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Deborah Jiang Stein

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A Buddhist Skateboarding Monk: A Contradiction Or A Product Of The Modern Age?

Posted: 12/28/09 02:54 PM ET

A monk skateboards inside an historic temple and causes controversy in China.

In Sichuan province near the top of Mount Emei, the highest of the Four Sacred Buddhist Mountains of China, stands the Dafu Temple. Here, a monk on a skateboard has stirred controversy about whether his skateboarding is appropriate behavior for a monk. Many are asking: Is this the way monks ought to live?

Clad in his gray cloak and true skater form, the monk twists his legs, leans forward, and skateboards in the temple. Now this is a high form of Mutt for the 21st century! This goes to prove my theory that we're all mutts; each and every person carries unexpected contradictions. Mine may be extreme but you've got your own contrasts and contradictions. If you don't think so, then dig deeper.

Is the quiet meditative expectation for a monk really in contradiction to a skateboard ride? Maybe outsiders don't understand the life of a monk in our contemporary world. Why not play ping-pong and pray? Maybe not at the same time, but who can pray 24/7? Why not meditate and then make it to the badminton court?

Yes, even monks have computers, surf the web, own mobile phones, and text. All contemporary tools that can advance Buddhism. After all, don't you think monks used the abacus when that was first invented? I'm sure it was high-tech, then. And I'm sure they upgraded from counting their fingers, toes, stones, and shells to this "new" device.

It's all part of the Buddhist spirit. In fact, it's part of the human condition. Are you what others think you are, or are you what you think you are? Who are you going to let define you?

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This is another Musing for Mutts Like Me.

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