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Patriarch Kirill Heaps Praise on Shaolin Monks

Taking a cue from the Shaolin tradition, the Russian patriarch is advocating austerity and restraint in how people should conduct their lives. Igor Tabakov

The head of the Russian Orthodox Church has praised the Shaolin monks' way of life and advised people to take a step back from the comforts of the 21st century.

Referring to the Shaolin Temple's tradition of Chinese martial arts, Patriarch Kirill said that victory in conflict comes to those with a strong spirit, and not to those with the best weapons or the most money.

"The wonderful martial skills that were born inside your monastery are a very good illustration that human strength depends on the strength of the human spirit," the patriarch said at a meeting in Moscow with Shi Yongxin, abbot of the Shaolin Temple in Henan, China, Interfax reported Thursday.

Modern civilization idolizes the idea of personal comfort, whereas staying in comfort makes a human being weaker, he said, adding that more attention should be "oriented toward spiritual training."

Shi Yongxin is in Moscow as head of the delegation of Shaolin monks that will take part in the Spasskaya Bashnya military music festival that runs until Sept. 8 on Red Square.

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