This lore is out-dated and is no longer considered canon.
As a young teen, Lee Sin was intent on becoming a summoner. His will and dedication were unmatched by any of his peers, and his skill drew the attention of Reginald Ashram, the League's High Councilor at the time. While studying at the Arcanum Majoris, Lee Sin became frustrated with instruction paced for the other students. He spent his free time researching the nuances of summoning in hopes of graduating sooner. He made amazing advances in his arcane studies, surpassing all other students. By all indications, he would have become one of the League's greatest summoners were it not for one terrible mistake. Too impatient, he attempted to test his ability by summoning a beast from the Plague Jungles. What he summoned instead was a young boy, but not in one piece. He barely had time to look the boy in what was once his face before the jumbled human mass fell lifeless to the floor. A League investigation later revealed that the boy's entire village was obliterated by feedback from the ritual.
Lee Sin's talents were so promising that the League was willing to overlook the incident, but he could never forgive himself. He left the Institute and journeyed to the Shojin Monastery for eternal repentance, swearing never to practice magic again. Years later, hoping to atone for his crime with martyrdom, he set himself ablaze as a protest of the Noxian occupation of Ionia. He remained alive in this state, enduring searing agony for weeks. His actions paved the way for a League match wherein Ionia prevailed, but by the time he was doused, his eyes had been burned completely from their sockets. Hailed as a savior, he was reborn, and his will to act invigorated. He joined the League of Legends to continue his atonement with sweat and blood, a true monk's only possessions.
"The actions of one may sunder the world, but the efforts of many may rebuild it."
The events leading up to the Ionia vs Noxus rematch started when Lee Sin, a monk from the Shojin Monastery, set himself aflame within the Ionian Lotus Garden. He would not allow anyone to put out the fire until the three regions of Southern Ionia were freed from Noxus' occupation. Lee Sin remained in this state of excruciating pain for over two months. After Ionia won their rematch against Noxus, he was greeted by his sister from the now liberated Southern provinces. Only then did Lee Sin allow the flames to be extinguished. Though his brethren swiftly brought the monk back to the monastery for treatment, he had already suffered the loss of his eyes due to the intense heat.
Lee Sin crosses the Great Hall with an aura of confidence unusual for a blind man. He seems to gather sensory information so efficiently it makes one wonder whether, for him, blindness is a weakness or a strength.
His physique is exceedingly understated, tuned only for practical use by years of martial study. What he lacks in size, he makes up for with presence. His conviction is absolute. He pads straight to the doors, then stomps the ground. His head moves up the door, tracking the resulting sound.
He chuckles at the inscription.
A damp echo trickled outward as the doors thud shut behind Lee Sin, painting the room's cramped dimensions in his mind. The sound was low and the air was stuffy, distorting the noise and accenting his mental image with a subtle blur. In the crannies of the musty stone, fading but distinct human scents lingered, the trace pheromones of violent emotion.
But Lee Sin was transfixed on the overwhelming stench of ready magic.
Arcane potential loomed in the air around him, more than he had ever sensed before. The Reflecting Chamber swelled with it. To most, it would be imperceptible, likely misinterpreted as jitters or dread. It had the quality of the calm before the storm: a pregnant stillness, a swindling serenity. Lee Sin knew that this room, in its current state, was an amplifier, an accelerant for sorcery. He could taste the magical anticipation, like a static charge waiting to be released.
The aroma of fresh pine was suddenly everywhere. He stepped back.
And fire engulfed him.
The sensation was familiar more than anything else. Before the frantic damage reports arrived from nerves all over his body, he shut down part of his mind. He refused the pain access. Now there was only intensity and focus. Here he was again, amidst the flames.
In a disturbing way, it felt like home.
Five months had passed since he began the protest of the Noxian occupation in Ionia. He lit, without any pretense of survival, the pyre that consumed his flesh for two months. In that time, with agony tugging at his sanity, Lee Sin discovered things which hid deep within the soul, inner truths that revealed themselves only in the face of certain annihilation. Just before the lapping flames were to claim his final breath, his fellow monks arrived with the news that Ionia was free.
"It was a cleansing fire, wasn't it?" He recognized the bold timbre of his former mentor, Reginald Ashram, as acutely as the blaze surging around him. Ashram was one of the few people in Valoran privy to the secrets of Lee Sin's past.
"Pain does not heal the heart, it only focuses the mind."
"In this case, it focused many minds, and led to Noxus' withdrawal from Ionian territory."
"A happy turn of events." Lee Sin smiled, although the flickering heat on his face made him wonder if Ashram could see it.
"But you still haven't forgiven yourself."
Lee Sin sank to a meditative pose and the fire billowed in return. This, ironically, was his sanctuary.
"The past remains, no act will undo it." His tongue knew these words like the grooves of his teeth.
"Why do you want to join the League, Lee Sin?"
"I have much yet to do."
Remaining seated, Lee Sin raised one hand to his chest, fire dancing upon it. He swept it forward so sharply that the pyre flickered, and the flames on his arm were completely extinguished.
"A decisive strike may finish a battle," He paused as flames crept back up his outstretched arm, "but the evils of this world persist. To combat them, we must remain diligent." The fire reached his hand again, and he closed it with such force that a shock wave rippled out, expunging the blaze that consumed him. The wave whipped across Ashram, and he took a half-step back.
"How did you survive that fire?"
"I found the purpose I had lost so long ago."
"And what is that purpose? What is your ultimate goal?" There was an urgency in Ashram's voice, a hint of concern that puzzled Lee Sin. Ashram felt threatened.
"One does not need a destination to have direction. Is a drop of water finished when it flows from the brook to the ocean? Is it complete when it rises to join the clouds? Has it failed when it falls upon the land?" An obliging drop of sweat rolled down his forehead.
"What is your direction?"
"To do what is right. To protect the overlooked things which matter most." The drop of sweat hovered on the edge of his brow. "You can find them in the bubbling of the brook, the shade of the passing cloud, or the coolness of the rain." On cue, the drop fell to his waiting palm.
Ashram phrased his response carefully. "Your protest moved all of Valoran to action. Nearly to military action. This is a tremendous amount of power for one man to wield. What happens if that one man's intentions become corrupt?"
"Then I hope other men find the good in themselves to do what is right."
The inquisitor reeked of frustration. He was unused to vulnerability, uncomfortable with all that Lee Sin could perceive.
"How does it feel to expose your mind?" The question was bitter and hollow, deprived of its usual gravitas.
"I would ask you the same question."
Lee Sin knew he was alone. The magical potency was gone, spent, and in its place sat an atmosphere of somber fatigue. This was the emotional residue of those who had completed the trial before him. Its flavor was bittersweet.
In one graceful, fluid motion, Lee Sin was on his feet. His clothes and skin were intact, as though untouched by the flames. A fresh breeze swept through the room. Lee Sin could sense the shape of its current as it moved, like a serpent returning to coil in its nest.
Lee Sin lingered a moment, head bowed in appreciation of the champions who had passed this threshold before him.
Dragon Fist Lee Sin concept art (by Riot Artist Larry Ray)
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Production: Blind Monk
He was from the first 6 champions developed. Guinsoo revealed Blind Monk's true name: Lee Sin Blind Monk's model was used in WCG for the spectator.
His height is similar to that of Jax, basing upon his concept art.
It was said that he was remade into Udyr The Animal Spirit. However, Riot Game Designer Guinsoo hinted that this was not the case. Hohums later confirmed Guinsoo's words.
It has been strongly implied that he was the burning monk during the Ionia/Noxus feud, in Issue 12 of the JoJ, stating "His brethren hastened the monk's blistered body swiftly back to the monastery for treatment. While it was clear that he would survive, the monk had suffered the loss of his eyes, along with other severe injuries from the intense heat." These would seem to corroborate the "Mystic Meditation" icon, as well as the fact that flickers of flame can be seen in its portrait. This was later confirmed in his League Judgment, and Champion Background.
Lee Sin is a reference to A real life monk who burned himself as an act of protest against the persecution of Buddhist monks during the Buddhist crisis in South Vietnam.
Ezreal stated that the blind monk has been deconfirmed.
In Maokai's Art Spotlight, towards the end a tab is shown titled "blindmonk.psd", which could mean that artwork is being done for Lee Sin, that the Rioters are trying to tease the Blind-Monk fanboys, or that the artist in question just likes working on Blind Monk for fun.
Also, in the video "Brolaf, the King of Bromacia" the name "Blind Monk" can be seen on the New Champions Board Here. This however was most likely done as a joke by the staff as in the same list there are other champions Riot has long stated to have ceased development.
On March 21st, 2011 Lee Sin was re-confirmed on the official League of Legends website through a Champion Sneak Peek.
On March 22nd, Riot Games released art via their YouTube channel which includes Urf, The Manatee.
On March 24th, the "A new champion approaches" article, official screenshots of Lee Sin can be seen. Interestingly, in the screenshots the deceased champion Urf, The Manatee, can be seen as well.
On March 28th, Lee Sin's Champion Spotlight came out but it was a troll video, furthering the belief that he wouldn't actually be released. However, the video stated that he wouldn't be released with the V126.96.36.199 patch, but rather on April 1st because he had "not been buffed enough".
On March 31st, Lee Sin's actual Champion Spotlight was released, once again stating that he would be released on April 1st.
On April 1st, Lee Sin was actually released and became available to buy in the Store.
Champion Sneak Peek
Announcement made by ByronicHero on 22th March 2011:
Last year, around this time, we were forced to say our goodbyes to a loved and cherished friend, taken from us so tragically and so senselessly before his time. On April 1st 2010, we bid farewell to Urf the Manatee. It was a trying time for all of us all, and many came forward to pour their hearts out and memorialize this noble prince among Sea Cows.
If there's anything that the death of Urf the Manatee has taught us, it's that people deal with grief in different ways. For instance, take this gentleman here. Lee Sin was so shaken up that he actually ran off and joined a monastery. Now he's Lee Sin the Blind Monk. Hey, what do you mean you've seen him before?
On March 23rd an Art Spotlight featuring him was added to the Youtube channel of Riot showing the possible final concept art of the character.
Images and names extracted from the game files about his original development.
Lee Sin projects a discordant wave of sound to locate his enemies, dealing physical damage to the first enemy it encounters. If Sonic Wave hits, Lee Sin can cast Resonating Strike for the next 3 seconds.
Lee Sin rushes towards a target ally, shielding them both from damage. If a shield is broken, half the energy cost is returned. After using Safeguard, Lee Sin can cast Iron Will for the next 3 seconds.
Lee Sin performs a powerful roundhouse kick launching his target back, dealing physical damage to the target and any enemies they collide with. Enemies the target collides with are knocked into the air for a short duration.