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If You Meet The Buddha On The Road, Kill Him

A parable, in which you may (or may not) find meaning.


I have heard the phrase,"If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him!," many times. Can you explain this?


It actually comes from an old koan attributed to Zen Master Linji, (the founder of the Rinzai sect). It’s a simple one:

"If you meet the Buddha, kill him."

I’m sure you already realize that it’s not literal. The road, the killing, and even the Buddha are all symbolic.

The road is generally taken to mean the path to Enlightenment; that might be through meditation, study, prayer, or just some aspect of your way of life. Your life is your road. That’s fairly straightforward as far as metaphors go.

But how do you meet the Buddha on this road? Imagine meeting some symbolic Buddha. Would he be a great teacher that you might actually meet and follow in the real world? Could that Buddha be you yourself, having reached Enlightenment? Or maybe you have some idealized image of perfection that equates to your concept of the Buddha or Enlightenment.

Whatever your conception is of the Buddha, it’s WRONG! Now kill that image and keep practicing. This all has to do with the idea that reality is an impermanent illusion. If you believe that you have a correct image of what it means to be Enlightened, then you need to throw out (kill) that image and keep meditating.

Most people have heard the first chapter of the Tao, "Tao that can be named is not the eternal Tao."

(So if you think you see the real Tao, kill it and move on).


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if you think the Daily Paul has been perfected

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you have another think coming, friend

may you live in interesting rhymes . . .

One of my favorite DP posts

...of all time. Glad to see more activity on is one again.
*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

I am reading

Natural ESP by Ingo Swann and if we really want a fun ride we have a second reality universe we can try and tap into, but our first reality the one we currently reside resists and puts up road blocks because it is so much info it could overwhelm us. Wow, that is a mouth full.

What number am I thinking of? LOL

"We can see with our eyes, hear with our ears and feel with our touch, but we understand with our hearts."

Michael Nystrom's picture

"Reality is an impermanent illusion. "

If you believe that you have a correct image of what it means to be Enlightened, then you need to throw out (kill) that image and keep meditating.

In other words, back to basics. Chuck Knox style. Focus on fundamentals. Get back to honesty and truth. Throw out the politics. That's what it means to me, personally speaking.

And by "politics" I mean throw out the calculation. In politics, everything is weighed for maximum benefit. So complicated. Just go with the heart. Don't get attached to illusions. Go with the heart.

I have posted this here before,

but your quote reminded me of it again. This quote never gets old for me.

"If I take a lamp and shine it toward the wall, a bright spot will appear on the wall. The lamp is our search for truth, for understanding. Too often, we assume that the light on the wall is God, but the light is not the goal of the search, it is the result of the search. The more intense the search, the brighter the light on the wall. The brighter the light on the wall, the greater the sense of revelation upon seeing it. Similarly, someone who does not search – who does not bring a lantern – sees nothing. What we perceive as God is the by-product of our search for God. It may simply be an appreciation of the light… pure and unblemished… not understanding that it comes from us. Sometimes we stand in front of the light and assume that we are the center of the universe – God looks astonishingly like we do – or we turn to look at our shadow and assume that all is darkness. If we allow ourselves to get in the way, we defeat the purpose, which is to use the light of our search to illuminate the wall in all its beauty and in all its flaws; and in so doing, better understand the world around us." - G'Kar

"All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind." - Khalil Gibran
"The Perfect Man has no self; the Holy Man has no merit; the Sage has no fame." - Chuang Tzu

Your God Is Not God

A man who believes in God can never find God. If you are open to reality, there can be no belief in reality. If you are open to the unknown, there can be no belief in it. After all, belief is a form of self-protection, and only a petty mind can believe in God. Look at the belief of the aviators during the war who said God was their companion as they were dropping bombs! So you believe in God when you kill, when you are exploiting people. You worship God and go on ruthlessly extorting money, supporting the army; yet you say you believe in mercy, compassion, kindliness. As long as belief exists, there can never be the unknown; you cannot think about the unknown, thought cannot measure it. The mind is the product of the past, it is the result of yesterday, and can such a mind be open to the unknown? It can only project an image, but that projection is not real; so your god is not God, it is an image of your own making, an image of your own gratification. There can be reality only when the mind understands the total process of itself and comes to an end. When the mind is completely empty-only then is it capable of receiving the unknown. The mind is not purged until it understands the content of relationship -its relationship with property, with people until it has established the right relationship with everything. Until it understands the whole process of conflict in relationship, the mind cannot be free. Only when the mind is wholly silent, completely inactive, not projecting, when it is not seeking and is utterly still -only then that which is eternal and timeless comes into being.

J. Krishnamurti, The Book of Life

For Freedom!
The World is my country, all mankind is my brethren, to do good is my religion.

LittleWing's picture

Still Mind , Peaceful Mind

or 'Beginners Mind' allows one to experience all as if a child seeing things for the first time without any preconceived notions. Takes a little practice but it is a wonderful state of being!

If Wars Can Be Started by Lies, They Can Be Stopped By Truth.

Michael Nystrom's picture

That is really beautiful

You have have posted it before, but this is the first time I've read it.

What we perceive as God is the by-product of our search for God.

While not exactly the same, it reminds me of the title of a beloved book by Cheri Huber: That Which You Are Seeking Is Causing You To Seek.

It also reminds me of how Zen (or any religion, for that matter) is like the finger pointing at the moon. The moon is the goal, and the finger is just the guide. But so many people end up getting fascinated by the finger, they can't stop appreciating it, embellishing it, theorizing about the finger itself!

I really like what you have posted. Who is this person, G'Kar?

G'Kar was a fictional character on the 90s scifi series

Babylon 5. He was a very complex character that started out as a bitter and angry personality and spiritually evolved, over the series, into a sort of enlightened individual.

"All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind." - Khalil Gibran
"The Perfect Man has no self; the Holy Man has no merit; the Sage has no fame." - Chuang Tzu

Makes sense...

Yeah that's the exciting thing to me -- can never come to the end of seeking and finding the nature of God/reality; can never arrive at a final perception and say 'we're done -- now what?'. Eternity would be anything but the boring stasis of halo and harp and cloud. More like a never-ending voyage of discovery.

I'm reading 'The Wisdom of No Escape' right now...

by Pemaquid Chödrön. It is worthy of the praise it's gotten on amazon. Flipped to a random page and she gave this same advice.

Chris Indeedski!

Daily Paul cured my abibliophobia.

Michael Nystrom's picture

What a coincidence

I'm writing, "The Wisdom of Escape" right now. It will be worthy of the massive praise it will receive on Amazon.

my smart device thought the proper name Pema was the slightly

Less common word 'Pemaquid' because it's obviously a really smart device.

Chris Indeedski!

Daily Paul cured my abibliophobia.

Michael Nystrom's picture

And I here I was thinking

That was just you being funny.


All this Granger talk made me think of this story.

I open the book and boom there it is.

Chris Indeedski!

Daily Paul cured my abibliophobia.

Michael Nystrom's picture

What do you think, Chris,

About the whole Granger situation?

I checked out that Ron Paul forums site yesterday.

There's plenty of room for gay Nazi pirates there.

Chris Indeedski!

Daily Paul cured my abibliophobia.

LittleWing's picture

I checked it out also

Unknownuser made a post very respectful to MN and DP and Bryan the moderator made it clear no MN bashing, forum wars will be tolerated.

As for The Granger, please review at least the comments in this post made by Robin Koerner. This was on FRONT PAGE of DP and featured as an original for a while. Why the downvotes everyone asks? Since most of the odious commentary was downvoted from view to the mods and forum at large many did not see stuff like this:

Sometimes downvotes work in the favor of the downvoted. That is just one little example of MANY every day for months!! Michael, please review the whole commentary that is out of view. Thank you, I will not post any others.

If Wars Can Be Started by Lies, They Can Be Stopped By Truth.

Michael Nystrom's picture

Yeah, that was pretty bad

I read the first sentence, and that was enough. Needless to say, I never saw that.

I do expect people to behave like adults. I've been throwing a lot of those who can't or won't to the fishes. I guess it took me a while with this one.

It was on the free pile at the Starvation Army thrift store.

All the best books are on that free pile.

Chris Indeedski!

Daily Paul cured my abibliophobia.

the Buddha is dead

The Buddha you meet will be whatever you expect...
or, what you meet will be whatever you anticipate...

One might also say, if you meet a redneck on the road, kill him...
or, if you meet a racist on the road, kill him...
or, a Democrat/Republican, a 'statist', 'collectivist', 'communist', Jesus, Ron Paul, etc...

The meaning is to kill your personal prejudice, whether it's something or someone that you expect to love, or to hate, then walk 'as the Buddha'. Basically, kill your expectation or pre-conceived belief.
Then, view the world from the perspective of your pre-conception and take a look at yourself from those eyes.

In the words of Robert Plant, "...take a good look at yourself and describe what you see...", only in this case, look at yourself from new eyes We may all see something unexpected.

I like this. I think it's

I like this. I think it's very anti-ego. Ego is a helluva thing, something to kill if you want to be successful in just about anything.

Except of course if you're, say a politician, and your path is pure evil. Then yes, make love to your ego, but in the end it will kill you....

I think this is, in a sense, on the point.

I think the point is to kill prejudice, whatever that may be.

A Near Perfect Example

..of this "parable"...or Aesop's Fable:

The Beatles...and the Maharajah Yogi.

Having been drawn into the "mystique" of possible enlightenment, they withdrew from his "program" upon the death of Brian Epstein.

They then took their own "roads" and eventually performed:
"The Long and Winding Road"
.................................a tribute to Brian.

"Beyond the blackened skyline, beyond the smoky rain, dreams never turned to ashes up until.........
...Everything CHANGED !!

Michael Nystrom's picture

That is beautiful

You know what is most important?

It is that they took the trip. The journey is everything.

I Wrote That??? Wow!

...must've been in one of my more lucid modes (LOL!)

I would not have noticed this, but for your reply (30+ days) later.
...There are no coincidences.
...This was meant to be seen again by the members of the "ark".

And I thank you for introducing me to the enlightenment it has provided to me.......I am still learning, aren't we all?

p.s. I don't remember re-bumping this, although, it may be possible.

"Beyond the blackened skyline, beyond the smoky rain, dreams never turned to ashes up until.........
...Everything CHANGED !!

Michael Nystrom's picture

Ok who bumped this thread?

He who smelt it dealt it.

some things

should never be allowed to fade away.


Chris Indeedski!

Daily Paul cured my abibliophobia.

As Charlie Chan would say...

As Charlie Chan would say... Ah So!

It's time! Rand Paul 2016!

"Truth, Justice, and the American Way!"


Does this go for aqua Buddhas too? I kid I kid

"How would that quote work for Christians?"

Just before he left Jesus promised Christians the Helper, or Spirit of Truth, or Holy Spirit, would come to them in his place. The Helper will dwell within the person and bring to remembrance all truth. John 14 16

Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit

16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,

17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

Jesus was trying to teach people to look WITHIN for truth instead of seeking it outside themselves, or seeking to be taught truth by another.The above verses place Christianity in a similar mode to Buddhism with the inner search for truth.

The Church interprets things differently and acts as an intermediary between people and God.

I agree Carol -- Book Bound

Michael's quote also means that "no other" can give you truth, this means the men who wrote the Bible.

While Jesus taught to "look within" he probably never thought his words would go into a book.

He also said that "only by me" will individuals gain entry into Heaven; unless Christ is an internal gate-way (maybe the pineal center where DMT is manufactured) the primary interpritation is "by way of his word as spoken in the Bible" which requires a little social "pushing" and "reinforcement" (bliss if your following true or hell if you are not).

The Old Testament (Jewish Bible) does not have a Hell -- it took the men writing on behalf of Christ to invent "hell" at least Catholics give you Pergatory (a buy-in).

One has to mine too deeply into Christian Thought to arrive at the simplicity of the OP Thread Quote.

Agree with you Octobox

I think Jesus WAS trying to teach people to go within, but this was a culture that worshiped "gods" outside themselves rather than recognize the spirit of God within. People relied on Rabbis as teachers rather than the inner spirit.

It might mean only by becoming "like me". He was enlightened and in communication with the higher realms, the spirit within. He was also in control of his energy and able to use universal energy to heal others. Some theorize that he was the prototype of what we are meant to become. But so is Buddha and enlightened others who walked the Earth.

The church uses Jesus as a figure head for their hierarchy of power. Hell is the threat used to control others. I do not believe in any organized religion. Still love to read the Gita and writings of Buddha, and the few words spoken by Jesus in John that reveal truth.

My truth comes from within, and I accept no other truth. "Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will open". Words of truth spoken by Jesus.


The problem I have with "good books" is that they are not as good as hearing it directly from source and even if you heard it from the lips of Christ himself, the latter was still not as good to hear it was for Christ (who heard it from the lips of God), and the latter for Christ was not as good as Being God.

For Individualism to Prevail we must un-hitch our pole-star to anything less than Oneness with God -- why seek Oneness with Christ if he was seeking Oneness of God and admonishing us to do the same.

You can control people through heroworship but you can't if the hero is in truth their own higher-self.

I think what that monk was saying is "ask no man or read no book" (therefore know nothing of Jesus life) " a supplement for direct experience of 'oneness' with spirit"

In one speech he said "follow me and now never follow me again"
---The first "follow" means "understand me" and the second means "get lost" hahahahahahaha

"Follow me, now never follow me again, and don't quote me"
---Now that would be a great religion; you get one statement, one fortune cookie, and the boot. True Individualism.


Howard Johnson is right!

Sorry, I just couldn't help myself.

That sense of oneness is to know

that you have an hierarchy of higher selves all the way back to Source and they are all you. The love is amazing! All others are part of the hierarchy at higher levels. My Higher Self tells me it wants me with "my feet on the ground and my head in the clouds." Every day I am a different person, and all of creation is renewed every second with all that is collected from experience, the ever changing living painting of All That Is.

love it! "Follow me, now never follow me again, and don't quote me"

Taoist and Buddhist do not have a "binding book"

They have a recipe for enlightenment (meditation - which is scientific step by step process - combined with the transmutation of emotions or "devotion").

How would that quote work for Christians -- if you remove Buddhist metaphors and replace it with Christian ones?

I don't think it's possible.

The crux of that statement is thus: Be ever humble to the fact that nothing you've ever read or were told about God or Eternal Rapture is true -- because the speaker or original author was "connected to source" when they wrote or spoke those words and you are not.

Meaning that listenting to words about God - Christ (etc) cannot substitute for Direct Experience.

In one statement "quote" you point out the entire folly of the Abrahamic Traditions.

I will say that Judaism is a lot closer to Buddhism then is Catholicism, Protestantism, or Islam -- plus Jews love Asian food (maybe that's why they are more ammendable; lots of fortune cookie memes?).


Since we're in the mood for chinese proverbs...

Here's another. This proverb came to mind while watching all the Rand uproar.

"Once upon a time, there was a farmer in the central region of China. He didn't have a lot of money and he used an old horse to plow his field.

One afternoon, while working in the field, the horse dropped dead. Everyone in the village said, "Oh, what a horrible thing to happen." The farmer said simply, "We'll see." He was so at peace and so calm, that everyone in the village got together and, admiring his attitude, gave him a new horse as a gift.

Everyone's reaction now was, "What a lucky man." And the farmer said, "We'll see."

A couple days later, the new horse jumped a fence and ran away. Everyone in the village shook their heads and said, "What a poor fellow!"

The farmer smiled and said, "We'll see."

Eventually, the horse found his way home, and everyone again said, "What a fortunate man."

The farmer said, "We'll see."

Later in the year, the farmer's young boy went out riding on the horse and fell and broke his leg. Everyone in the village said, "What a shame for the poor boy."

The farmer said, "We'll see."

Two days later, the army came into the village to draft new recruits. When they saw that the farmer's son had a broken leg, they decided not to recruit him.

Everyone said, "What a fortunate young man."

The farmer smiled again - and said "We'll see."

Moral of the story: There's no use in overreacting to the events and circumstances. Many times what looks like a setback, may actually be a gift in disguise. And when our hearts are in the right place, all events and circumstances are gifts that we can learn valuable lessons from."

Thanks for posting this story

This is just how Tony Robbins among others tell it. I think of this anytime something particularly bad happens to me personally, as well as anything that 'appears' good but which may turn around and bite me in the end.

Chris Indeedski!

Daily Paul cured my abibliophobia.

If you met Rand Paul on the Road...

In light of the context of this essay, isn't it possible that Rand was enacting a sort of 'test' to see who would survive the 'death' of their 'leader' and who would overcome.

Just because some of us may have acted badly (in public) over this event doesn't mean the teacher will begin withholding knowledge.

Everything will become clear in its proper time I do believe.

Chris Indeedski!

Daily Paul cured my abibliophobia.

The wise man

Hearing stories about an enlightened wise man, another man travelled far to see the wise man. The visiting man was full of bitterness, envy, anger and hatred. When he found the wise man he shouted at him, made accusations, ridiculed him, taunted him, cursed at him and spouted anger and hatred. He did this relentlessly day and night. The wise man meditated quietly in joy. Eventually the visiting man grew tired and saw that he had not broken down or baited the wise man at all.

At this point the wise man said, “Please let me ask you a question.” The visiting man agreed.

The wise man asked, “If a man brings to me a gift and I refuse to accept it, to whom does the gift belong?” The visiting man said, “It belongs to the one who brought it.”

The wise man then asked, “So if you come to me with a gift of hatred, anger, and ill will, and I refuse to accept it, to whom does the hatred, anger and ill will belong?”

The visiting man then realized the answer to the question, “It belongs to me.”

Let it not be said that we did nothing.-Ron Paul
Stand up for what you believe in, even if you stand alone.-Sophia Magdalena Scholl

God is not a separate being

God is not a separate being but rather is within all of us and experiences through us. And that is the Buddha that is dieing all the time as you gain in wisdom and consciousness of your real identity. You change continually as you grow in wisdom and understanding. God's spirit within guides you if you still your mind and wait for the truth to appear within your mind. Some call it meditation. Jesus went off by himself into the dessert, and so did Buddha retreat into silence, each listening for the truth within.

You are never alone but rather are connected to each other and all things by the cosmic consciousness that flows through the universe and animates your body in whatever form you may choose to take in multiple incarnations. You are one with the universe and all things are one with the God spirit within.

Analytical thinking has its place in navigating this world, but intuition is your connection to truth. It is the quiet voice within that guides you.

Some are more connected and aware of their spirit within than others; having complete integrity, sensitivity, courage, a quiet confidence, a noteworthy intelligence that is beyond pure analytical thinking, beyond the pettiness of ego. Ron Paul is one of those people, abiding by his own inner philosophy rather than the ego driven agenda of the rich and powerful.

If you meet Jesus on the

If you meet Jesus on the road, crucify him.

Now that's literal.

My brain hurts

trying to understand the WHY, now I just try to keep from getting run over by circumstances beyond my control.

Michael, if you meet a chicken crossing the road, let her pass, she is probably mine. hee,hee

"We can see with our eyes, hear with our ears and feel with our touch, but we understand with our hearts."

I asked Michael 1000 times to

I asked Michael 1000 times to start a newsletter on this site to inform patriots and he never did. SHAME


Are you serious? After everything Michael Nystrom has done for the movement and giving us this forum?

If you have an idea, instead of insisting someone else enact it, why don't YOU enact.

That's how this movement grows my friend, actions, not demands.
*Advancing the Ideas of Liberty Daily*

Michael has the weight of the world on his shoulders...

Being the last vestige of free expression for our cause. At the very least, the largest. Thank god he has managed to remain uncorrupted for all this time :)

Yours in Liberty,

Thus Spoke Zarathustra !

Amen, sister. Religious pun intended. Nietzsche's great maxim there, simple and beautiful.

woops - @ suzy4ron

@suzy4ron below

Isn't it an "impermanent illusion"...

..."that reality is an impermanent illusion"?

If not, then you're a false teacher.

If so, then your position reduces to irrationality, anything you have to say is meaningless, I don't know why you would care to say something so impermanently illusory, and why are you wasting our time?

Charles Jackson Also, read Ron Paul's original staff economist Gary North at