Shaolin Monks Generations Names
Shaolin Warrior Monks & Secular Disciples have been passing down the knowledge of Shaolin Chan, Wu & Yi for centuries and this Inheritance of knowledge is STRICTLY from Master to Disciple. This relationship is the most fundamental demonstration of the patriarchal clan system, traditional to Shaolin Temple.
The Shaolin patriarchal clan system was established in the 13th century when Abbot Xueting Fuyu, leader of Caodong sect, led the temple. The adoption of this system (which formed the grass-roots structure in ancient Chinese society) had a far-reaching impact on the temple and Shaolin Kungfu. At the peak of its historical influence, the temple ran 25 sub-temples with as many as 800-plus monks. In the 13th year of the reign of the Emperor Yongzheng during the Qing Dynasty (1735 A.D.), the imperial court carried out a major rectification of the patriarchal clans of the Shaolin Temple. At present, Shaolin Temple still has ten sub-temples with over 150 monks in total.
Sholin Monks, like most Buddhist Monks, receive a Dharma Name(Monastic Name) during their Iniciation Ceremony.
While Ba Tuo is the founder and first abbot of the temple and Ta Mo is the founder of Chan, Fu Yu is the founder of the current lineage of the Shaolin Temple.
The names of Shaolin monks are always built on the same diagram. They consist of which is three Chinese words: "Shi” + "Monk Generation” + "Name”.
The first character is "Shi", an abbreviation of ShiJiaMuNi (Shakyamuni in Sanskrit which means "wise of the clan of Shakya", synonymous with Buddha). Shaolin monks and not only uses the word "Shi” out of respect of Lord Buddha in their Monk names. The Chinese letter which is used to write the word "Shi” means "stamp” so it is essential for a Monk to understand that he must carried the Buddhist "Stamp” for ever in his life, before he accepted to be a Monk.
The second character represents the generation to which the monk belongs. With each generation a character is associated; thus for example "Yong" represents the 33the generation, "Yan" is the 34th, etc. The generation character is given to the Monk by his Master, only.
The third character is the name of the monk. This given name does not constitute the "official" name of the monks (it is not that which is reproduced on their passport or in their id card), but it is however used in Shaolin for the monks of high level, because it testifies their position in Shaolin. In Shaolin si a monk called only by his Monk name. The young monks disciplines have each one such a name, but they do not use it between them out of respect for the Monks until the day they become Monks themselves.
The Generation Name for Shaolin Temple Monks is taken from a unusual Naming System which is a Generation Poem/Verse of a seventy characters (word), created by Abbot Xueting Fuyu at the beginning of the Song Dynasty. He wrote the poem for the next generations to derive their names from. For example, the given name of a monk or disciple of the 32nd generation would begin with the character "Xing", as it is the 32nd word in the poem.
The monks of the Shaolin Temple come from all over the world and are all required to learn these 70 characters of the poem by heart.
Master Fuyu set down the naming system for passing down Shaolin Kungfu for 70 generations. This list is as follows: Fu, Hui, Zhi, Zi, Jue, Liao, Ben, Yuan, Ke, Wu, Zhou, Hong, Pu, Guang, Zong, Dao, Qing, Tong, Xuan, Zu, Qing, Jing, Zhen, Ru, Hai, Zhan, Ji, Chun, Zhen, Su, De, Xing, Yong, Yan, Heng, Miao, Ti, Chang, Jian, Gu, Xin, Lang, Zhao, You, Shen, Xing, Ming, Jian, Chong, Zuo, Zhong, Zheng, Shan, Xi, Chan, Jin, Que, Yuan, Ji, Du, Xue, Ting, Wei, Dao, Shi, Yin, Ru, Gui, Xuan, and Lu.