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Dear friend, October, 00
I wrote to you and see if you would like to help an incredible Chinese woman. You are welcome to use this article in any way you wantto post or advertise. I also have some photos of the Voltaire local people. Thanks so much!
A woman "for all women"
By Yanling Johnson
On my one-month trip in China between August and September, 2,000, I met an incredible woman in Shaolin Temple area. She has no education, still cannot read. But she is strong, tough, capable and a woman with brains and broad vision. She is from a very poor farmers family and one of her nine siblings. In the 80s she became one of the millionaire-farmers in China by raising chickens and selling eggs. In 1991 on a trip she visited Shaolin Temple, and she found the ruins of the "Sister of Shaolin Tempel" the only remained oldest Buddhist nunnery in China near Shaolin Temple. "Why has the temple for female monks remained ruins? Why are the Buddhist nuns official names called The Second Monks ?" She questioned herself and paced among the bricks and weeds for days. She felt she could not leave the half-collapsed temple. She recalled her own hard life before she became a millionaire, and the still existing status of the "second class" referring to many Chinese women including those abandoned female babies. Her heart ached. She made up her mind to use her own money to restore this female Buddhist Temple. "For all women," she told me. This womans name is Qu, Yu-rong. This temple is Yountai Temple. It was first built about 1,500 years ago (467 AD). The only disciple of Damo, Princess Ming-lian, the daughter of Emperor Liang Wu Di became the only female disciple of Damo. Youngtai Temple was reconstructed for her life convenience because Shaolin Temple was only for male monks. Yongtai Temple was built facing west respect to the Buddha, towards Shaolin Temple where Damo lived for the purpose of showing the female disciples respect to Damo.
Damo was the twenty-eighth successor of the Lord Buddha who came to China more than 1,500 ago. He later settled down in Shaolin Temple and started teaching chan (zen in Japanese) practice (a type of qigong practice). Damo had four disciples. The first one by the name of Hui Keh became his successor. The statues of Damo, Hui keh and their other four following successors of Chan are in the Temple of Shaolin. As the only female disciples of Damo, Princess Ming-lian not only became one of the top chan masters as well as one of the best martial art masters and an outstanding herbalist doctor. In history Yountai Temple had at least three Princesses who became the Abbots. The caves where these high-leveled qigong masters practiced are still there up high in the mountains behind Yongtai Temple. Yongtai was the name of the Princess of Beiwei Dynasty, and the Abbot after Princess Ming-lian. So the temple changed name from Ming-lian Temple into Yongtai. They all were high-leveled chan and martial arts master as well as Chinese traditional medicine doctors. Princess Yongtai was well-known for helping people. There are many stories locally about how Princess Yongtai helped people and had achieved high status in her qigong and martial arts practice. This temple produced many nuns who also became good herbalist doctors who treated people. But this female Buddhist temple is rarely known by most Chinese, let alone in the world. Until early 90s all the records had been stolen and lost. The temples precious property such as the 1,500 year-old stone carvings and tablets were used by the local farmers as pigpen, threshold, stepping stone and as bridge. Mis. Qu, Yu-rong invested most of her money, a total 800,000 yuan to restore this temple. She had a plan of building a path to convenient the visitors to visit the caves. She plans to build an orphanage mainly for the abandoned girls, a girls martial art school, and a nursing home for elderly people in this beautiful mountain range. Unfortunately, before her work of restoring this temple completely finished, huge sum of her money was wasted by a poor architecture and some scamp work. But Mrs Qu did not give up. With many local peoples voluntary help she continued finishing her dream. She did not want to borrow money from the government because of the corruption. She has got some loans from her business friends. But still, the need is way beyond what she can get. There is a tremendous contrast comparison between the well-taken care Shaolin Temple and this "be nobodys business" female Buddhist temple. Does this make you think, my der friend? I am writing this article to support Mis. Qu to restore this oldest female Buddhist temple , not for religious task, but spiritually "for women." Mis. Qus devotion to "for women" touched my heart since myself is one. If you are interested in helping them, here is their address:
Mrs Qu Yu-rong
The Management Office of Yongtai Temple, Songshan Shaolin, Dengfeng City, Henan Province 452470
Phone 0371-2749087, or 2749314
A volunteer who will help with this "task" if you need,
Author of Qigong for Women (etc. will be out next spring by YMAA)
Last changed 11/28/06
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