
Dào
51
Zhōng
17
Qìng
52
Zhèng
18
Tóng
53
Shàn
19
Xuán
54
20
55
Xiáng
21
Qīng
56
Jǐn
22
Jìng
57
Què
23
Zhēn
58
Yuán
24
59
25
Hǎi
60
26
Zhàn
61
Xuě
27
62
Tíng
28
Chún
63
Wèi
29
Zhēn
64
Dǎo
30
65
Shī
31
66
Yǐn
32
Xíng
67
33
Yǒng
68
Guī
34
Yán
69
Xuàn
35
Héng
70

The Michigan Shaolin Wugong Temple offers instruction on the practical techniques of the Shaolin monks and nuns in its martial arts classes.

 

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