Sunday, May 13, 2018


Zen Monks & Self-Defense

   by Reb Gutman Locks   

Zen Monks & Self-Defense


    Moshe, a Jewish youth is traveling and wants to go live in a Zen Buddhist Temple for two months to study martial arts. He wrote me asking for my approval.


Moshe wrote:

     "I was writing my father asking approval and he says that if you say yes then I have it!

Please look at the conversation." 


(To his father:)

     "I want to stop for 2 months in the Shaolin Temple (birth place and number one school of Kong Fu) to be a Shaolin monk for 2 months which means meditation and Kungfu training from sunrise to sunset   

     The meditations are to test discipline and ego to ensure that the practice does not fall into the wrong hands. 

     This does NOT involve worship or prayer or idolatry of any type. 

     The meditation does not involve any mantras or dogma —-it's simply the clear your mind meditation nothing more. 

     The philosophy is simply to be a kind honorable protector of the kindness and goodness left in this world and NOT to be taught or used as a destructive or dominant weapon (protection only). 

     They do not require any religious conversion for students (they are happy with 500€ per month)

     ONLY the teachers/masters living in the temple indefinitely must actually follow Zen philosophy and life style. They don't mind use of Tefillin or other, not too time consuming Jewish worship and religious practice, as long as it does not interfere with the training. 

     I might need to wear the clothes!!

     Meditation (not of any specific type) and serious training + payment 500€ is all required. 

     I'm telling you this because they ask all ages about parental consent on applying for "Kong Fu boot camp" 

So I really need your approval!!"


And this is his father's reply:

     "I don't know about this... but rabbi locks in the rova would.  If he says it's ok..  then I would"


Moshe to Gutman:

     "As I know you already, my guess is that you would make me start doing tefillin for your permission go and I guess I would say, ok !!

    At the moment I'm completely not religious, but I will do any Jewish thing you ask for permission to go there. 

    If I go immediately, i will not be shaved when my next hair grows since they shave every 2 months  

     So is my guess right???

    Do I have to open myself to the possibility of Judaism to give it another chance to get your permission???

Thanks for your time."


Gutman's reply:

    Shalom Moshe,

     Although almost all of those teachings are just martial arts you would be putting yourself in spiritual risk by going into a Zen Temple.

    If your objective is to learn self-defense then there is a much better system being taught here in Israel, a system that people come from all over the world to learn. It is called Krav Maga.   

     Beside the fact that it is a better self-defense system you would be learning in Israel mostly with Jews and not in a Zen Temple mostly with monks who can seem very impressive… and who could actually steal your spiritual life away.

     Their objectives in life are the opposite to ours. They teach detachment, letting go of the world, and we teach proper attachment so we can elevate the world.

     I do not recommend you going to those classes but rather learn the better system here.

Love to your father


I sent my reply to him and to his father.

His father replied:

     Thanks.  I knew the answer, but I knew he would not listen to me.  Hopefully he will listen to you.   Keep up the great work.


Gutman's reply:

     For him to live in a Buddhist monastery, dressed in robes, practicing meditation and martial arts with zen monks for two months is insane. He could end up there with their goals and life style for years!

Be well



  1. Tanach / Bible, Mishlei / Proverbs, chapter 17, verse 24:

    IBN EZRA commentary:
    “A fool travels to faraway places
    to seek wisdom because he believes that
    the local people are fools like himself.”
    Was Daniel an Orthodox Jew?

    Was Isaiah an Orthodox Jew?

    Was Ezekiel an Orthodox Jew?

    Was Jeremiah an Orthodox Jew?

    Was Ezra an Orthodox Jew?

    Was Nehemiah an Orthodox Jew?

    Refuting the Fans of Vashti:

    Rambam Refutes Reform Judaism:

    Rambam Rejected Childless Messiah:

  2. I was astonished at even the question of going to such a place. What has happened to our youth? H' yerachem. To even enter any house of idol worship is wrong, let alone to live there for two months and be in the midst of 24 hour avoda zorah is mind boggling.

    H' bless you; you had the greatest mitzvah by stopping this insanity. Kudos to this young man's wise father.


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