Shaolin Generational Naming

The abbot of the temple at the beginning of the Song Dynasty, Xueting Fuyu, wrote the following poem for the next generations to derive their names from. Chinese names usually consist of three words. Buddhist monks and Disciples worldwide take the last name “Shi” or “Shakya”, for Shijiamouni (Shakyamuni) Buddha, to show they are part of his extended family. The first part of a given name is the generational name. For example, the given name of a monk or disciple of the 32nd generation would begin with the character “Xing”, as it is the 32nd word in the poem.

A Seventy-character Rhyme of Genealogy for the Orthodox Caodong Sect of the Shaolin Buddhist Temple at Mt. Song.

Shaolin Lineage Poem from Orthodox Caodong Sect at Mount Song

Blessed and talented,
an intelligent young man will grow into awareness;
you are originally in a state of completion and thus apt to understand.
All around in the universe the Buddhist doctrine spreads,
we celebrate that our principle comes from the same ancestry.
The Buddhist state is pure and quiet, vast as the sea;
in the profound silence our chastity and nativeness are enhanced.
Our moral conduct will endure forever;
and our bodies are constantly firm.
The mind is a crystal clear that can light up the depth of the mountains;
and the innate character can make one bright enough
to distinguish nobility from treachery.
Faithfulness, decency and virtuousness will bring happiness and auspiciousness;
We cautiously keep in mind our original course in the crossing.
The snowy courtyard is like a teacher,
that will guide you to return to a bright road.