Friday, November 24, 2006

Killing the Buddha


~"Pensive Bodhisattva" - 3rd century~

If you meet the Buddha on the road - kill him - Zen koan.

Not being particularly Sarte smart, that sort of groovy-Guru announcement has always made me lay my ears back and ganesh my teeth.
Perhaps clap one hand across someone's face.
Makes one think of the blunt instrument writing mantra ...kill your darlings...which I also view with similar suspicion.
Or the anarchist dogma: Challenge authority - to which the obvious reply is always: Why?
Back to the Buddha.
Primitive man had the seasonal propensity - as outlined in Frazer's The Golden Bough - to flat-line the divine. Since many if not all were vegetation gods, it may have been a case of making a virtue from necessity.
Practical people, primitives, in some ways.
The fundamental theory of god-killing - especially if you ate him - allowed for the absorption of the sacred within, form of self-directed diet.
Self-realization, self-direction, is one of the interpretations offered for the meaning of the koan.
That I can assimilate, even in terms of freeing oneself from the endless wheel of external approval.
You're the god of the book, after all.
Don't kill yourself though.

26 comments:

anna said...

'lay my ears back and ganesh my teeth' -- Laughing!
'freeing oneself from the endless wheel of external approval.'
Is this ever possible? I don't
know Bernita.
Interesting thoughts on a rainy Friday morning. As always enjoyed!

Ric said...

Existential meanderings on the day after Thanksgiving, when your readers are laced with tryptophan, wondering why their pants seem smaller, is just plain cruel.

writtenwyrdd said...

Well, supposedly if the Buddah is on the side of the road, it isn't the real one, so killing him/her/it would distract oneself from the worldly things (like fake Buddhas) which are getting in the way of enlightenment.

Or something like that.

But I find it doesn't make sense.

Anonymous said...

Well, supposedly if the Buddah is on the side of the road, it isn't the real one, so kifault=2

writtenwyrdd said...

Well, supposedly if the Buddah is on the side of the road, it isn't the real one, so kia walau pun tak begitu kuat.

Steve said...

I've consumed myself many times, but I'm still around.

kia walau pun tak begitu kuat. Excuse me, Latin or Klingon?

Bernita said...

Thank you, Anna.
Nervy nirvana.
~sometimes I just can't help myself~

But Ric...if I construe it correctly ...you should be full of divine light... you have stuffed yourself with the sacred bird!

Fake? I thought the godhead was everywhere, Writtenwyrdd!

Then why kill him, Anon?Especially when all sense is illusion?

Neither, Steve-as-Phoenix.

EA Monroe said...

I think I've arrived in the 11th dimension, Bernita! Is it time to eat the sacred bird leftovers? heehee

Bernita said...

Serious, EA, I know 5 or 6 ways to make leftover bird delicious.

kmfrontain said...

Damn it if I don't have "Why did the Buddha cross the road?" running through my head.

Bernita said...

YES! Karen!
Perfect!

MissWrite said...

Leave the little fat dude alone. Geesh.

Seriously though, I loved the last little paragraph and how your wheels turn.

writtenwyrdd said...

I didn't write that second post! What the heck is with blogger lately?

writtenwyrdd said...

Bernita, I am with you. The Divine Light is everywhere!

Bernita said...

Had a friend named Jiang that when he put on weight threatened to hire himself out as a Rent-A-Buddha...

Thank you. Sometimes mine just...spin...Tami.

Bernita said...

I'm just a poor, blind pilgrim/hermit with a lantern on a stick, Writtenwyrdd...
D'ya suppose I've found an elephant?
Don't answer that. I will try to be good. Karen set me off.

EA Monroe said...

...freeing oneself from the endless wheel of external approval... a truth I need to take to heart, Bernita. I've killed myself too many times worrying over every book or paragraph I've written. I'd welcome a few ways to make leftover bird delicious, too. Thanks!

Bernita said...

You're never going to satisfy everybody, EA. Further, one learns self-editing.
Of course, my position is largely sans crit, here.

Well, first there is the hot sandwich ( NEVER use up all the drippings to make gravy the first day - no matter how they whine), followed by the club sandwich.
Followed by a stir fry w/ celery, onions, mushrooms, peppers, orange slices, in any orange-ginger sauce.
Or, may use the bits plucked from the cold carcass to make a "stoup" w/ meat, peppers, etc., omitting the fruit,thickening and flavouring with a gravy of chicken boveril and corn starch.Can add any variety of pasta too.
The most labor-intensive is the proper soup from the carcass. After simmering the bones 'm bits according to the normal stock recipe, everything ( outside of the bones) is mashed through a fine sieve.Makes the richest base in the world.
Add the usual veggies and bird bits. I always add pearl barley and whole black peppercorns.

EA Monroe said...

Thanks, Bernita! I'm printing out your suggestions. Yum!

raine said...

Haaa, I love the idea of being suspicious of the dogma that urges you to be suspicious of authority... :-)

Interesting thoughts, so early in the morning!
If the divine is within, as it is supposed, there should be no need for a token absorption of some external symbol--no need for any external symbol at all. There should BE no Buddah on the road, so who is he and what does he want?

I do like the 'self-direction' interpretation. However, I'm afraid that, so far, I've got much to learn about being the god of the book.

Bernita said...

Food for the gods, EA.

An excellent point and question, Raine.
In many of the accounts from Frazer, the divine is never inherently within the human, it is always external or acquired from an external source.

Hee, I'm still fooling around with the god-in-the-machine myself.

spyscribbler said...

I'm laughing at the "kill your darlings" suspicion. Sometimes those darlings just don't belong, but ... when they do, no one notices they're darlings, except possibly the author. Would be sad for an author to kill his/her best parts, or his/her voice ...

I've always liked the idea of immanent divinity. If I saw Buddha on the road, I'd laugh at him and tell him to get over himself.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Hello...were am I??? ROFLOL...it feels like I walked into the twilight zone!! Bernita, your mastery with words is light years beyond my feeble comprehension in my present unmedicated caffiene condition...LOL!

I've got to much tryptophan in me to be able to desciper what in the world you are talking about!

Killing Buddah!!! The Taliban blew his antiquity images to bits off the side of those mountains in Afghanistan several years ago. Did they think of him as a god or a wise man?

But killing a god takes a lot more contemplative thought. If you can kill it/him/her...then obviously it wasn't a god...LOL.

That's like the witch burnings in Salem...what self-respecting REAL witch would let herself be toasted like a marshmallow...LOL!

*sigh* I need coffee!!!!

Bernita said...

Yeah, my Spy, I'd be suspicious too - have to be careful of the hitchhikers in this galaxy.

Perhaps they were practising a form of sympathetic magic, Bonnie,...blow the image tahellandgone and the spirit power would itself be injured...
In the primitive mind, the gods could be injured and killed.... Balder, Attis,Adonis, Osiris Dionysus,various Corn-spirits.
Why doesn't the psychic know who's calling?
They hung 'em, didn't burn 'em, in Salem.

Lisa Hunter said...

Really interesting post, Bernita. I used to have a "Question Authority" sign in my house -- until my 11-year-old started taking it to heart...

Bernita said...

Hee, Lisa...then we have to remind them of another facet of the benevolent dictatorship rule - the force majeure.