Shaolin Monks or Chinese Buddhist monks have been traditionally and stereotypically linked with the practice of the Chinese martial arts or Kung Fu, and monks are frequently important characters in martial arts films. This association is focused around the Shaolin Monastery. The Buddhist monk Bodhidharma, traditionally credited as the founder of Zen Buddhism in China, is also claimed to have introduced Kung Fu to the country. This latter claim has however been a source of much controversy (see Bodhidharma, the martial arts, and the disputed India connection). One more feature about the Chinese Buddhist monks is that they practice the burning marks on their scalp, finger or part of the skin on their anterior side of the forearm with incense as a sign of ordination.
In Mortal Kombat
The Shaolin Monks have the Wu Shi Academy and Shaolin Temple as their training grounds. They were attacked by Baraka and the Tarkata in MKII and a lot of them, were killed by Zombie Liu Kang, the enforcer of a corrupted Raiden in MKD.
They are a common enemy in Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero and they use a variety of weapons.
Many centuries ago, the Order of Light founded the Shaolin Monks as an initiative to protect Earthrealm from the forces of evil. When Shao Kahn set his sights on conquering Earthrealm, the Shaolin Monks and Raiden formed a group known as the White Lotus Society to find the strongest warriors to participate the Mortal Kombat tournament. When the first tournament begun, the Great Kung Lao had defeated all opposition to win the first tournament for Earthrealm. But when the second tournament began, turmoil struck for Earthrealm when the evil sorcerer, Shang Tsung had stolen control of the tournament for his master, Shao Kahn. Eventually, the Shokan Prince, Goro, defeated and killed the Great Kung Lao to win the second tournament for Outworld. For the remainder of the 8 remaining tournaments Goro had defeated all of Earthrealm's champions and Outworld was on the brink of victory.
When the Lin Kuei warrior Sub-Zero was asked to retrieve the Map of Elements from the Shaolin Temple, many Shaolin Monks had been defeated or killed by the Lin Kuei assassin trying to protect the map. When Sub-Zero made his way to the Temple of Elements, many Shaolin were bested by the assassin protecting the sacred Amulet of Shinnok.
The 10th tournament had arrived and Earthrealm was on the brink of ultimate defeat at the hands of Outworld. The Shaolin had chosen their representative for the tournament: Liu Kang. A warrior who received training from the Shaolin's ally, Master Bo' Rai Cho. Liu Kang had eventually earned the right to challenge the current champion, Goro, to Mortal Kombat. Liu Kang defeated the Shokan Prince and eventually defeated the sorcerer, Shang Tsung to give the control of the Shaolin tournament back to it's hosts.
By the time Liu Kang and his allies returned home from Shang Tsung's Island, they have returned to find that many Shaolin Monks had been slain by Baraka and his Tarkatan forces under the order of Shao Kahn. The two Shaolin Monks of Liu Kang and Kung Lao decide to head to Outworld to compete in a tournament organized by Shang Tsung and Shao Kahn. Liu Kang managed to fight his way through the tournament and eventually defeat Shao Kahn. After the battle was over, the heroes made their escape back to Earthrealm to prepare for the coming invasion of Outworld.