Friday, March 31, 2006

Killing the Buddha

A friend sent me a link to this website Ktb: Killing the Buddha

I've been exploring, reading articles that offer thought-provoking and moody flavor. I've identified with some, found my brow wrinkling with others. A lot of these pieces would be right at home in my favorite magazine, The SUN: Personal. Political. Provocative. Ad-free.

I'd read about the phrase "killing the Buddha" before but had forgotten what it meant. I'd heard the words recently murmured in the creepy, atmospheric Two Gods, a song from Dante's Kitchen by Attrition. (There's an MP3 of the song on their site here Attrition ) Killing the Buddha looks to be updated fairly often. I'll go back. Knew it when I read the manifesto. Here are a couple of sections to grab your interest.

Killing the Buddha is a religion magazine for people made anxious by churches, people embarrassed to be caught in the "spirituality" section of a bookstore, people both hostile and drawn to talk of God. It is for people who somehow want to be religious, who want to know what it means to know the divine, but for good reasons are not and do not. If the religious have come to own religious discourse it is because they alone have had places where religious language could be spoken and understood. Now there is a forum for the supposedly non-religious to think and talk about what religion is, is not and might be. Killing the Buddha is it.

Why Killing the Buddha ? For our purposes, killing the Buddha is a metaphor for moving past the complacency of belief, for struggling honestly with the idea of God. As people who take faith seriously, we are endlessly amazed and enraged that religious discourse has become so bloodless, parochial and boring. Any God worth the name is none of these things. Yet when people talk about God they are talking mainly about the Buddha they meet. For fear of seeming intolerant or uncertain, or just for lack of thinking, they talk about a God too small to be God.


Blogger Betty S said...

Great Post

Believe nothing just because a so-called wise person said it
Believe nothing just because a belief is generally held

Believe nothing just because it is said in ancient books
Believe nothing just because it is said to be of divine origin

Believe nothing just because someone else believes it
Believe only what you yourself test and judge to be true


To me it has always meant. If you meet someone who claims to be a great spiritual leader and wants you to follow him blindly, or you are inclined to follow. Kill him.
(Not literally, of course) Buddha really taught to blindly follow no one (not even him), but to think for yourself. Develop and learn to trust your own instincts.

11:25 AM  
Blogger X. Dell said...

I value the meaning behind the metaphor. And I appreciate the origins of it(as they come from Zen). Furthermore, the site certainly doesn't spare other dogma.

I don't suppose the phrase "Kill the Christ," would have the same ring to it, for part of Christian mythology holds that the true Christ will reappear--so if you meet Him, you'd be best advised not to kill him.

The metaphor does, however, connote (at least to me) an 'otherness' of religious orthodoxy that the author of the book "Killing the Buddha" and the website do not consciously intend.

BTW, thanks for the tip on the Sun. I especially enjoyed the article about dreams as a mechanism for social change.

1:09 PM  
Blogger Rinda Elliott said...

You've never read the Sun? Oh, just from everything I've read of yours alone, you would love this magazine!! I've been getting it for more than ten years and never, ever fail to find inspiration. I've written six short stories alone just from the photographs. Intelligent political and religious discussion doesn't come better.

For me Kill the Buddha meant facing your preconceived notions and banishing them so your path is unobstructed.

The point you bring up about Christian understanding is touched upon briefly here.

1:43 PM  
Blogger Rinda Elliott said...

Forgot to mention, I enjoyed that article in the Sun very, very much. I've always thought about opening up a Yahoo group just for "Sun" discussions.

Betty, I gave Ammanda several back copies of this magazine and she loved it.

1:51 PM  

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