Like Notre Dame is woven with French, Shaolin Temple is intertwined with a huge potion of Chinese histories, legends and myth.

The temple survived many attacks since 5 AD when it was built.  It helped fight off many enemies of China and is one of the oldest ground still existed on earth.

Religious Place II
 Shaolin Temple: Monument of Heroes and Endurance
by Princess Mulan

Thousands of warlords,
bandits, privates and others,
tried to invade it.

Even Emperors,
afraid of the Temple's strength,
want to outlaw it.

3000 years,
Villains and kings are all gone;
Shaolin still stand tall.

Home of martial art;
with hundreds form of kung fu.
Housed the best fighters.

A place of elite,
grow many philosophers,
as well as heroes.

Contain vast wisdom,
formed the Tao philosophy;
practice by many.

Got enough power
to take over the country,
but never start a fight.

Believe non-violence.
unless absolutely needed,
they won't lift their fists.

Yet when lives are harmed,
Shaolin fights back without fear,
preserving justice.

Japan and Mongol
invade China with cold blood,
everybody is scared.

Heroes from Shaolin,
help to defend the country,
saved hundred of lives.

Forever humble,
they never brag or show off,
show strength with action.

Kings banned martial art and philosophy throughout history, much as they banned literature for the fear of spreading knowledge.  A lot of Shaolin's texts are burn.  History of Shaolin is a little broken.  Doesn't matter really, it adds to the mystical feel of the Temple ^__^