Monday, March 14, 2016

Wisdom From the Acient Masters of Alt.Skate-Board (Part 10)

Thoai Tran wrote 14 installments of Zen and Skateboarding. Here is Part 10. See introductory comments I wrote on this post for full context of the entire series.

Part Ten: Four Elements
Shi, who has just started skating several months ago, came up to the Ch'an master and said:

" I am only a beginner. I love skating because there is so much to do on this simple board. There are so many styles, so many people who can work magic with their board. But my question to you, oh venerable one, is how I can tell who are the good skaters? What tricks must I do to be considered good? What advice can you give me, oh venerable one?

The Ch'an master pointed to the distant sea and answered:

" My young friend, you want to know how you can tell good skating? It is very simple....go to that distant sea, and count the number of grains found on that beach. Then you will truly grasp what is good in skateboarding..."

Shi bowed his head and continued:

" Do you mean to say that a tailslide is just as beautiful as an intricate flip trick? That cannot be! Something as intricate and complex must be better...I have spent days practicing on this particular one, and minutes landing a tailslide! How can that be?"

The Ch'an master pointed to the skies above and answered:

" My young friend, the universe that we find ourselves under is infinite and all-encompassing. All the things we see are manifestations of one energy, being converted from one form to another, but never created or destroyed. Both a tail slide and a more complicated flip trick are part of this infinite energy flow; each is a variation of that which is already perfect and complete...You add or remove energy; just as you cannot add or subtract beauty to that which is already perfect and constant..."

Shi bowed his head once more. So he continued..

" Oh venerable one, so what is the purpose of skating then, if beauty doesn't exist? If everything is relative, then aren't skaters just subjecting themselves to a trivial activity that has no meaning or relevance? I think that skaters must have a goal! Without one, it is illegitimate...meaningless! My goal is to become professional before I turn 20! It gives my skating meaning..."

The Ch'an master pointed to the burning sun and remarked:
" In the relentless heat of the tundra,
a lion lies on the crusted and burning dirt.
Under a shriveled tree that has lost its life
to the flames of its stark reality,
it exists where no other beasts have dared to venture
or embark through the burning desolation...

The lion has no reason to stay or not to stay. It is perfectly content with its own nature..."

Shi reflected for a moment. He continued...

" Oh venerable one, then what are the important things in skating then? How should I approach my skating then? What should I look for? "

The Ch'an master scooped a handful of dirt with his hand and answered:

" All the minerals and elements necessary for life are found in this moist soil that I have in my hand..."

 He handed Shi a shovel and told him to plant a young sapling on top of the distant hill..

Wisdom From the Acient Masters of Alt.Skate-Board (Part 9)

Thoai Tran wrote 14 installments of Zen and Skateboarding. Here is Part 9. See introductory comments I wrote on this post for full context of the entire series.

Part Nine: Clean Karma
The Ch'an master was once approached by a group of skaters. They all exclaimed: " Master, we have heard of your wisdom and have traveled long to ask you to tell us the secrets to skating well. We will wait here patiently for you. We do not mind staying here for hours listening to your infinite wisdom. Teach us..."

The Ch'an master looked at them keenly, pointed his finger at their boards, and replied: "Secret to skating well: if it rolls, then push it."

The Ch'an master was once approached by an older skater who wanted to learn about harmony. He implored: "You, oh great Master Ch'an, know the secrets of being in a peaceful state with oneself and the universe. How do I know if I am at peace with my skating? Is there something special I should feel? Is there a criterion that must be met to be in complete harmony with my skating? What are the rules that I must follow to be like you, oh great venerable master? "

The Ch'an master looked at the old skater, but did not answer. The skater was suddenly enlightened.

The Ch'an master was visited by an angry skater who cried out agitatedly: " I have this board! I can land tricks so easily one day. But now, I can't land anything! " He threw his board twenty feet away. It landed with a thump.

The Ch'an master answered: " Light too consists of both particles and waves. When one takes either away, one ceases to see. " The blind skater suddenly saw.

The Ch'an master visited a skatespot where a girl was skating by herself. She told Master Ch'an her problem: " I don't know of too many girls that pursue this art as fervently as I have. But I find myself alone. The guys look at me differently, as though my art is a joke to them. I am so frustrated!"

The Ch'an master calmly taught: " A single ripple that emanates from a point in the middle of a pond always start small. But with time, it becomes bigger and bigger, as it reaches for the edge of the pond; and ultimately, it will encompass everything along its path. You who find yourself alone at skatespots, reflect on this..."

An angry skate items distributor accosted the Ch'an master and shouted: "Who the hell you think you are telling all the kids not to worry about the clothes? Fashion gives the kids a sense of identity, of belonging, of being accepted by their peers. It is impossible for a kid to be a complete skater if he isn't sporting the latest wear!"

The Ch'an master thus spoke: "Your shoelace is untied. An untied shoelace prevents you from walking properly and speedily. One trips over one's ignorance, so it is better to take it off and walk barefooted. " The Ch'an master walked away...the owner tripped.

Two skaters approached the Ch'an master and asked him to judge which of the two is better. The first skater ollied a garbage can. The second fronside 180 the same garbage can. The first 360 flip it. The second switch 360 flip it. so on and so on and so on. The skaters nervously asked: "Master Ch'an, which of us is the better skater."

The Ch'an master threw some wrappings in the garbage and said: "Winners always put unnecessary trash in the garbage. " Both skaters were losers.

So said the Ch'an Master...

One day, the Ch'an master came to the town...

The first skater, a weary veteran of many years, approached him and said: " Oh venerable sage, I have skated for many years, and have exhausted all the tricks found in magazines and videos. I did all the styles: vert, street, free. I have gone through the cycle of sponsorship and traveled around the workd to give demos. I don't know what to do now..."

So the Ch'an master advised: "Now it is time to go skating."

The next skater, dressed in the latest style, came up to the master and asked: " Oh enlightened one, what kind of shoes do you recommend for skating? When I go to the skateshop, what kind of things should I look for in a skateshoe?"

So the Ch'an master answered: "When looking for skate shoes, ask yourself the following question: what kind of shoes does the hawk wear while it is soaring gracefully in the air? Then the perfect shoe shall be manifested immediately."

Another skater spoke about girls. He said: "I notice that a lot of girls have been interested in me ever since I started skating, which is cool and all, but sometimes it's kinda annoying. What advice can you give me about this?"

The Ch'an master replied: " My young friend, it has always been known that crossing a horse with a donkey gives a mule - an animal that is not capable of being productive."

Next, a woman came up and shouted: " I think skaters are a bunch of degenerates! All they do is skate, skate, and skate! Those baggy clothes they wear are disgusting! Tell your friends they are all losers and I hope they break their bones!"

The compassionate one directed to the audience of skaters: " My skating friend, a great boulder on top of that mountain cannot be moved by powerful earthly winds. Likewise, a mind in complete harmony with one's skating is unmoved by words that blow out of other's mouths. Indeed, you are all losers." Nobody argued...

A young skater spoke rather sincerely: " I know this old guy who skates by me. Often, he tried to give me advices about skating, which is kinda lame because his old school style is completely different from mine. I just laugh and skate away because it's like comparing apples to oranges, am I right oh venerable sage?"

The Ch'an master answered with patience: " An elderly man who uses medicinal practices to help others is often called "doctor." A sick man who refuses his prescribed medicine is often called "stupid.""

So taught the Ch'an master.