At the foundation of all great religions and theosophies is the same ultimate Truth that each religion and each seeker of Truth attempts to understand, live by and experience. Aspects of this ultimate Truth recognized by all the great religions and seekers in one form or another are Love, Peace, Truth, Joy, Spirit, Light, Wisdom and Unity. Seekers within the Shaolin Tradition recognize the unity of all people, of life, of the universe, and attempt total realization of the aspects of Truth for themselves. The tradition also involves itself with the dissemination of the teachings in the hope of one day achieving world peace and harmony. Throughout the history of this tradition it has acknowledged and used methods of achieving these goals from any effective source. It was and is the norm for its seekers to participate in the activities of one or several other traditions. It has been said that a seeker in this tradition "may adhere to all, yet be bound by none". This occurred in the creation of the tradition.
The Shaolin Tradition began in the 6th century A.D., when an Indian kshatriya (member of the Hindu warrior caste) and Buddhist priest, came to the Shaolin Temple in China to teach. The man's name was Bodhidarma, which means "Wisdom Way" (also known as Ta-Mo in Chinese and Daruma in Japanese). This man brought together the Hindu Yogic, Buddhist, and Taoist methods of human development, and by doing so became the founder of the Chan Buddhist sect (Zen in Japanese). He taught meditation and energization techniques that incorporated martial movements, setting into motion the Shaolin Tradition that we practice today. Bodhidarma realized that the abilities meditation and the martial arts so highly developed (integrity, discipline, discrimination, will, objectivity, concentration, intuition, etc.) were the very abilities that are prerequisite for spiritual realization.
During the fifteen centuries that have followed, this tradition of methods of holistic human development has continued to evolve, with the ultimate goal of producing high levels of spiritual awareness for its practitioners.