Kill ‘Em All

Buddhism first taught that there was only one Buddha, Shakyamuni Buddha. Later there were 84,000 Buddhas, 84,000 Bodhisattvas, 84,000 demons, 84,000 Dharmas, many sutras.

In response to this, Zen Masters say, many Buddhas are not necesary. If you meet Buddha, you must kill Buddha. If you meet a Bodhisattva, you must kill the Bodhisattva. Too many, you know, so kill them all.

Also if demons come, you must kill the demons. Buddha, demon, Bodhisattva—you must kill everything. This is Zen.

Student: “Then what?”

Soen-sa: “Then hit!”

So, killing everything means that if, in your mind one mind appears, you must kill it — good mind, bad mind, kill everything. Then what? You always have opposites thinking in your mind — good and bad; Buddha and not-Buddha; Heaven and Hell.

You must take away these opposites.

– Seung Sahn


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