The Bodhidharma and “A Sudden Dawn” by Goran Powell

February 5, 2013

An Indian prince, Siddartha Guatama, became the Buddha in the 6th Century BC, and recorded history says Buddhism first arrived in China about four hundred years later—more than two centuries before the birth of Jesus Christ.

After the Buddha died, tradition says that Buddhism split—Christianity and Islam also split into different sects after the founders died—into two major branches that divided again several times over the centuries. Today, Buddhism has about 379 million followers and is the world’s fifth largest religion.

The Bodhidharma was a Buddhist monk and a teacher who lived during the fifty and/or sixth century AD—about twelve-hundred years after Buddha.

A Sudden Dawn is an epic historical fiction novel that opens with a young man named Sardili born in 507 AD to the Indian warrior caste.

The author of A Sudden Dawn is Goran Powell, 4th dan, GojuRyu Karate. He is an author of two martial arts books, a freelance writer in London and a recipient of numerous advertising awards. Powell is a regular contributor to martial arts magazines and has twice appeared on the cover of Traditional Karate Magazine. This is his first novel. Powell resides in London with his wife and three children.

In A Sudden Dawn, Sardili realizes that he would rather seek enlightenment than follow his family’s military legacy and he sets out on a life-long quest for truth and wisdom that leads him to China where he becomes the Buddhist monk Bodhidharma, known as Da Mo in China.

Da Mo establishes the Shaolin Temple as the birthplace of Zen and the Martial Arts. In ancient China, bandits and thieves were widespread and Buddhist temples were vulnerable to attack. The Da Mo taught a fighting system for the monks to defend themselves, and it proved successful. Over time, the Buddhist Shaolin style of martial arts evolved to what it is today.


The discovery of Bodhidarma’s burial temple in China

What do others say about Goran Powell’s historical fiction novel?

Harriet Klausner, the #1 Amazon Hall of Fame Reviewer, says, “This is an entertaining biographical fiction that enables the reader to understand the life of the founder of the Shaolin movement; in fact the temple Bodhidharma constructed over fifteen centuries ago is still there. Although the romance elements feel forced, the era and the hero come across vividly clear. Readers who appreciate a deep ancient Asian tale will enjoy this super glimpse at a devoted sixth century legendary Buddhist monk.”

L.A. Kane, an Amazon Vine Voice and an Amazon top 1,000 reviewer says, “I’ve read thousands of novels, hundreds of terrific tomes, yet A Sudden Dawn easily makes my top ten. It does not matter if you know of Bodhidharma, care about martial arts, or can even spell the word “Shaolin,” if you have any interest whatsoever in historical fiction you will be captivated by this extraordinary tale. …”

Shawn Kovacich, an Amazon Vine Voice, says, “Being a long time practitioner of the martial arts I tend to be very subjective and quite picky when it comes to fictionalized accounts of the martial arts and martial arts fighting. However, I found that all of my preconceived notions and prejudices were totally unfounded concerning this very well written and totally engrossing novel based upon historical events and people (to a certain extent). … It is that good!”

Discover Cults and Christian Cannon Balls

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Hsuan-tsang – From China to India for Enlightenment

August 27, 2010

I mentioned Hsuan-tsang (Xuanzang) when I wrote about China’s Three “Journey’s to the West”. However, in that post I did not go into detail about the real Buddhist monk who made the journey.

While doing some research about his life, I discovered an intellectual discussion at Philosophy and Marxism Today.  If this topic interests you and you want to learn more about Buddhism I recommend reading this conversation between Thomas Riggins and Fred.

Thomas starts with, “I’ll start with background based on Chan’s introductory remarks.

“Hsuan-tsang (596-644) was quite a character. He entered a Buddhist monastery when he was thirteen. Then moved around China studying under different masters. Finally, he went off to India to study Buddhism at its source and with Sanskrit masters.

“He spent over ten years in India, wrote a famous book about his journey, and returned to China with over six hundred original manuscripts.

“He spent the rest of his life with a group of translators rendering seventy five of the most important works into Chinese. All of this work was sponsored by the Emperor of the newly established T’ang Dynasty (618 – 906 AD).”

The book I have on Hsuan-tsang says he lived from 602 to 664 AD.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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The Question of Religion (2/2)

August 13, 2010

Think of the violence and wars that religions have caused—the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, genocide against the Cathars (see video), the wars between Catholics and Protestants, and the persecution of Jews by both Muslims and Christians.

Then there are Islamic fundamentalists and the suffering and death caused by their religious beliefs.

Although most people in China are not religious, religions have caused uprising and wars in China too.

The Ming Dynasty (1368-1643) came about due to a rebellion against the Mongol Yuan Dynasty led by a religious sect known as the “Red Turbans” or “Red Scarves”, which included elements from “White Lotus”, a Buddhist sect from the late Southern Song Dynasty. Source: New World Encyclopedia

During the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) when the Manchu minority ruled China, there were a number of religious uprisings.

There was the White Lotus Rebellion (1796-1804) in the mountain region that separates Sichuan province from Hubei and Shaanxi provinces. The White Lotus was a secret religious society promising salvation to its followers similar to the Falun Gong today.

A Christian convert claiming to be the younger brother of Jesus Christ led the Taiping Rebellion (1850-1864) and more than 20 million died.

The Panthay Rebellion (1856-1873) was a separatist movement led by the Hui people and Chinese Muslims.

There was also the Dungan revolt (1862-1877), led by Muslims in China’s Shaanxi, Gansu, Ningxia and Xinjiang provinces. Chinese historians and officials believed that Islam played a role in causing that uprising.

Maybe the reason China survived for thousands of years without collapsing as Western civilization did when Rome fell was the absence of a major religious movement in China stirring the peoples’ emotions.

Instead of listening to God from the mouths of Popes, prophets and priests, the Chinese had a blend of Confucianism and Taoism, which the family taught by example.

Return to The Question of Religion – Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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Four Equals One China—More Facts about the Four Chinas (part 7 of 7)

May 17, 2010

Contrary to popular American or Western opinions because of the one child policy, the population in China is still growing but slowly at 0.655%. There are 14 births for every 1000 people and the death rate is 7.06 deaths per 1000. The one child policy applies to urban Han Chinese.

Life expectancy at birth is 73.47 years. When Mao won China, that life expectancy was 36 years. Religions: Daoist (Taoist), Buddhist, Christian 3%-4%, Muslim 1%-2%. The rest of the population is officially atheist (2002 est.) Source: CIA Factbook

Yes, the CIA actually provides public information for every nation on the earth.  You can buy the book or access the Website.

Start with Four Equals One China: Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page, or click on the “Following” tab in the WordPress toolbar at the top of the screen.

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