Thursday, June 11, 2009

If you meet the Buddha...kill him!

Buddha taught self-reliance and non-attachment. His teachings are full of examples of being lamps unto ourselves and not relying on someone else's experience...and not hanging onto the ones we have.

He wanted for all people to have his experience of total awakening, but be our experience. We need to have the direct and immediate awakening inside ourselves.

Many Zen Masters, like Bankei, were chastised for not using the zen system of its day, with regimented routines and koans. He was a light unto himself. He had the experience and went around challenging others in their enlightenment experience like a samurai challenging another to determine their level of skill. Bankei did not lose.

One time during zazen I had a very high level of clarity and had a laser light pass into my third eye (area located between the eyes). I went to Nonin, my Zen teacher, and asked him about it. He basically told me to kill it. It is nothing to hang on to. It was a just another level of consciousness, no better or worse than another. This too shall pass. He was teaching me to not get attached to wonderful sensations and heightened levels of awareness. Just stay here and sit.

This is killing the Buddha. Do not hang onto the Buddha or Buddhism or any -ism or wonderful insights. They are passing and transient and can hook us into a false sense of confidence and spiritual egoism. This is just as dangerous as being addicted to a street drug like cocaine or heroin. It deludes us and keeps us in a trance. We are not free or awakened. We only think we are.

True freedom comes from killing the Buddha...every single day. This extends to my study of Karate as well. I am always killing my own insights. When I have one, it excites me. I play with it, give it thanks, and then kill it. I move on. To stay stuck on one interpretation or a set of interpretations of kata or strategies about fighting or self-defense is to not accord with the -do of Karate-do. I drive my students crazy some days because I am always changing things. Just when they think they have Sanchin Kata understood, I change it. Kill the Buddha.

This is so they understand there is no firm ground on which to stand. Karate is not is an active evolving art form and it is important to keep the mind bouyant and non-attached. Life is bouyant and non-attached. Kill the Buddha!

I hope this makes sense.

If it does.

Kill it.

Hands palm to palm,


  1. Wonderful! Yes this is true.

  2. 'changing kata every day'...I hate it when teacher does that. LOL! But after awhile, you figure it out..and just smile.

  3. Oh Sensei <3 What could we do without your continious insights, changing of everything we know all the time, and comediac teaching style?

    Probably be a lot more sane, yet so lame by comparison.

  4. Haha, what an insightful post. I loved your ending.

    I too keep my karate training in a constant state of flux. I find that if I rely on a particular strategy or concept I get complacent. I often teach students to build bunkai, destroy it, and then build again. This will lead to deeper understanding of the core of the kata, rather than just a single interpretation.