This morning, a memory popped into my head of a time when I first started meditating. I had been sitting for about 15 minutes or so when an image of a huge, golden Buddha appeared before me. He looked like a statue from a temple, but had flesh and was breathing. He looked at me and a smile spread across his face. My first reaction was amazement and I started thinking that I was really attaining something here, until that thought made me realize I wasn’t…
The next thing that came to mind was something I’d heard many years before, “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.” Although there are probably many meanings to this, the understanding I had was, if you see the Buddha arising in yourself, you should get rid of any such thought, it’s only an illusion, and a potentially destructive one, that arises along the path. So, I quickly manifested a pistol in my right hand and fired a shot at the Buddha’s heart. Nothing happened, he just continued to sit there grinning. I fired a few more shots, then, still smiling, he slowly slumped over and died. I had a twinge of guilt, I’d just violently murdered a Buddha, but I was left with a bigger problem… now there was a giant corpse in my tiny meditation space and there was no way I would be able to lift it on my own to get it out!
I remained still and waited. In a few moments, the slumping, hallucinated mass of a Buddha began to fade, then was gone. I giggled about it throughout the day. It was such an odd thing to experience. Then it faded as well, to suddenly come back to me this morning.
I lost interest in trying to figure out the meaning of the “kill the Buddha” teaching, it didn’t seem to matter to me anymore. A teaching I’d prefer to keep in my thoughts is that, deep down, we are all Buddhas. When you meet anyone on the road, maybe you are meeting a Buddha!