Shaolin monks have created a world-wide reputation as the ultimate Buddhist warriors. Their amazing feats of strength, flexibility, and pain-endurance are almost superhuman. They served as role models for the righteous warrior, and sparked a huge interest in martial arts that influenced much of what we know today.
It’s even said that the discipline of a Shaolin monk is responsible for the creation of the tea bush.
The legend claims that centuries after the founding of the Shaolin Temple, a devout monk named Bodhidharma took the long and dangerous road from his native India to China, in the hope of spreading Buddhist teachings there. After traveling all over China, he finally came upon the Shaolin Temple and decided to stay in a nearby cave. There, he demonstrated his intense devotion by meditating for nine years with his back on the cold stone wall, with no food or water and with his eyes wide open.
Many years later, Bodhidharma decided to repeat the feat, but this time he found himself dozing off in the middle of his meditation. Angered by his lack of discipline, he cut off his own eyelids so that he would never succumb to the sweet temptation of sleep. To his amazement, a plant sprang forth from the ground where the eyelids fell. The plant’s leaves had the ability to help him stay awake, and thus the tea bush came into the world. This is said to be the reason why dried tea leaves look like withered eyelids.
The Shaolin monk in this video, Shi Liliang, gives powerful advice when asked how he completed such an amazing feat, “People need to trust themselves” he said.
Liliang is using the publicity from this record breaking act to help raise tuition money for poor children.