After a botched knee surgery, Harsh Verma went to the Shaolin Temple in China and became the first non-Chinese national warrior monk. Kung Fu originates from Shaolin.
- Harsh was an elite athlete and at an early age played pro soccer
- Too much calcium led to a need for what should have been a rather typical knee surgery
- During surgery, doctors discovered a large tumor that had to be removed
- Harsh’s recovery post-surgery wasn’t working
- A good friend pointed him in the direction of martial arts
- Harsh landed on the world famous Shaolin Temple in China, known as both the founding place for Zen Buddhism and Kung Fu
- Shaolin Temple is also an alternative medicine facility and Harsh decided it could help with his recovery
- Shaolin’s roots point back to Bodhidarma, a famous Indian Eminent Monk and the 28th Patriarch of Buddha
- Harsh had to use translation apps to figure out how to communicate in the beginning
- At nine months, Harsh was fluent in Chinese
Harsh spent a total of four years in Shaolin Temple
- After feeling fully recovered in month 7, Harsh never considered going back to soccer or to make films in Bollywood
- At 1.5 years, Harsh told the Temple that he had to leave because he couldn’t afford to stay; the abbot and others ultimately extended an opportunity to Harsh to stay and become a Warrior Monk - the first non-Chinese to be offered such an opportunity
- Harsh discusses why he left the temple -- to spread the message and may ultimately take the monastery up on its offer to open an Indian branch of the Shaolin Temple
“And if I don't sweat, I don't feel good.”
“If you want to do something really different. If you want to be out there and make a change for your own self. You need to take that big risk.”
“ So Shaolin Temple is based on the three basic principles as called in Chinese we say, Chan, Wu and Yi. Chan is like Buddhism, the Zen part, the Zen Buddhism part. Wu is wushu. That's martial arts. And Yi is Yio, the medicine part.”
“ So when you start picturing yourself wanting to be somewhere, you're doing it already. That's the first step of getting there. That's the first thing I learned at Shaolin Temple. And the second thing I learned was listening.”
“ Basically, if there's no passion in what you're doing - doesn't make sense doing it.”
“ Nobody in this world has ever got this opportunity. I mean, after Bodhidharma, there has never been an Indian who was adopted by the temple to become a warrior monk.”
“I look back at it and I think about it as if that wouldn't have happened to me. I wouldn't be in the place that I am right now.”
Learn more about Harsh Verma
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