He is a man of peace in a violent land. He is Kwai Chang Caine, schooled in the spirit-mind-body ways of the Shaolin priesthood by the blind, avuncular Master Po and the stern yet loving Master Kan. Caine speaks softly but hits hard. He lives humbly yet knows great contentment. He is the Old West's most unusual hero. But hero is not a word Caine would use. He would simply say, "I am a man."
The Shaolin Way
It could be said that 'Kung Fu' was the greatest vegan tv series of all time. Caine's reverence for life (ahimsa), and his avoidance of meat would seem to indicate that, but it was the pacifistic message that spoke volumes. To have a hero that opposed using violence as a first choice to solve a dispute was a breathe of fresh air on prime-time television. If Caine could run instead of fight, he would.
But a reverence for life is just one aspect to the buddhist/tao philosophy followed by the Shaolin. To keep the body and mind strong and focused, the Shaolin practiced many animal styles of kung fu alongside of their meditation practices.
"All creatures - the low and the high - are one with nature. No life is insignificant. If we have the wisdom to learn, all may teach us their virtues. From the crane we learn grace and self-control. The snake teaches us suppleness and rhythmic endurance. The praying mantis teaches us speed and patience. And from the tiger we learn tenacity and power. And from the dragon we learn to ride the wind. Life sustains life and all living creatures need nourishment. Yet, with wisdom the body learns to sustain in ways that all may live."
- Master Kan
"Maybe happiness is a fragment of existence, but with better packaging."