RELIGIOUS TAOISM AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE MARTIAL ARTS The Arrival of Buddhism in China
To bring about the awakening of students of all temperaments, the Buddha taught a wonderful variety of spiritual practices. There are foundation practices for the development of loving-kindness, generosity, and moral integrity, the universal ground of spiritual life.
Then there is a vast array of meditation practices to train the mind and open the heart. These practices include awareness of the breath and body, mindfulness of feelings and thoughts, practices of mantra and devotion, visualization and contemplative reflection, and practices leading to a refined and profoundly expanded state of consciousness. (Kornfield and Fronsdal, 1993, p. xiii)
Buddhism was developed by Prince Siddhartha Gautama, born in India around 500 BC. When Siddhartha attained a state of illumination, he became a Buddha who founded a movement that is relatively independent from yoga. It maintained the notion that consciousness is a regulator of the organism Thus only a global transformation of all the dimensions of the organism, and of how the mind perceives the organism, can support the development of consciousness. The Buddhist notion of mindfulness has recently had a strong impact on cognitive and body psychotherapies.31
There is a China before and after Buddhism. Buddhism arrives in homeopathic doses from the third century CE onward and solidly implants itself by the seventh century.32 It brings along not only a philosophy but also knowledge mastered by the Hindus. The Chinese incorporated this immense cultural legacy so well that today it is impossible to distinguish the contributions of yoga from that of the Chinese tradition in the domain of the body techniques. The Chinese martial arts, for example, owe a huge debt to the monks of the Chao Lin temple. These Buddhist monks founded a monastery around 500 CE in the region of Ho-Nan. They created a synthesis out of the Hindu martial arts and the Chinese body techniques that became one of the foundations of most of the body, martial, and therapeutic techniques in China and Japan.