Look upon the body as unreal,
An image in a mirror,
Or the reflection of the moon in the water.
Contemplate the mind as formless
Yet bright and pure.
Not a single thought arising,
Empty, yet perceptive,
Still, yet illuminating,
Complete like the Great Emptiness.
This is the beginning of a poem called Contemplating Mind by the seventeenth century Ch'an (Japanese, Zen) Master Han-Shan. As Master Shen-Yen writes in his book On Getting the Buddha Mind (1982, Dharma Drum Publications):
He (Han-Shan) exemplified the bodhisattva ideal of developing wisdom through meditation, study and compassionate action. In the spirit of his times, he did not make a strong distinction between the sects of Buddhism and was eclectic, incorporating elements of Confucianism. His style was a fusion of the austerity of Ch'an with the inclusive view of the Hua-Yen sect. To this day his undecayed body remains intact in the monastery of the Sixth Patriarch on mainland China.
I find both Han-Shan's poem and Master Shen-Yen's book to be religiously instructive and marvelously poetic at the same time. For instance, I am somewhat anxious about the skateboard camp I will be helping to instruct at the end of the month. I've been trying to keep in shape, but still have a fallen arch in one foot, and my joints are pretty sore and unresponsive in this heat. When I start telling myself that I'm too old to be skating, or that I'll never make it through five straight days of being an instructor, I think about Han-Shan's poem and it reminds me not to worry so much about my physical person.
The Buddha Mind, Calligraphy by Shen-Yen
Skateboarding is always, ultimately, a leap into the Great Emptiness. You can train and practice to perfect your skills but the act itself remains a spontaneous interaction with the environment. And in those moments when the mind is empty, with not a single thought arising, and you bring a backside G-turn around to perfect rotation, there is no difference between yourself and the environment.