A PEACEFUL SOUL: The Last Monk of Shaolin Temple
by Shi Deru and Shi Deyang-Disciples
"He is the last true Shaolin Monk. His Holiness, the only one who spoke for us, is gone."- Shaolin villager, upon the death of the Great Master Su Xi.
The 20th Century was a time of great strife, almost in its entirety, in China. Puyi, The Last Emperor, had been swept away. Sun Yat-Sen and the Republic of China fell. Japan Invaded. Millions suffered and millions died during the War with Japan (World War II). Many Chinese turned to the Buddha for succor. One of the Great Seats of Buddhism in China, the seat of "Chan" Buddhism (pronounced "Zen" in Japan), was the Shaolin Temple.
A young Chinese man turned to the Buddha to help him cope with the loss of his own family. Almost 70 years later, millions of Chinese would mourn this man's own passing and the passing of a great age in the Middle Kingdom.
Considered a Bodhisattva in his own right, the Great Master, His Holiness Su Xi, the Last Monk of Shaolin, had passed from this Earth, at the age of 82, joining his predecessors in the great river of timeless history that is China. His life was difficult yet it was complete. It was filled with hard work, much sadness, and ultimate triumph.
Great Master, His Holiness Su Xi, first came to the Shaolin Temple in the 1930s from the small town of Deng Feng only a few miles from the temple. He would reside, learn, teach, and pray, primarily, at Shaolin Temple, for the next 70 years.
Whether during war external, or civil strife, as with the Cultural Revolution, the Great Master Su Xi brought solace, hope, and peace to millions of Chinese Buddhists over his years at the temple. It may be argued that the current civil governance of the temple makes the Great Master Su Xi the Last True Monk of Shaolin Temple.
This book will briefly cover the history of China and Shaolin Temple as seen through the eyes of the Great Master Su Xi, and related to two of his most loyal disciples, Shi Deru and Shi Deyang. It will also relate the heart, the nut, the kernel of the Great Masterís philosophy, and serve it forth as a profound path to peace from a great man who knew peace well, and yet was also highly skilled in the Chinese arts of war known as Wushu or Kungfu.
The Great Master Su Xi has been called "The Dalai Lama of China," and he was truly "A Peaceful Soul."
Under Mao's program called "Land Reform" the government claimed everyone's property and established a system of communes. The communes were further divided into brigades, villages, and production teams. Under this system everyone had a place. Unfortunately for Su Xi and the monks of the temple, the educated and religious people of China were declared "Enemies of the State." "Enemies of the State" were kept in the lowest labor jobs. When they were not working they were tortured or forced to wear a large heavy metal plate around their neck that made sleeping or moving around very uncomfortable. On the plate were words declaring their crimes for all to see. Those who passed were encouraged to spit on the criminals, and to kick them. The plate would then be removed when it was time to go back to work. During this period, Su Xi's temple training began to serve him well. Having learned the path of Chan and maintaining his focus on his Chan practices, His Holiness, Su Xi endured this treatment with empty mind.
from A Peaceful Soul by Shi Deru and Shi Deyang
The authors, disciples Shi Deru and Shi Deyang, were both raised and trained at Shaolin Temple by the Great Master Su Xi. Both have entered the 36th Chamber, so to speak, and gone out into the world to teach Kungfu and Chan Buddhism, and to help others find the inner peace as exemplified by the Great Master Su Xi.
This is a work in progress, being written by Shi Deru & Shi Deyang with editorial assistance from Pierce Watters.