The gruesome origin of tea
There are many legends and tales explaining the origin of tea that we love so much today, but one of them is especially grisly. Back in the day a monk named Bodhidharma travelled all the way from India to China in order to spread teachings of Buddhism. He stayed in a cave near Shaolin and spent 9 years in mediation with his eyes wide open and without any food or water whatsoever. Years later he decided to repeat his long-term meditation, but was unable to do so as he was dozing off all the time. In a fit of anger he cut off his eyelids and threw them on the ground so he could never sleep at all. To his surprise, a plant grew from the ground where his eyelids fell. That is how tea came to be.
The Werewolf of Shaolin
As the legend goes, there was a man named Tai Djin who suffered from hypertrichosis which made his body all covered with hair. His family took him for a demon and abandoned the baby in a forest where he was picked up by traveling Shaolin monks. The child grew up in the monastery and became one of the most prominent fighters in China. It is believed that he mastered more than 100 weapons and could use 200 ‘empty hand’ fighting techniques. He could even use the infamous ‘death touch’! No one knows if he was actually this good, but Tai Djin still serves as an inspiration for martial artists all around the world.
Shaolin and Japanese pirates
The ‘dwarf pirates’ of Japan that went by the name Wokou were a deadly force during the early 16th century. They ravaged dozens of China’s coastal towns killing hundreds of people. When the Wokou attacked Hangzhou, a rich port city with thousands of citizens, the Chinese government had finally had enough. Ming court ordered 120 elite Shaolin monks to destroy the enemy, but the task wasn’t as easy as everyone was hoping it to be. It took four tiresome battles to defeat the Wokou, but the monks were finally victorious, killing every pirate they came across.