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Thread: The Shaolin Temple

  1. #1
    Member Christos200's Avatar
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    Cool The Shaolin Temple

    (This is a story I am writing set in 1928 China about the Shaolin Temple. The main characters are Jing Shu, a Shaolin Monk who has good heart and good Kung Fu, and Xun Wao, a waiter who always quarrels with his boss and tries to make money by any way he can. Reviews shall be greatly appreciated.)

    The Shaolin Temple
    Part 1:


    1928, Mount Song, Shaolin Temple

    "Teacher, what is real and what is not real? Buddha teached us that the world in which we live is an illusion. But why does it feel so real if it is an illusion?", the young Shaolin Monk Jing Shu asks while sitting below a Peach Blossom Tree. The purple leafs of the tree, the clear blue sky, the morning coolness, the clean stone made floor of the Temple, all of them form a beautiful picture that seems like it came out from a painting.

    The young thin but muscular Monk has a handsome face and, like every other Shaolin Monk, has his hair shaved. He wears a yellow robe. Jing is in his mid-twenties and joined the Temple only two years ago. He has the habit of chatting with his teacher, Abbot Heng Lin, at least once every week in the morning, under a Blossom Tree, about Buddhism.

    "That is a complex question.", the old Abbot replies. Abbot Heng is a very old man, with long white beard and a wrinkled face. Nevertheless, when he looks you with his eyes, he is able to make you a deep impression. He always gives you the impression of a calm and wise man. He wears a yellow robe and upon that a smaller red robe, sign that he is the Abbot. "I shall answer your question by telling you a story. Once upon a time, an illiterate farmer found a treasure in his farm and thus became very rich. A merchant, who was a bad person, learned about this and found a way to steal his money. He brought a beautiful woman to the farmer and said that if he gave him some gold, he would give her to him. The farmer indeed gave the merchant the gold he had asked, but he never saw again the woman. Nevertheless, he believed that she was his wife. A year later, the merchant said to the farmer that his wife had given birth to a son. Despite the fact that he had never slept with her, the farmer believed that the son was his and he became very happy. He celebrated the event and gave much gold to the merchant. After a few months, the farmer tried to get the merchant to bring to him his son and his wife. The merchant told him that they had died. The farmer, despite that the woman and the son were mere illusions, cried a lot and was very sad."

    "What a fool!"
    , Jing, laughing, remarked. "He was happy and sad about mere illusions."

    "That is the answer to your question. Women, riches, political power, food, wine, all of them are just illusions. When you gain them, you become happy. When you lose them, you become sad. But, whether they bring you happiness or sadness, they remain simple illusions."

    "I understand, teacher."

    "Better stay here for a few hours and meditate upon this issue. Think again and again about the story I told you. Such complex matter cannot be understood in just a few minutes. Other people need a whole lifetime to understand that everything is an illusion. Other people are never able to understand this. So, do not think that you have understood this matter. Think about it again and again and again."

    "I will, teacher."

    "Good. Now, I must leave. Buddha bless you."


    The old Abbot walks away while Jing thinks about what his teacher told him. He thinks again and again about it. While at first the story seemed quite simplistic and easy to understand, Jing realizes that even the most insignificant details of the story have secret meanings and that the story is very complex and hard to understand. And so, he thinks for hours about this issue.

    Six hours later, Dengfeng, Mao's Inn

    "Come here!", the fat middle-aged man, sitting on a table in the far left corner of the inn, shouted.

    "I'm coming!", the waiter says, grinning, and runs as fast as he can towards the man. The waiter, a man in his early 30's, with long black hair, a handsome face, very red lips and brown eyes, wears white jacket and trousers, black cotton shoes and holds a napkin in his hands. "What do you want, sir?", he asks, while cleaning the table with the napkin.

    "Bring me a beef noodle soup."

    "Don't you want some rice instead?"
    , the waiter, smiling, replies.

    "No! I want a beef noodle soup!"

    "What about bringing you some cooked cabbages instead?"

    "No! Why don't you just bring me the food I ordered?!"

    "Alright."
    , the waiter sighs. "But do not blame me if you meet in person your ancestors."

    "What do you mean?"

    "Nothing. Nothing."


    The waiter then heads towards Mao Feng, the innkeeper. Mao is a 50 years old fat man with scruffy beard, short grey hair and wears a blue silk robe.

    "What did the customer ordered?", Mao, smiling, asks. Not everyday a costumer comes to his inn, so Mao cannot wait to get paid.

    "A beef noodle soup."

    "Go and bring the beef and the noodles!"


    The waiter nods his head up, showing that he refuses to follow his boss' order.

    "Why don't you go?"

    "Because I am afraid of spiders."

    "And what has this to do with the beef and the noodles?"

    "They are so old, that they have hundreds of spiders on them."

    "Go to hell, idiot!"

    "Alright. Alright. I shall go."


    As the waiter goes to bring the food, Mao sighs and says, "He, Xun Wao, of all people, wants to make fun of me. What an idiot!"

    A few minutes pass and Xun returns with the food.

    "Cook it!", Mao orders.

    "Why? You do not have hands?".

    "I pay you to do this job, dammit!"


    Xun starts laughing hard.

    "Why do you laugh?"

    "Because I earn less money than a beggar!"

    "Go to hell, idiot! You want to me fun of me!"

    "Do not insult me too much, because I will get angry."

    "And what shall you do if you get angry?"

    "You are lucky because there is a costumer here. Otherwise, I would have showed you what I would do!"
    . Xun silences for a few seconds and then says, "I do everything in this shop while you only...."

    "Only what?!"

    "I will go to the kitchen, because if I tell you, you will say that I am vulgar."

    "You!!!! Go to hell!"


    Xun goes to the kitchen while Mao sighs and asks himself, "Why do I keep this idiot here?"

    After ten minutes, Xun has the dish ready. He runs towards the costumer and serves him. The man, grinning, says, "Thanks you."

    "Do you really want to eat it?"

    "Of course. Why not?"

    "What type of coffin do you want?"

    "Why do you ask me this question?"

    "Because after you eat, it may be too late to ask."

    "What do you mean?"

    "Nothing. Nothing."


    The man starts eating the soup and nods his head in approval. "Quite good!", he says.

    "Since you say so.....Well, everyone has his own tastes."

    Suddenly, he shouts "A spider!!"

    "What?"

    "Look at my soup!"


    Xun looks at the soup and sees a small spider. "How there is a spider here?", Xun inquires. "I thought that I had killed all spiders when I cooked this."

    "I will get the police to arrest you!!!!"


    As the man shouts, he falls on the ground and says, "I have pain in my stomach!"

    "Xun, go get some medicine from Yuan's shop.", Mao orders.

    "What? I take orders from the costumers, I bring the food, I cook and now I have to also go get medicine?"

    "Go before I become really mad!!"

    "Alright. Alright. We can talk like civilized people about this. No need to shout. But how would you know manners? Who would teach you in your village where people only know to count up to ten?"


    Xun laughs hard and runs out of the shop before Mao can reply.

    Shaolin Temple

    After meditating for almost six hours below the beautiful Peach Blossom Tree, Jing gets up and heads towards his master to ask him some more question. As he walks upon the stone made floor of the Temple, he comes across Gao Jiao. The 43 years old thin Monk, with his light beard, smells wine. Gao disobeys the ruling of the Temple that wine is disallowed and he is almost always drunk. Because of his good heart and his excellent Kung Fu, the Abbot forgives him about this offense.

    "Young man....hic...hic...where...hic...are...hic...you.. .hic...heading?", Gao asks.

    "I want to ask the Abbot some questions.", Jing replies.

    "Why not...hic...hic...practice....hic...hic...some Kung Fu with me?"

    "Why not?"


    So, the two men head to the Temple's yard. There, under the clear blue sky and a dozens of Peach Blossom Trees, they shall train.

    "Hic...hic....hic...be as swift as the wind.", Gao says and throws a short bamboo stick at Jing.

    Gao then starts throwing knifes at Jing. Jing is anxious and sweating. Jing, at first, dodges three of them, but the fourth stabs him on the right shoulder. Blood comes out of the wound.

    "Hic....hic...hic...your anxiety is your mistake.", Gao consuls the young man. "Focus not on the knifes, but on yourself. Do not move, stay where you are. Do not watch where the knifes head. Be calm. Do not feel anxiety. Do not be afraid of the knifes. Welcome them. Do not await when they will arrive. Be patient. Close your eyes, because your eyes fool you. When the knifes come so close to you that you can feel them almost touching you, then move swiftly like the wind and use your stick to deflect them. Patience overcomes brute force."

    Jing remains silent. He thinks for a few seconds what Gao told to him. He then closes his eyes and tries to stay calm. As Gao throws the knifes towards him, Jing empties his mind and thinks that everything is an illusion. The knifes come close to him and need less than three seconds to stab him. Jing feels like the knifes are almost touching him. But he remains calm. This is an illusion. So, calm, he swiftly moves his stick. His move is fast, calm and powerful, all at the same time. On the last second, Jing deflects all of the knifes with his bamboo stick. Gao's teachings had worked.

    "Hic...hic...good. Now, let's practice on real battle.", Gao says and leaves.

    After a few minutes, Gao returns with an iron spear that is at least 1.5 meters long.

    "I am going to fight you with this weapon. Remember: Be patient. Be calm. Repeat the technique you used to deflect the knifes."

    Jing closes his eyes, empties his mind and stays calm. Gao charges against him with the spear. Jing does not move at all. He simply awaits. When he can almost feel the spear touching him, he blocks it with a swift move. His bamboo stick then flickers and stabs Gao's wrist. Jing then faces a dilemma: should he attack or defend? Gao said that he should be patient. So, Jing decides to not attack. Gao charges again with his spear against Jing, but Jing once again blocks in the last second the attack and then, with a swift move, hits Gao's stomach with his stick.

    "Good!", Gao says clapping. "This is the right way to defeat an enemy. Build a strong defence and await his attack. Then block the attack and counterattack. Continue this until your enemy is exhausted and beaten. Then, go on all out offensive and replace patience with fastness and use all your power. This way, your enemy shall be easily defeated. Anyway, you can now go and ask the Abbot whatever philosophical questions you have. I will continue drinking my wine."

    In the streets of Dengfeng

    Meanwhile, Xun ambles down the streets of Dengfeng and after a few minutes, he arrives at Yuan's shop. He enters the shop and sees Yuan reading a book. Yuan is 40 years old with a long black beard and wears a red silk robe.

    "Hello Xun!", Yuan, smiling, says. "What do you want?"

    "Hello Mr. Yuan. My boss wants a medicine for stomach ache."

    "He is in great pain?"

    "He? No. The costumer? Yes."

    "That's the reason why I never come to your inn. Anyway, I will give you a medicine that I am sure will relief the poor costumer."


    Yuan takes a small red bottle and gives it to Xun. Suddenly, a middle- aged woman runs inside the shop. Her face is ashen and she breaths very fast.

    "Mr. Yuan, please come to my house! My husband is dying!!"

    "I am coming! Xun, watch over the shop!"

    Before Xun can reply, Yuan and the woman leave. So, Xun is alone in the shop when an elderly man enters the shop.

    "Please, sir, give me something to end my suffering!", the man, who seems to be in great pain, shouts.

    "But, sir, you know...."

    "I know! You doctors want to be paid in advance!! I know what scums you are!"

    "But....."

    "Here are 100 taels. Take them and give me a medicine."


    At first Xun is reluctant, but he then remembers how many taels he earns for working for Mao and decides to take the money. He may never have again such a good chance to make so much money.

    "Well, and where do you feel the pain?"

    "In all of my body. And I have also not eaten for three days."

    "Me too."

    "You are in pain too?"

    "No. I haven't eaten for three days too."

    "Do not joke with me!"

    "I do not joke. Do you think I would be making medicine for you if I had money to eat?"

    "What do you mean?"

    "Nothing. Nothing."


    Xun then looks at the shop and takes some small bottles. He puts a bit of each medicine on an empty bottle. He then gives it to the man.

    "Doctor, will this end my suffering?"

    "It will end it. Forever...."

    "Good!"

    "By the way, how many children do you have?"

    "Five?"

    "How old is your eldest son?"

    "23."

    "He will work and feed the rest."


    The man is ready to drink the medicine, but Xun stops him and asks, "Do you not want to drink it in your home? To see your wife and children?"

    "No! I will drink it here."

    "You may never have a chance to meet them again, but anyway, since you are paying and since you want to drink it here, drink it."


    The man drinks the medicine and a few seconds later, he starts shouting in pain. He then falls on the ground.

    "Rest in Peace.", Xun says with tears in his eyes.

    But, suddenly, the pain stops and the old man manages to get up. He embraces Xun and kisses him on the cheek.

    "My good man!", the old man shouts. "Not only you cured me, but your medicine makes me feel young again, full of energy!"

    "Really? Should I take this medicine too?"

    "Doctor, get 700 taels more. And come whenever you want at my home. I, Jia Jang, am the richest man in the town and an adviser of General Shi Yousan. So, for whatever you want, come to me. Also, I shall tell to all of my friends how good a doctor you are and soon, you will become very rich."

    "Really?"
    , Xun asks, not believing his luck.

    "Yes, you shall gain thousands of taels each week. By the way, what is your name?"

    Xun looks around and sees a box with the name "John" on it.

    "My name is John. Doctor John."

    "Doctor, you have studied in the west?"

    "Of course. If I have not studied in the west, who would have?"

    "You are such a great doctor."

    "For a thousand taels the week, I can pretend not only the doctor, I can even pretend to be Chiang Kai Shek."

    "What did you say?"

    "Nothing. Nothing. I am just saying what a good work Chiang Kai Shek is doing for the country."

    "Indeed. Now I have to leave."

    "Bye."

  2. #2
    Senior Member Mandred Skavenslayer's Avatar
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    Well done. A promising start. Like the story about the farmer and his phantom family, I think that was in Book and Sword right?

    Can you clarify how a Chinese waiter in the early 20th century is able to read English?

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