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:
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..