All Articles
All Articles

Shaolin: Temple of Zen

by Tim Yu
on 09 October 2007

Shaolin monks, the guardians of the "vehicle to zen," are the subject of talented and determined photographer Justin Guariglia's new book, Shaolin: Temple of Zen. Having once made the two-day trip from Beijing to the birthplace of Zen Buddhism, the Shaolin Temples of central China, where Guariglia shot the series, I know these images were not easy to get. Walking the grounds as a visitor and watching demonstrations, it was understandable and very apparent that I was not experiencing anything close to authentic. Guariglia, on the other hand, befriended and gained the trust of temple inhabitants over numerous visits. As a result, for the first time in the secret society's fifteen hundred year-old history, the monograph documents the Buddhist monks dedication to preserving Kung fu.

Shaolin compiles select images shot over the past eight years in the recently-released book, capturing intimate, candid and unplanned moments that lend some humanity to these enlightened figures. Addressing the fact that Shaolin has experienced a recent boom of popularity due to the success of Kung fu movies like "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," his photos often show the traditions of Shaolin culture clashing with a fast-paced contemporary China.


In celebration of the book's release there will be a special event this Friday, 12 October 2007, at the Rubin Museum of Art which will include a demonstration by Shaolin monk Shi de Chao of the 31st generation (pictured right), a book signing and a slide show. Visit Aperture for more information on the event and to purchase the book for $28. See more images here.

Shaolin: Temple of Zen
Book release and demonstration: 12 October 2007, 6pm
Rubin Museum of Art
150 West 17th Street
New York, NY map
tel. +1 212 620-5000

Also on Cool Hunting: Guariglia + Chen: Qi

Loading More...