Grind it or not? Skull Skates’ Dalai Lama deck

You may have seen that the awesome blogger TMcG, on her blog Full Contact Enlightenment, recently shared that she has bought a new skateboard deck from Skull Skates. Part of the company’s “True Champions of Justice” series (which also features Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and Mother Theresa), the deck pictures the Dalai Lama, accompanied by the maxim, “Be Kind Whenever Possible, It Is Always Possible.”

Some people are less thrilled than TMcG is about the deck. Blogger/activist (and friend) Heidiminx thinks it’s “disrespectful to the max” to depict His Holiness there, especially since most skaters are likely to grind the bottom of the deck. She’s encouraging online friends to write the company and share their thoughts, though she reports that “When I left a comment on their page that this was disrespectful, they deleted it.”

So what do you think? Is it disrespectful? Sure, it’s not what an adherent of Tibetan Buddhism would do, but it seems (to me, at least) like a gesture/idea made out of respect. Personally, I think it’s cool that Skull feels it’s worth depicting such “True Champions of Justice” — it’s more meaningful than much of the usual skate-deck art fare. Likewise, TMcG has followed up with a comment from Skull that seems to satisfy her sense that her purchase wasn’t ill-placed. Check it out and join the discussion here.


  1. avatar comment-top


    I have been skateboarding for fifteen years. I am also a refugee in the Shambhala lineage. My opinion of the Dali Lama skateboard is that it is a wonderful piece of art. However, one rail slide over the portrait would be ruined. That is why it is not such a great idea. Good luck

    Tharp Semnyi

  2. avatar
    James Between the Bookends Says:
    March 18th, 2011 at 9:54 am

    I don’t know about the tenets of Buddhism, but associating an image in any meaningful way with anyone is just materialism.

  3. avatar comment-top

    Image of Calvin pissing on the Dalai Lama: offensive, disrespectful. This? Not so much. But maybe disrespect, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

  4. avatar comment-top

    So wait — the problem with the image being on the bottom, where it gets worn from use, is its IMPERMANENCE? Oy.

    Skaters put things they think are cool on their boards, whether it be cool graphics, band stickers, or the Dalai Lama. All power to ‘em.

  5. avatar comment-top

    Interestingly, I think we all have more in common here than not: we respect the Dalai Lama.
    Different people express that in different ways.
    If the intention is pure and the heart connection is there, then who’s to say who is “right” or “wrong?”
    No one is getting hurt.
    This provides us an opportunity to examine our minds, values, and habitual patterns.
    I think that genuineness is the key.

  6. avatar
    PsychedelicMash Says:
    December 3rd, 2011 at 12:10 am

    “Decay is inherent in all compound things.” Buddha.
    “Art is not eternal.” The Merry Pranksters.
    Dent that board with some hardcore action.

  7. avatar
    Christopher Kreschollek Says:
    November 5th, 2012 at 12:56 am

    Hopefully Skull Skates makes plenty.


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment