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The 5 Ancestors of the Hung Mun



5 Ancestors of the Hung Mun

a detailed overview of the legendary monks
by M.J.Frank

The destruction of the Southern Shaolin Temple ( Title of book available upon request)......

"With the monks back in their monastery, the grand secretary of the Qing council, Wong Chun Mei, became jealous of the honours offered to them and the position bestowed on Cheng Kwan Tat.  Fired by envy, Wong set about sowing doubts in the emperor's mind. If, Wong reasoned, this small band of monks had been so successful where the imperial foces had failed, surley they might just as readily turn against the emperor as defend him.  He argued that the reason they had declinded their honours was because their main intention was to raise an army agaist the throne.  The emperor was persuaded by the logic of this arguement and became so fearful that he ordered Cheung Kin Chau, the provincial high commissioner of fujian province, and Chan Man Yiu, the magistrate of  Po Ting district to destroy the Shaolin monastery and all its inhabitants.  he further ordered Cheung Kwan Tat's execution.

The monastery was strategically situated on a tall hill.  A surprise attack was impossible.  Furthermore, the hill was reputed to be honeycombed with tunnels by which the monks would be able to escape were there monastery stormed.  It was decided the best course of action was to drug the monks then kill them.  However, in case the play went awry, all exits from the monastery would have to be guarded: this meant the entrances to the tunnels would have to be located.  Chan Man Yiu, disguised as a peasant, wandered the nearby villages to glean information.

Chan met and befriended a coolie and learned that he had been a monk in the Shaolin monastery. On further investigation, he discovered that the coolie, Ma Yee Fuk (man ning yee) had been ranked seventh among the monks in martial ability, but had been cast out because he had made advances to Cheng Kwan tat's wife and sister, and had broked the Man Nin Po Tang, a sacred lamp presented to the monastery by the Persian government.  His shaven head marking him as a disgraced monk, he had been unable to obtain fitting work, and was reduced to living as a common labourer.  Embittered by his excommunication, Ma was ready for revenge and, when Chan Man Yiu admitted his identity, agreed to assist in the attack on the monastery.  Chan promised him imperial honours and favours.  Ma showed him the whereabouts of the tunnels and the paths leading from them.  Finally, Chan requested that Ma swear his expulsion from the monastery had been caused by his refusal tp join the monks' conspiracy against the emperor.  Ma conceded. 

With the traitor's inside knowledge, troops under the command of High Commissioner Cheung Kin Chau were placed at all the secret exits.  Others hid near the main gates, to seal them when the signal was given.  All were supplied with inflammable material.   Chan Man Yiu with a number of coolies carrying jars of drugged wine, openly announced that the wine was a personal gift from the emperor.  He requested that the abbott and all the monks drink the emperor's wealth with it.  The abbott, however, was suspicious and, testing the wine with a magic sword, found the blade changed colour.  The monk, furious at the emperor's treachery, attacked Chan Man Yiu but he managed to escape.  On seeing him flee, the troops advanced, igniting fires at the entrances to all the secret tunnels; they then set fire to the buildings. 

One hundred ten monks perished in the fire.  The remaining eighteen sought refuge in the main hall of the temple and there, before the image of Buddha, prayed for their deliverance.  Their prayers were answered when a large yellow curtain hanging in the hall fell to cover them.  It protected the monks from the flames but it and the smoke also smothered them so that they lost consciousness.  When the Qing troops saw the walls of the building collapse, and could see no sign of life within them, they assumed their task was done and retreated. 

When the 18 survivors came to, they found themselves trapped in the ruins.  One of the number, however, Tsai Te Chung, knocked a hole in the monastery wall, through which they managed to make their getaway.  The entire hill was alight, but they rany over the burning grass, the smoke concealing them.  Slipping through the military lines, they travelled to Ting Shan, nearby Sheung Yeung City, Hupei province.  There, thirteen of them died from their burns and wounds or from lack of food.  They were cremated, their ashes wrapped in several bundles and retained for safekeeping by the 5 remaining survivors: Tsai Te Chung, Fong Tai Hung, Ma Chiu Hing, Wu Tak Tai, and Lee Sik Hoi."

Pretty much, the above information is common knowledge for some, and not for others.  Yet, not much is available on any of the 5 Ancestors.   It alll seems to just stop with Tsai Te Chung, Fong Tai Hung, Ma Chiu Hing, Wu Tak Tai, and Lee Sik Hoi.  No other infomation other than that existed within the Martial Arts community.  But when searching outside of it, there is a good amount of info on the 5 Ancestors.  Information such as names of their lodges that were founded, location,  flags and what were on them.  The following is a detailed information about the 5 Ancestors.