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Kill The Buddha

That famous saying that if one encounters the Buddha along ones paths, Buddha should be slain. I know this is not a physical thing but what exactly does it refer to in your definition and or the dharma?

Comments

  • Abandoning preconceptions?
  • CittaCitta Veteran
    A silly and shallow slogan which might have meant something in context but is now part of the thicket of views ?
    vinlynJeffreyriverflow
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    I think it has to do with seeing ones own Buddhahood but I never really cared for the metaphor.
  • In another context it might be, 'get thee behind me Buddha' . . .
    The reply of Jesus when Satan offered him all the kingdoms of the world if Jesus would worship him. Jesus spoke these words on another occasion. He told his disciples that he would have to be killed and then raised from the dead, and Peter objected that this should not happen. Jesus saw Peter as a tempter, trying to talk him out of doing what he was put on Earth to do. He then spoke the same words, “Get thee behind me, Satan,” to Peter.
    The Buddha is not evil but representative of a degree of realization and may tempt us to be content with our profundity or lack . . .
    So in this sense The Buddha is always ahead of us and constantly requiring 'killing'. The interior Buddha is constantly undergoing a refinement, the very qualities that formerly we think of as dharma, humility, sense, insight etc are to be superseded. Always. We always are meeting our former selves presented in others comprehension. We are always killing and finding a born again Buddha ahead of us . . .

    If I did not believe the Buddha required killing, a very shocking and violent metaphor, then I would say if meeting the Buddha on the road, we might question out direction . . . before committing murder - tsk, tsk, naughty, naughty . . .

    Do we actually know where we are going? Remind me again . . .
    riverflow
  • zenffzenff Veteran
    edited August 2013
    Wisdom is sometimes compared to a sword. The idea is that wisdom cuts through delusions.
    The highest wisdom has a blade so hard that it can even cut through diamond.

    Killing the Buddha - for me - has the meaning of wielding the sword of wisdom in such a way that it cuts through all delusions; specifically those surrounding “Buddha” or “Enlightenment”.
    I_AM_THATriverflow
  • "If you meet the Buddha on the road (or path) kill him!"

    In the language of Zen symbolism that the koans are written in, the famous one by Master Linji isn't that hard to figure out. The road or path is your practice, and considering this is a teaching from the "mind only" branch of Buddhism, any Buddha you meet is only your own mind throwing up an illusion. So kill this image to find your true nature and true Buddha.

    I_AM_THATJeffreyriverflow
  • CittaCitta Veteran
    Yeah...which probably worked in that culture. In ours its just silly. We haven't got an image to kill.

    Interviewer to Lenny Bruce ' Is your idea to subvert our culture ? ' Bruce ( with a snort ) what ******* culture ? Show me some culture and I'll decide whether to subvert it ! '
  • howhow Veteran
    edited August 2013
    I see a teacher, bone weary at the disciple relentlessly grasping after another " if only" Buddha scenario, trying to wake him/her up.
  • NevermindNevermind Bitter & Hateful Veteran
    Citta said:

    We haven't got an image to kill.

    :p
    Interviewer to Lenny Bruce ' Is your idea to subvert our culture ? ' Bruce ( with a snort ) what ******* culture ? Show me some culture and I'll decide whether to subvert it ! '
    It was the culture that convicted him of obscenity, and then pardoned him. A first in NY history, so it seems he was somewhat successful.
  • If you see a vision of the Buddha (or Jesus etc.) in your meditation, don't attach to it......go back to the primary object eg. breath. The real "Buddha" is within.
    lobsterJeffreyriverflow
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran

    That famous saying that if one encounters the Buddha along ones paths, Buddha should be slain. I know this is not a physical thing but what exactly does it refer to in your definition and or the dharma?

    It really means knowing that your own mind and Buddha mind are not different but exactly the same. That a Buddha's enlightenment is not somewhere outside of yourself but right in your own mind. It is your own mind.

    Shunryu Suzuki says about it "Kill the Buddha if the Buddha exists somewhere else. Kill the Buddha, because you should resume your own Buddha nature."

    The quote in full from Linji:

    "Followers of the Way [of Chán], if you want to get the kind of understanding that accords with the Dharma, never be misled by others. Whether you're facing inward or facing outward, whatever you meet up with, just kill it! If you meet a buddha, kill the buddha. If you meet a patriarch, kill the patriarch. If you meet an arhat, kill the arhat. If you meet your parents, kill your parents. If you meet your kinfolk, kill your kinfolk. Then for the first time you will gain emancipation, will not be entangled with things, will pass freely anywhere you wish to go"

    In other words, a Buddha is not better than you and not above you somehow. To say he is, is to deny your own true nature, which is identical to a Buddha. It is the Buddha

    It's not all that hard to figure out intellectually, but actually demonstrating in real time to a teacher in a koan practice is much more difficult than explaining it. As doing that requires you to actually believe it fully 100% and act like it.
    Cinorjerlobsterpegembara
  • ToshTosh Veteran
    I heard it was about killing the concept of the Buddha. Concepts being truth concealers; like idolatry not really being the worship of false statues of God, but the worship of that false concept of God in people's heads.

    Or something!
    lobsterCinorjerriverflow
  • Gods and Dharma can be turned into demons hindering practice. Kill the Buddha means to kill these demons. It doesn't mean to kill the real Buddha.
  • CittaCitta Veteran
    Cant we come up with more original way to express these concepts ?...
    And while we are at it is there room in the bin for those bloody fingers pointing at the bloody moon as well ?
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    I'd say Jeffrey has come as close to the heart of it here.
  • Cant we come up with more original way to express these concepts ?...
    Go for it.
  • how said:

    I see a teacher, bone weary at the disciple relentlessly grasping after another " if only" Buddha scenario, trying to wake him/her up.

    Is that bone weary Buddha killing, dead or still trying . . . ?
    Maybe he will just fade away . . .

    :wave:
  • howhow Veteran
    edited August 2013
    @Lobster
    Nothing so complicated,,(perhaps I should have said a cartilage weary teacher)

    So imagine a teacher saddled with your typical long suffering disciple who was always looking outside of himself to find the Buddha. (sound familiar?)

    Can't you see yourself eventually trying to snap him out of such grasping with the shocking " kill that Buddha if you meet him on the road" number.

    The problem that so often happens is the teaching of the moment, between two individuals in a specific situation, that was only applicable there, gets carried on to where it no longer applies.
    Like here.
    lobster
  • The problem that so often happens is the teaching of the moment, between two individuals in a specific situation, that was only applicable there, gets carried on to where it no longer applies.
    Like here.
    In that case as @citta says we need new finger buckets and bodies to extinguish. What other sacred cows are we willing or able to sacrifice?
    Sometimes we have to remember some have never come across a moon, a Buddha or the back of their hand . . . :wave:
  • misterCopemisterCope PA, USA Veteran
    I've always thought it meant that we should avoid anything resembling worship of the Buddha.

    For example, if a chef explains a recipe to you and, instead of cooking the food you stand there telling the chef how great he is, you're kind of missing the point. The chef was only important because he explained the recipe. Once you have the recipe, that's all you need. Just cook the food. If the chef is distracting you, kill him.

    Metaphorically.
    Jeffrey
  • CittaCitta Veteran

    I've always thought it meant that we should avoid anything resembling worship of the Buddha.

    For example, if a chef explains a recipe to you and, instead of cooking the food you stand there telling the chef how great he is, you're kind of missing the point. The chef was only important because he explained the recipe. Once you have the recipe, that's all you need. Just cook the food. If the chef is distracting you, kill him.

    Metaphorically.

    As you do. I mean why not ? Cuts out all that unmanly need for gratitude.
  • say buddha is being mind and carry on.
  • ZaylZayl Veteran
    Well, I like to think it means "that is not the Buddha" meaning, what worked to bring the person before you to enlightenment, might not exactly work for you. It is a personal journey. And having influences from others can only hinder your progress.

    Or, it just means if you see another Buddha you whip out your .45 and blast him. Because THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE! *lightning and thunder*
  • CittaCitta Veteran

    That famous saying that if one encounters the Buddha along ones paths, Buddha should be slain. I know this is not a physical thing but what exactly does it refer to in your definition and or the dharma?

    What it now represents in our culture is that type of ' Zen ' which skirts the territory of kitten slicin' psychopathy and marries it to Tall Poppy Syndrome.
  • CittaCitta Veteran
    In contrast to Tall Poopy Syndrome which is what happens when westerners attempt to use Indian hole-in -the-ground lavatories.
  • Sorrt @Citta, I have to disagree with you again. I'm unable to see why the idea of killing the Buddha has ceased to be a useful and relevant idea to keep in mind. The advice is not dependent on culture, time or place. I certainly see no sense in which it represents some idiosyncratic type of Zen, kitten-slicing or otherwise. It seems to be just Zen, as explained above by a few people.
  • CittaCitta Veteran
    Florian said:

    Sorrt @Citta, I have to disagree with you again. I'm unable to see why the idea of killing the Buddha has ceased to be a useful and relevant idea to keep in mind. The advice is not dependent on culture, time or place. I certainly see no sense in which it represents some idiosyncratic type of Zen, kitten-slicing or otherwise. It seems to be just Zen, as explained above by a few people.

    The idea of killing the Buddha has its origin in the teachings of the Zen teacher Linji.
    At the time of its coining, Japanese Buddhism and Zen in particular had become institutionalised
    In had become a means of social cohesion merely, rites-de-passage and a means of consolation.
    A means of staying asleep rather than of Awakening.
    Linji's was a wake up call. An urgent summons to return to the radicalism of the Buddha's Dharma.

    Our situation could not be more different in the west, or by those societies aping the west.
    We have no structures. We have no collective values. We have no history of Dharma..
    We need another and more relevant Koan to address our needs.

    'If you meet Linji on the road..kill him...metaphorically.'



    Jeffrey
  • Well, each to his own. I find Linji's advice as relevant and useful as ever.
  • CittaCitta Veteran
    Because you have an established practise . How useful is Linji to those who in our modern world are all at sea and with no reference point , which is the majority..look around you.
    Its not all about those who have found their path.
    In Linji's time the only people who would see his words were those who understood his point and accepted it or not.
    It was not blazoned across the desks of the desperate seekers , the alienated, the bereaved and the rootless.
    Jeffrey
  • VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran
    ourself said:

    I think it has to do with seeing ones own Buddhahood but I never really cared for the metaphor.

    I agree with ourself.

    I get it. I just don't care for it. It could be said better.

    I liked my summary I did here on a thread about Buddha's
    B-day awhile back...I tried to find it....but I'm off to work, so Ill
    dig more later. The 'kill' part is just.....overkill. hahaha

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited August 2013
    Here's another slogan. "Give the Buddha everything real and imagined"

    You will be protected from gain and loss and all of the other worldly winds. Take this one to enlightenment.
    Citta
  • VictoriousVictorious Grim Veteran
    I usually let Him of with a warning or maybe a good buddhist spanking. Killing the Buddha is soooo 80's.

    /Victor

    PS
    Sorry Tom I am of to bed. Gnite.
    DS :D
    vinlynhowlobster
  • That famous saying that if one encounters the Buddha along ones paths, Buddha should be slain.

    This approach seems rather unfriendly. I'd offer to buy him a cup of tea and ask lots of silly questions. :D
  • CittaCitta Veteran
    If I was feeling VERY unkind I might put something tofu based into his begging bowl...And then put on a Celine Dion album...if I had some tofu and a Celine Dion album, but I seem to be fresh out....
  • NevermindNevermind Bitter & Hateful Veteran
    edited August 2013
    I'd make him eat gummy bears and force him to listen to the Pet Shop Boys til he turned gay.
    lobster
  • Citta said:

    If I was feeling VERY unkind I might put something tofu based into his begging bowl...

    I would offer quorn fillets :D
  • Another way of looking at this is the thoughts, arisings, gay gummy bears and dead Buddhas are all allowed to rest (Killed) as they no longer induce the reactive or emergent mind.
    gone gone, gone beyond, gone altogether beyond, O what an awakening, all hail!
    Heart Sutra
    Vastmind
  • NMADDPNMADDP SUN Diego, California Veteran
    If I see a Buddha on the road, I cannot kill the Buddha yet... because I still have too many attachments :)

    Anyone remembers if there is a story related to this saying? Not sure if this is story. Something like this...

    A master and his disciple were traveling on a cold and rainy night. They took refuge in an abandon home/temple. They burned wood to keep warm. After awhile they ran out of wood and things to burn, the master told the disciple to go ahead and burn the wooden Buddha statue that they have with them. The disciple was hesitate, then the master told the disciple to go ahead...

    Another story. Something like this...

    There was an enlightened master. When his time was up, two yakshas came to his place to take him away. However, they could not find him, because he was enlightened being. The yakshas learned that this master still has an attachment. A jade bowl the king had gifted to him. The yakshas found and took his precious jade instead. The master saw that, then he appeared. The yakshas got him. The master realized his flaw. So he asked the two yakshas for a favor by letting him see his precious jade bowl before taking him away. The yakshas ok. When the master got his bowl back, he smashed the jade bowl and disappeared. The yakshas can never find him again...

    Enjoy....
    Jeffrey
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