MovieChat Forums > Shao Lin san shi liu fangĀ (1978) Discussion > Why did San Ta deserve his 36th Chamber?

Why did San Ta deserve his 36th Chamber?


The Abbots said that the Shaolin don't bother themselves with the outside world and that using Kung-Fu for revenge is not the Buddhist's way.

So after being kicked out of the temple and punished, San Ta proceeds to exact revenge and kill three people in cold blood. Would someone please explain to me why the Abbots allowed San Ta to make a 36th chamber? He clearly violated every rule the monks have ever had.

Whats more, he never passed the Top Chamber. He learned a lot about combat, but his spiritual journey was almost non-existent.

I am very confused by the ending.

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Didnt you notice his expression..?..He was happy to be kicked out by the Chief Abbott. As the Abbott said..there IS no 36th chamber...
No need to thank me....and dont reply, just (rhetorically) please tell me that you "get it" now...

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Hm. Ego much?

No, I don't "get it" now. The Abbot DID say that there is no 36th chamber and San Ta WAS happy to be kicked out, BUT the Abbot also said that revenge is dishonorable. No sooner was San Ta kicked out, then he murdered three people for revenge. He went against the Abbots' wishes and taught Kung-Fu to laymen and he ignored his quest to fill the collection book.

San Ta never completed Chamber 65. He conquered every chamber up to 64, but from what I recall, he never completed his spiritual journey. In fact, he committed just about every crime he could against the temple. He disrespected the monks and betrayed his Buddhist faith by inciting a rebellion and committing murder. Why would the Abbots EVER allow him to set foot in the temple again? If I were the Chief Abbot, I'd be pissed off! Sure, he saved his village, but in doing so, he betrayed everything his masters ever taught him. So why would they not only allow him back in the temple, but also allow him to build a new chamber?

I would understand it if San Ta never returned to Shaolin Temple and decided to build a 36th chamber in some remote area far away from the temple, but the film does not offer up this possibility. The movie heavily implies that he was welcomed back to Shaolin Temple as a hero. But why? I don't understand the Abbots' motivations.

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Well, you only asked about being kicked out, not about any future endeavors or actions. That would be like assuming Gordon Liu made 81 movies with the Shaw brothers to develop his character knowing that he would be playing a bad guy in Kill 'em All. I doubt if SanTe ever wanted to be a monk, so any of those principles wouldnt have been guiding him anyway. I think the chief abbot also may have had some interest in the people knowing kungfu. Also, what are chambers 64 and 65? If there is no 36, did they skip a couple? I hope we have both been referring to the original movie "Master Killer", and not the lame follow-up/sequel "36th Chamber" ( or whatever it was). ANyway, he DID have the 36th chamber. In the end of the movie, he was teaching kungfu to about 100 people, including the miller and the blacksmith(i think), if you recall he even stopped to correct the miller's stance during one routine. He was rebelling against the authoritarian and murderous rule of the emperor, so I dont necessarily think that was a bad thing. Baby steps.

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Hm. I'm not sure where the numbers 64 and 65 came from. I should say that he never completed chamber 35.

Perhaps this is just my own subconscious rebellion, but I kept waiting for San Ta to go back and complete his final challenge, thus proving that he is equal to the other monks. This never happened. Maybe you're right. San Ta was never motivated to learn the ways of the monks. He really was only interested in avenging his village. The Abbots' motivations are the ones that mystify me.

Maybe it's poor writing, or maybe I just need to watch it again in case I missed something. I may just have to deal with this loose end.

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The 35th, true. Im guessing that was the chamber that the Chief Abbot led, with the consciousness having power rather than the physical. Emptiness is sound, I hear nothing. Wait, did they steal that line from Sgt Shultz? I think the Abbot probably was dealing with the monastery's fiscal cliff, and just wanted to shake things up. If you look at his lips in one scene, the dubbing says one thing, but he is really saying "We need some chics in this place".

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San Te was not really "exiled" from the Shaolin Temple: the Chief Abbot clearly showed interest in the native Chinese rebellion against the Manchus, and so San Te was surreptiously sent away to teach Shaolin gong-fu to the people, while also allowing the monks themselves to save face for the sake of tradition in not teaching their unique form of self-defense to outsiders; note in that scene how excited San Te is to be exiled - because he could easily tell that the Chief Abbot agreed with his plans (and probably some of the other monks, as well, too). Thus, that is why he was allowed back to the Shaolin Temple to teach martial arts to the laymen, as the "36th chamber" of Shaolin gong-fu.

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Oh, that makes sense. I totally missed that. I suppose that if the Abbott really wanted San Ta to go through with his plans, the best thing he could do is pretend to punish him.

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Maybe Im not seeing the same thing, but wasnt my interpretation 2 weeks ago pretty much the same as dee's from yesterday? And anyway, you didnt comment on my mention of Gordon Liu in Kill 'Em All, which leads me to believe that you didnt like that movie...hehheh. It did have a hottie in it that saved the film from being a total bomb!

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