SHIJIAZHUANG, April 26 (Xinhua) -- Chinese archaeologists have discovered an ancient inscription carved in a cliff cave in northern China's Hebei Province, believed to be a place of seclusion for a renowned Shaolin monk, local authorities said Wednesday.
Dating back to more than 1,400 years ago, the inscription is made up of eight big Chinese characters and several lines of smaller characters, saying "Master Sengchou once lived here for a life of religious seclusion," according to the cultural heritage administration of Cixian County.
The inscription was carved on a smooth mountain wall in a cave near Beiyangcheng Village of Baitu Township and remains well-preserved, according to the administration.
Cultural relics scholars believe that an ancient ruin in a mountain near the village might be the temple where Sengchou promoted Zen Buddhism.
According to historical records, Sengchou was born in Hebei's Changli County and good at martial arts. Later, he learned Buddhist doctrine at the Shaolin Temple, the birthplace of Zen Buddhism and widely believed to be a cradle of Chinese kungfu. He played a significant role in the tradition of Shaolin monks practicing martial arts.
"The discovery offers precious materials to study the history of local Buddhism and the Northern Qi Dynasty," said Liu Xinchang, head of the history association of Handan city.