Last time I wrote you I think I told you about the
pompous tour guide my brother-in-law hired
four years ago to show us the Shaolin Temple
in Henan province, China.
As soon as I met the guide my entire being
had an adverse reaction. Maybe it was the
fact that the lenses on his glasses were so
dirty I wondered if they’d ever been cleaned.
Maybe it was the fact that he had bad breath.
Or that he smelled of cigarette smoke.
But no, it wasn’t that. It was that twisted
smirky ass “I know something you don’t
attitude” that you used to get, years ago,
whenever you visited an Apple store to
ask computer or software related questions.
Naturally, there were many, many things
about the first trip that I treasured – but
one thing stuck in my craw and it wasn’t
expunged until this afternoon.
In short, the prick told me, after we
visited the Shaolin Temple grounds,
that we could NOT go to the cave
where Bodhidharma, the founder of
Shaolin kung fu, meditated for nine
In fact, he meditated so long in this
cave, and with such power, that his
impression was left on the cave wall
So naturally, being I am a connoisseur
of energy transmission, going to this
cave was supposed to be the most
important part of my trip to Songshan
mountain, where the Shaolin Temple
What irritated me most was the fact that
my brother-in-law agreed with the jerk
when he said it would take three or four
days to climb the mountain. I knew this
had to be a whopper of the greatest order –
so I began to argue and point in the direction
of the mountain.
I got nowhere with my statements, and I grew
even angrier when my brother-in-law told me
I MUST tip the guide. When I refused he gave
me his “Face, Face” – speech – telling me that
we may need the guide again sometime.
Oh, no. You mean you want to bring him into
my life a second time.
Four years later – time has healed the wounds
from the past.
I must admit, however, that this morning I played
out a great act in the Theatre of my Mind.
I pictured meeting the same tour guide at the
Temple – and he happened to be with a couple
of Americans. I said hello to the guide like we
were old friends. Then I talked to the Americans
in front of the guide.
“Isn’t this great. It’s a dream come true being able
to visit the Shaolin Temple, eh.”
“Oh yes, we’re so happy to be here.”
“I know. This is my second visit. Are you planning to
go to the cave on the mountain where Bodhidharma
meditated for nine straight years.”
“Yes, we were interested in going there. Have you been
“Well, I wanted to LAST time but I had a guide that told
me I would need three or four days to get to the top
of THAT mountain (I turn and point.”
“You’re kidding me. He said THAT.”
“I know. What a LIAR he was, huh. It’s very common in
China. Some tour guides just want to give the laziest
service so they get their dough and go home early.
So make sure you let your guide know you want to
go there. If he gives you a line, fire him. And make
sure you do NOT tip him at all.”
At this point my former tour guide is turning red in
the face – doing his best to pretend he’s playing
poker. I turn to him and wink. Then I say, “Enjoy
Well, I didn’t get to act this one out today – but I
did hike the mountain to the Da Mo Dong. It was a
4 Km hike – and quite steep.
It took less than an hour to get to the top – and my
brother-in-law – long since forgiven for his error –
took tons of photos of me in the cave, outside the
cave – as well as at the very top of the mountain.
In fact, he took plenty of pictures outside the temple,
inside the temple grounds – and all along the trail.
What a blessed day.
And what a wonderful time to affirm, once more:
Never give up on your dreams. Persist until you succeed.
If you get knocked down, keep getting up. The person
who continues to get up after each knockdown can
never be defeated.
And with all this in mind, let me say that I am extending
the half-off special once again, as a way of celebrating
my trip to Boddhidharma’s cave.
and order NOW.
Zen Master of the Internet