Sunday, September 6, 2015

"If you meet the Buddha on the street, kill him."

If you meet the Buddha on the street, kill him (逢佛殺佛) Linji
People don't get this, neither from the East nor from the West. Why would you dare to kill an exalted, now deified, personage? Who are you to do this?

The thing is that is exactly what Kozure Okami, the lone assassin, had to do. He had to walk right up to a good, quiet, holy man – a buddha – and kill him. And when he did that, the old monk smiled, and he died, cut right in half. "A perfect cut!" he exclaimed as he died.

People don't get this.

I said the same thing in a meeting two weeks ago.
Me: I'd go right up to Mount Olympus and punch Zeus in the face.
Boss: You Americans! It's not pronounced 'Seusse,' it's pronounced 'Zevfs'!"
Me: Whatever. I'd STILL punch him in the face.
Boss: You really wouldn't want to do that. He's a god, you're a human. He'd take his lightning bolts and destroy you.
Nobody got it.

What's to get? What is this zen-koan telling us?
If you meet the Buddha on the street, kill him
And why would he smile when you did just that?

The thing is, the Buddha was just a man, who became enlightened, and the second that he did, did he keep that gift all to himself? No. He spent the rest of his life preaching and teaching – a guru – but what is a guru? A master, that his students all kowtow to? No. A guru, a teacher of the way, of the heart, is a person who is ever-desiring (or in Buddha's case: ever-desireless) to give to one person, just one other person, what he has.

Just one person.

How many people did Buddha enlighten?

Let me tell you another story.

Dhaval and I were commuting into work one day, and we were trying to see if our boss was a good boss. He got results. Boy, did he get results, but our boss was sad, because nobody was stepping up to the plate and taking charge of the projects he needed to leave behind to put out other fires in the company (in a big company there are always other fires, aren't there?). Dhaval, bless his heart, was growing and trying. I tried. Neither of us had those ineffable qualities that made a real leader (or 'effable' as there are books aplenty that enumerate True Quality of Real Leaders).

So our boss was sad.

His 'boss' was Steve Jobs, and our boss ran his organization like Steve Jobs, blowing out people left and right, but there was no doubt of his vision, and you either saw his vision and aligned with exactly how he saw it had to be executed or he gave you your ball back and you went home.

I surprised my boss. I took my own ball back and went home.

Long story.

Ask me about it, but buy me a beer, or three, first.

But Steve Jobs. Was he a leader? A guru?

He was a visionary. There's no doubt of that, and Apple died when it kicked him out when it couldn't stand him, and when they begged him to come back, and he did, they became the number one company in the world.

No doubt.

But who is there now that is Steve Jobs? Hands up, anyone, who sees this person as having the vision and the drive to make a number one company in the world?

Steve Jobs was no guru. My boss, bless his heart, is an excellent Steve Jobs, no doubt, but he, too, is not a guru.
If you meet the Buddha on the street, kill him
I've taught at uni. I'm one-of-a-kind. I've screamed out in joy about object-orientation. I've danced on my desk when I was showing off perl-hacks. I prepared my lesson plan thirteen hours for each hour I taught in class. I gave it all for my students, every single class.


I've had over 1,000 students. I'd say two or three of them were what a teacher looks for: not only apprehending the lessons, but then going and doing new stuff on their own.

But not once, ladies and gentlemen, did a student take my dry erase from my hand and say: "Then, this and this, and then you can do THIS!"

Not once.

Oh, how I wish that ever happened!


Once, I was taking Silva mind-control from Judy Qua ...

... (I can feel another person's cancer, right there where it is in my pelvis, from across the country. I can read minds. Freaks my coworkers out. That's another story) ...

... I went up to Judy and said: "So, how do I become a leader in the Silva Method and each others."

Judy looked at me with tired-tired eyes, and said, "Listen, Michael..."

... Filipinos can't pronounce my name, so they give me one they can ...

"... Listen, I've taught thousands of people this method, and only three times has somebody come up to me and asked this, and each time it's lead to naught."

I smiled at her. "So I'm the third one, then, ha?"

I smiled because I know how it feels, to teach and to teach and to teach to the same people, over and over again who just aren't getting it, because why? Because they aren't changing how they see things. They aren't even trying to change.

I wasn't the one. I don't know if there is one who will pick up the work Judy is doing.
If you meet the Buddha on the street, kill him.
I'm a writer. I have over 125-thousand page views, I have thousands of readers. Tens of thousands? Out of those perhaps even maybe one hundred have written me back and reviewed my work, letting it know what it means to them.

And from that, I have garnered six marriage proposal (my wife thanks each of you. Not), and have learned that I have saved at least four lives with my writing.

That's ...

No. No words. You go save a life and then you tell me how that feels.

And that's what I want, more than anything.

Because that's what has happened. Four times.

From my writing, of the more than one-hundred thousand page views, four people have written stories, and two of them have told me that a reader of theirs told them what they wrote saved their lives that day.

I'm responsible for that. Because I dared to write something, and I hate it, every chapter I write, I hate opening my heart and baring my soul like that to you. I cry, every single chapter I write, but I do it.


Because it's not about me. It's about you and your life. And if I write something that touches one soul and makes one person's day better or even bearable whereas before it was not?

Then isn't that worth it?

Yes, it is. But you can answer that. And you can do that by daring to be more than just you.

There are people's lives at stake here in this game called life, and you can play this game with your own little ball all by yourself.

Or you can share your ball, your life, with somebody else – with somebodies elses – and you can change their lives, and all I'm doing, everything I'm doing, is opening up, when I sure as hell don't want to, and saying:


I saw this.

It hurt.

I cried.

Love doesn't make the hurt go away.

But, God, it helps you. It helps her.


And is that so hard?

Yes, it's the hardest thing in the world.

But not loving, not sharing? What do you call that? You call that a life?

Did Jesus not love? Did Jesus not share? What did Jesus say: "Go, and do thou likewise."
If you meet the Buddha on the street, kill him.
Well, we surely did that. We killed him. And by we, I mean you and me, particularly you young Catholics so full of self-righteousness about the state of your piety (we: you and me, brothers and sisters). We're not loving and sharing. We are standing on our mountaintops or soapboxes and proclaiming how good and righteous we are and how evil the world is ('the world' meaning "all y'alls who don't agree with me").

We did cruxify Jesus and we do cruxify him each and every time we do not love and serve God and not love our neighbor as ourselves.

And Jesus died willingly. He said take this cup from my lips, but when the time came, he drunk deeply of suffering and death, and the crowds reviled him, cursed him, and abandoned him.

And one criminal stayed and said: "No, I deserve this. Jesus, save me."

One criminal. And a billion Christians today. Yay! And this is the state of the world today.

And no wonder why people wonder if Jesus saw this now, would he even have bothered.

The thing is: he did see this, and he did bother.


No person would be happier than Jesus to be strung up if that one person, that one sheep could be saved.

But what if ...


What if you actually heard his words, and lived them?

Do you know what 'lived them' means? It means 'Go, and do thou likewise.'

That's what 'lived them' means. It means preaching and teaching, two-by-two, baptizing in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

It means actually living your live and actually doing something.

Saving people's lives. Not just your own.

Jesus would love it if you took your sword and cut him down on the road, if it meant your repentance and your redemption. Because what does your repentance and your redemption mean?

There's numbers to that. John Newman's conversion let to ten thousand conversion of English men and women. St. Francis of Assisi led to how many conversions of heart? St. Augustine? Mother Teresa? St. Thérèse of the little Child? Padre Pio, and his towering faith and lion's roar, throwing women out, dressed like 'foolish clowns,' 'trapped' in the confessional for up to sixteen hours each day? St. John Vianney, thrown out of seminary, eating one boiled potato, and fighting Satan every night who couldn't whisper a homily to save his life?

These are men and women, flawed, imperfect, 'unlikely' candidates that you'd never vote for (St. Paul was thrown into jail and convicted and forgot the names of the people he baptized, some parish priest he was), but they did one thing: they took up their crosses, and followed Christ.
If you meet the Buddha on the street, kill him.
You. Me.

I said I would punch Zeus, Zevs, whatever, in the face, and nobody got that. You know why?

We are made in the image and likeness of God.

And you're living your life how?

God made us too well, for we are wonderfully and terrifyingly made, and yet you spit it all out, living your lukewarm lives, neither too hot nor too cold, with the sole goal of not being noticed. God looks at you scared to do something, and those of you who don't ...

Why don't you just take the talents God gave you, and slam Him in the face, because that's how much you are hurting Him, ladies and gentlemen. Each sin you commit and each sin I commit is another hammer-blow, nailing that spike into God's precious hand.

And you, and I, commit the sin of omission, every. single. time, you let your fear exceed your faith, and you do nothing, cowering in fear, or you do something, by running away as fast as you can.

God looks at you and He tweets: "smh."

But then.

But then, each time you look at your fear, no, look through your fear, and actually do that thing? That thing that scared you to death? That time you wore your mantilla to Mass, even though the other school kids where talking and looking and pointing at you, the weird girl, wearing her mantilla.

Even that.

Even just a little tiny proclamation of faith, that thing that scared you to death, but you did it ...?

God looks at you and He doesn't tweet. He doesn't tweet because He's crying, so, so proud of you that you took the first baby step away from fear, toward Faith, toward Him.

Of course, that's the first baby step, now you've got to run like Mother Teresa.

But that come later, every day you encounter your fears and then you have to choose to proclaim your faith. Faith is a journey.

But how many of us are not on that journey? How many of us lax, complacent Christians, tweeting a Bible verse to assuage ourselves and show everybody else what Good Christians we are, see, Lord, I'm not like that Tax Collector, or President Obama or Douchebag Trump or that lax Christian whose knee doesn't touch the ground when they genuflect. I'm Better Than. I'm better than those guys who go out drinking and then get swept right on tinder for a hook-up. Look at me, and look at them.

Or those people who just live their lives, doing what the eff they want to do, because that's how they do, and do you have a problem with that? No. Didn't think so.

My fear for myself, and for you, too, is that you and I, we are going to live our lives like this, one or the other, and then we're going to bow down before God, trembling in fear in that Final Judgement, hoping that our Last, Perfect Act of Contrition will magically put us in God's grace.

God will look at me, and look at you, and tweet: "smh."

And off to Hell we go, we quivering, cowardly, Christianity-and-water Christians.

Why do I say that?

Cassiopea was beautiful, so beautiful than even the goddesses, and dared to know that and to proclaim that. She was enthroned in the heavens and remembered forever.

Upside down, yes. But I have a question for you: what happened to all those other 'nice' girls that did nothing, pointing at her and laughing: 'You get what you deserve!' they say, never once pointing their fingers at themselves.

What happened to all those devout followers of Buddha, bowing and scraping and wanting enlightenment, but never truly letting go of their own pettiness? Not really.

What happened, or who was chosen in all the heavens? Who was sent when God said: "Whom shall I send?" Was it the Cherubim or Seraphim? All the angels in heaven?

No. One scared little guy look looked around at all that splendor and whispered: "Send me."

And God had his lips anointed with a hot coal, ladies and gentlemen, and he was on fire since then.

No. Don't live your life that you have to quiver before God, hoping he overlooks your pointless, wasted life.

No. Stand tall. Stand proud. Are you God? Or are you a sham? And swing with everything you've got, right at His face.

SACRILEGE! You scream. Oh, yeah, what did Jacob do, all night long? He fought, and he broke that Angel's knee, and for it, he was blessed for all generations to come. Scream your sanctimonious 'sacrilege' at me, living your small, quiet, petty lives, wanting to drag me, your friends, your family, yourself down with you. And go down to Sheol and cover your head with your bitter ashes.

Or ... not.

Be the one, the only one, who dared to look God in the face, like Moses, and save yourself, save a Nation. Save the world.

Me, I'm going down anyway. Might as well go down swinging. God will know.

And maybe I'll get lucky. God is Irish after all, perhaps He'd be in the mood for a little stand down after hearing all those sycophants and their insincere lamentations.

Don't be one of the so many, bowing and scraping, and saying "Oh, Lord, I didn't know!" ... when you did, all along, no matter how often you silenced your conscience and your guardian angel. You did know. You could have acted. You could have chosen faith, not fear.

No. Stand. Fight.
If you meet the Buddha on the street, kill him.
Get it?

You don't get it. You never will. You'll go on living your scared, quiet, self-righteous life.

I'll see you in hell.

(but at least I tried, and I went down swinging) I know, I know.
Pride proceedeth the fall.  Prov 16:18
but then Matt 18:15-18.

I'm done here.

*geophf drops mic

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