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
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!