“Kill the Buddha” ~ Provocative Fact

buddha's face

For 300 years after Buddha’s death there were no Buddha images. The people’s practice was the image of the Buddha, there was no need to externalize it.

Over time, as the practice was lost, people began to place the Buddha outside of their own minds, back in time and space. The dual nature that we are somehow separated.

As the concept was externalized and images were made, great teachers started to reemphasize the other meaning of Buddha. Mainly the Buddha is Truth and lives within each mind and heart or “the heart/mind”.
The Buddha’s mind is his heart,
his heart~his mind.

There is a saying:

If you see the Buddha, kill him.

Very shocking to people who offer incense and worship before his image.

Buddha icon in Twang, India
Buddha icon in Twang, India

If you have a concept in the mind of a Buddha outside yourself, kill it or, more gently said, let it go. . . . Buddha repeatedly reminded people that the experience of truth comes from one’s own mind.

*from “Tricycle” magazine

Text, Artwork and Photography by L’Adelaide. All rights reserved.


22 thoughts on ““Kill the Buddha” ~ Provocative Fact

  1. These two pictures are very beautiful. I wonder if the images that have become so iconic to us were first made by those who feared we’d forget?

    The most important things that each of us must learn no one else can teach. You’ve described this very well, my friend. It’s disappointing to learn that perfect masters are so rare to be almost a fantasy but healing to know we are all struggling human beings.

    We hold one another’s hands.

    1. i actually don’t think so…. i think they come from ritualistic practice and temples where monks did exactly that-ritual. they are also two different arms of buddhism, one being chinese and one india. india is the birthplace of buddhism but also hinduism, highly ritualistic with what seems like hundreds of gods. it would be likely they created the first buddha statues of his nirvana under the bodhi tree. and then there’s the maitreya, the standing buddha, the buddha coming in the third time.

      long story short, i really resonated with these words. i do like my buddhas, most especially my tara but do not use anything for practice other than visualization relying on mantra. a form of worship of image i suppose as mantra is linked to mandala… very interesting anyway,no? makes you wonder where we would be if we never had these images. i am sure the west would not know the east. spices, silks or buddhas.

      very sweet comment, my dear. xxxooo

  2. The almost scary fact remains: no matter how many “truths” there are in this world, thousands, maybe TRILLIONS(?) that only ONE of them is true. There can be but one truth, all else is false. I believe this, I know this, and I shudder.

    But within myself I know that truth, and just SOOO hate to give up the now-and-then external Buddha. I shall try and remember, when I “see” the Buddha, I should slay him….

    Thank you Linda, for the beauthy, and for the inspiration.

    1. hi steve,
      it’s so nice to see you each time you pay me a visit. i haven’t been over to your blog but assume you aren’t posting. and it’s now private and you didn’t invite me YET! so what is the ONE truth, my friend? and why are you shuddering?

      steve, no need to try and remember anything. it’s a concept, an ideal actually, nobody is going to go lobbing off the heads of buddhas excepting certain groups of muslims who do it whenever they can get away with it.


  3. So much insightful wisdom here…. Consider how much of what we perceive and feel is based on projection and externalizing of self. Just as we should “kill the Buddha” ~ we should strip down all our pre-conceived images and judgements and see what’s really left at the heart’s core…or soul. What our true source sees through the eyes of love and spirit.

    Really loved this post dear friend… Thank you… Robyn

    1. hi robyn,
      how are you feeling?

      yes we should but that’s hard for me anyway…i am very attached to the ‘me’, imperfect tho she be. in buddhism the heart of the buddha is mind and the mind is heart so in a way , that would be the teaching. we should think with only our hearts and let the mind do the beating, since it does that anyway. 🙂


      1. Yes – imagine if we all could think with our heart? That sounds incredibly wonderful to me. The mind always gets us get in our own way it seems!

        I’m ok ~ quiet day home trying to keep joints in place … lots of rain here. How is your breathing? Hoping improvement for you ~ xo

        1. robyn! I was just on YOUR blog leaving a comment after having watched that wonderful video! what an inspiration he is. i know he will one day walk again. we are such miracles walking around inside these bags of skin, aren’t we? 🙂 there’s hope, dear friend, hope!

          since i’ve studied buddhism for many many years, i’ve known that but still it’s is so very hard to do … we are quite attached to the “me”, aren’t we… me, myself and I gets in our way so often and yet, we don’t even realize it because if someone said “It’s YOU.” we would, of course, recoil and probably hit the person. well maybe no fisticuffs but you know what i mean. we are so invested in being right instead of being love. if we were simply invested in being love, showing love, acting love, and enough did just that, the world would be so much more full of love instead of hate. ah well, i do not think i shall see it as in my lifetime it’s been endless war it seems. something that makes me quite sick, as i am sure it does you too. so robyn, we’ll keep thinking with our hearts as much as possible.

          is your daughter now safely in Spain? i am sure she must be and i am sure you miss her. i am sorry for your pain and hope for you a respite from it all. i sense you are down tonight. keep your spirits up if you can and if not, have a nice cuppa with a cookie or 5 and take a warm bath in candlelight before bed. xoxox if you aren’t in bed yet but you mustn’t be since you were just here so maybe i’ll catch you! quick hurry, hit reply!

          1. Oh so funny timing Linda ~ I just replied to you on my reblog for Arash! It is true — we are soooo much more than this bag of bones! Whenever folks would ask me “how are you feeling?” I used to say — “oh me… I am sooo much more than my physical body” LOL! They looked at me like I had 3 heads. Well – didn’t want to say what I was physically feeling (and knew they really did not want to hear about it) so I thought it a perfect answer… I am right? !!

            I have dabbled in the study of Buddhism ~ but not to the extent you have studied. It appeals to me so much ~ and I think it is mostly what I live without really analyzing it. Zen Mind Beginners Mind ~ read that ages ago– remember just nodding my head a lot like I already knew the essence of what I was learning. Still, as you said, so difficult to truly embrace all the greatness of it when there is ego – and attachment … and for me — the physical pain is way in the way. It takes a lot of focus and devotion I think … very hard to do also in our modern society when we are bombarded with all kinds of standards and expectations that are not in line with the teachings …right? Endless struggle I agree, but we will keep at it – and I believe will serve us to embrace this kind of loving approach to life.

            YES – butterfly baby is in Spain – spoke to her this evening and all is very very good. Sounds like a magnificent place to be – and her “host mom” taking good care of her so far. Nice roomie too ~ and I’m thrilled about that. Now if I could get the body to behave – be blessed with safe sleep (I dislocate joints in sleep when I’m relaxed and not guarding)…

            OH – how did you know I do the candle and bath before bed??? You must have seen my post?? LOL ~ If not I will leave you with this and hope maybe brings a smile ~ http://throughthehealinglens.com/2012/08/03/the-one/

            Pray you rest well and pain stays at bay ~ breathing with some ease …. Love to you sweet friend
            ~ Robyn

  4. Linda, that first image is STUNNING!

    Took my breath away!

    Well, being someone who collects Buddha statues and places them around my apartment because they always give me a beautiful sense of peace, I better get rid of them – HA!

    ” Mainly the Buddha is Truth and lives within each mind and heart or “the heart/mind”.

    Yes, I do believe that to be true. But I also believe it doesn’t hurt to have his image around, as a reminder of that.

    Thanks for sharing, dear friend! Lovely post!


    P.S. also, Buddha (Medicine Buddha) is actually one of my spirit guides when I share Reiki. And believe or not, I’ve actually seen him present.

    1. HA! 🙂

      no ron, don’t go throwing your buddhas away nor feel guilty. i just thought this was interesting from it’s perspective … quite extreme actually. i have heard the thought many times but not quite so radical. interesting about medicine buddha being your spirit guide. is he the buddha of your particular school of Reiki? just curious…

      and of course i believe it. i’ve seen buddhas before. twice to be exact but don’t go around posting about it. readers already know i’m daft without me starting to tell my tales of dancing buddhas at the foot of my bed night before the retreat. 🙂 xoxo

  5. tis late here friends, i shall be back in the morning…much love and many blessings with flowers and fresh air. xoxox

  6. Flowers and fresh air……..oh what a wonderful thing to gift us!
    And in celebration, I’ve opened the window to the study…..a mere 29 degrees, but the air is fresh and welcomed.

    You’ve given me food for thought–which is a good thing, given the direction of the thinking. See, I’m one of those who deludes myself on a regular basis. I let the muck and mire of ‘living’ get loud, and I bury truth under rationalizations–I do have a creative thought process! LOL But I do know the ONE truth lives inside of me. I simply have a habit of burying it. I can know what I know–and still do the opposite. :-/ Great things, those values/beliefs/virtues/etc that dwell in there. But without life breathed into them through action……*sigh* Yeah, well…..this is why I surround myself with people who will remind me of truth and challenge the by-jeepers outta me when I’m doing denial and not resting in and living in truth.

    I really like what Robyn shared. And I really like that this post was all about ME. *laughing*
    See how much I can be about MEMEME? 😉

    1. hi mel,
      thanks for that extra blast of cold air. for the first time in a long time, we are supposed to have temps down into the high 20s. covered up the lemon trees. 🙂 and it’s cold too but we need at least one cold snap for the roses to grow well and the hydrangeas to bloom. otherwise they never really stop it. my grapevines on my arbor are still in leaf and need to drop them but they will with that cold temp.

      delude yourself? i really doubt it, mel. you seem to be very contemplative based on what i read on your blog. i wish i could have commented today btw-or was that yesterday? i think i told you about it… i cannot comment on blogger blogs right now. who knows what’s up with that now. there’s always something it seems. great comment Mel! 😉 and yes, it’s all about you, my dear.

  7. I think that, whatever our spiritual practice is, the moment we externalize it – that we create an image or thought of “it” outside of our heart, our soul, we start running into problems. problems of what is truth, and my truth vs yours etc. Better to have no image, methinks, no concrete thought, and to find truth, where it resides, within.

  8. hi joss,
    i completely agree with you. externalizing practice isn’t quite the point. i think that’s my problem with some churches i have been in. thanks for commenting, joss. food for thought. xoxo

  9. Very interesting. Before I forget, thank you so much, Linda, for following First Night History.

    1. Hi! Of course I’d follow your blog! I am a huge fan of history tho I don’t read as much as I once did. Thanks for all these interesting posts! xxx

      1. So glad you’re enjoying them! I don’t read as much history as I once did either. It’s partly why I started the blog. x

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