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.