"If you meet the Buddha on the way, kill him"
Osho on a much-misunderstood Buddhist saying

This is a zen way of saying something of immense value. It is a zen saying: "If you meet the Buddha on the way, kill him!" But Buddha is dead, has been dead for twenty-five centuries. Where can you meet him, on what way? And how can you...can you kill one who has been dead for twenty-five centuries?

It has a totally different meaning: it is a message to the disciple who loves Buddha, who loves Buddha so much that there is a possibility that Buddha may become his last barrier - because of his love, because he is a disciple, because he is a sannyasin, because he meditates, goes deeper and deeper into his being and will feel more and more grateful towards Buddha. And at the last moment even the master has to be left behind...at the last moment. At the very last you have to say good-bye to the master too. This is something inner, remember, it has nothing to do with the outer. This is something inner. All thoughts disapper, then only one thought remains - the thought of your master.

And it is very difficult to say good-bye. You owe so much to the master - he has been your source, your transformation; he has been your nourishment, your life; he has brought you along the long way. And now to say good-bye to the person who has been your guide, your friend? An now to say good-bye to him who has been a constant companion in the dark night of the soul; when the dawn is coming to say good-bye to him? It seems impossible! And the disciple, at the last moment, starts clinging to the idea of the master.

But that becomes the barrier. The master will himself give him a push, and if you don't listen to the push then he will give you a kick in the pants! - because you have to go, you have to go into the unknown.

The master himself says - i say to you - 'If you meet me on the way, kill me!' But what way is implied? You will not meet me on M.G.Road! What way? If you go inwards, on the inner way, on the inward journey, at the last check-post i am waiting for you.

And it will be difficult to say good-bye, it has always been difficult to say good-bye. Hence the statement to just kill the master, so there is no need even to say good-bye; kill the master so there is no need to look back; kill the master so you can now be left totally alone, with not even the shadow of the master with you. And this is done in great gratefulness, in great gratitude.

First become a sannyasin, a disciple, start moving inwards, only then can you meet me. You have not yet even met me outwardly, how can you meet me inwardly? You have not yet come closer to me, how can you be in a state of clinging to me? You are far away, you are distant, you are avoiding. You have not even said good morning so what is the point of saying good-bye?

First become a disciple. Move on the inward way, let me help you to the ultimate point, and then certainly if you meet me on the inner way, kill me.

But it happens that people understand only according to their own idea. You have not understood this Zen koan. And remember again, it is not that the disciple kills the master in anger. He kills him in gratitude. In fact he kills him because the master orders him to kill him; he simply followed the commandment - crying, weeping, with tears in his eyes. And even when he was killed, the gratitude remains.
The masters who were telling their disciples, 'if you meet the buddha on the way, kill him!' were worshipping Buddha every day, morning, afternoon, evening. They were prostrating themselves before the Buddha. And many times it had been asked by the disciples: 'Sir, you say 'if you meet the Buddha on the way, kill him!' -then why do you worship?'

And he would say: 'Because he is the only master in the world...Buddha is the only master in the world who helps you to get rid of him too, hence the gratitude.'

You have not understood the statement. These statements have a very different meaning than is apparent. To understand these statements you will have to become a little grown-up. As far as these statements are concerned, you are like children.

If you meet me on the way, kill me. But first please, be on the way - where i am waiting for you, to be killed by you. But you don't know another thing which is not really ever said. This statement is only half of it; the other half, the first half is missing. Before you can ever kill me, i will kill you. That's how you will enter the way!

from The Guest, Osho's talks on Kabir

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