One familiar Zen koan goes like this: "If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him."
It’s easy to imagine the confusion and discomfort such sharp and unexpected advice would cause the devoted Zen student for whom the Buddha is an object of veneration and a symbol of enlightenment. But perhaps the koan can be understood to warn against accepting something outside of yourself, a substitute that may appear to represent your enlightenment; a doctrine or dogma that cuts your journey short before your own awakening is attained.
As unlikely as it may seem, I find myself thinking about the "Buddha on the road" koan often these days as I talk about my new book Red and Blue and Broke All Over: Restoring America’s Free Economy. It’s really a book about freedom and the way freedom produces prosperity.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
If You Meet the Buddha on the Road by Charles Goyette