A famous koan in Zen is that: “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill the Buddha!”, and it is obviously not to be taken literally, as taking a life is very much against the teachings. The true meaning of this koan is as varied as the person reading it, but for me it simply means the ‘true Buddha’ is the one that resides in you, and can’t be experienced externally, or through any other person. The spirit of this is encapsulated in another truism: “If you know you’re humble, then for sure you’re not.”
if you meet the Buddha give him a hug and promise a lollipop
It’s my meditation time. I place my cushions in the center of the room, face east, as is the mundane custom, and after lighting candles and incense, I cross my legs and allow my hands to assume a comfortable position. Just as I enter a deep state of quiet and all my little muscle aches finally disappear into my practice, I hear a door from another room open and footsteps head toward my quiet meditation area. It’s the three year old from down the way, who has invited herself in, and now, while desperately looking for ‘company’, enters my room. Without stopping for an instant she grabs one of the incense sticks and begins dancing around the room, waving it in the air and softly singing a child’s song to herself.
a dancing Buddha splashes candle wax on my toe
First published in: A Hundered Gourds!