Friday, July 29, 2011

If You Meet the Buddha

If You Meet the Buddha
by Scott Bradley

After two hundred pages of reading about the "Blessed One", "Enlightened One", "Compassionate One", "Illuminated One", etc., I am ready for a bit of an iconoclastic rant. But I will control that urge and instead channel it to what I hope is a more constructive end.

One of the Zen Patriarchs said, "If you meet the Buddha, kill him." The point being, I think, that one should not let anything contentful get between you and that which has no content, that is, the Ultimate as experienced in satori. The Buddha is a distraction, clear and simple.

I would like to add to this maxim, a corollary: "If you meet the Buddha, kill him...but not before you smell his farts." This would indeed be an enlightening experience, and would likely help to free us from the folly of belief in saints — a distraction. A dead Buddha is a dangerous Buddha because, as I have said before, the only true saint is a dead one, because only then can we fail to see his or her imperfections.

One could make similar recommendations with respect to other beatified personalities. "If you meet Socrates, kill him...but not before he puts his hand on your inner thigh." "If you meet Jesus, kill him...but not before he pisseth against a wall." "If you meet Gandhi, kill him...but not before he verbally abuses his wife."

I am not being purely cynical when I say these would be enlightening experiences. I have shared that I experience a lot of guilt about my imperfections; it is a wonderful and liberating experience to realize that not only am I not unique, but even the so-called spiritual among us are likewise human.

When no saints are required or allowed, we can begin to realize what unconditional acceptance and affirmation really means. Saints are a distraction because they represent an extraneous ideal and lead us to believe that spirituality is something other than what we are. They reinforce a belief in 'right and wrong' and divide us from ourselves.

And besides, it's just plain silly.

You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.


  1. "...the only true saint is a dead one."

    Corollary to that is the notion that statesmen are just dead politicians.

  2. And I say that having just returned from Washington, DC.


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