© 2019 Taylor & Francis. Shaolin Monastery at Mount Song is considered the epicentre of the Chan school of Buddhism. It is also well known for its martial arts tradition and has long been regarded as a special cultural heritage site and an important symbol of the Chinese nation. This book is the first scholarly work in English to comprehensively examine the full history of Shaolin Monastery from 496 to 2016. More importantly, it offers a clear grasp of the origins and development of Chan Buddhism through an examination of Shaolin, and highlights the role of Shaolin and Shaolin kung fu in the construction of a national identity among the Chinese people in the past two centuries.