Kill the Buddha
“If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him right away”, this is a famous Zen proverb that Zen masters used to tell their disciples.
To understand the depth of this proverb, we need to understand the basics of meditation and how our mind works. If you look at the different types of meditation, there is one common objective of all of them. It is to put a halt on the thinking process of the mind.
Basics of Meditation you might not be aware about
Their are a lot of different ways to do meditation. Some of the ways include keeping your eyes closed and focusing your attention on different things such as, focusing your attention on either breath or body sensations or sound. Another way is to keep your eyes open and focus at a particular point. I am mentioning these in a little detail below:
Observing breath during Meditation
If you are doing meditation via observing your breath. Then during meditation, you need to focus on keeping the attention towards your breath. If while doing meditation, you feel that your attention is wandering away from your breath, then as soon as you realize this, all you need to do is bring the attention back on your breath. You can check out this article where I have explained in detail: What is the meaning of meditation and how to do breathing meditation?
Observing body sensations during Meditation
In this type of meditation, you need to observe body sensations in different parts of the body. The primary focus has to be with observing body sensations all the time. During the meditation, whenever your mind starts wandering, i.e whenever you start having any thoughts, you need to bring back the attention to observing your body sensations.
If you are doing sound meditation, then during meditation, all the attention of your mind needs to be on the ears. You need to focus on hearing any sounds that you hear and do nothing else. During meditation, it would keep on happening that your mind's attention would waver and some thoughts might come to you, as soon as it happens, you need to bring back the attention to hearing sound.
Meditation while looking at a single point (with eyes open)
If you are doing meditation in which you are looking at a single point, then all the attention of your eyes need to be at that same point. Whenever you realize that your mind has wandered away and you have started thinking something, you need to bring your attention back to what your eyes were looking at.
The important thing which is common in every meditation technique is that the attention of mind has to be on a single point.
What do we understand about our Mind?
Now let us understand our mind a little bit :
Mind has this tendency to always think and analyze. It keeps on hopping from one thought to another. The intensity of the thought depends on how much our mind is emotionally attached to those thoughts. The important point is that there is a gap in between every two thoughts, however small the pause might be, but there is a gap. Generally, the gap is so small, that we are not conscious about it. The mind takes rest when it is not thinking or when it is in that gap. You can understand this as – During that gap when the mind is not thinking, it is being in the present moment, it is still in itself.
That is the reason why the sages say
“Whatever you are searching for is already within”
That is, all those that are searching for that thing, that place, that experience that will bring you peace or tranquility. That peace is already there within you. You just need to be in that present moment, you just need to be in that gap.
As we discussed above, during different types of meditation, when a person mediates, one brings all the attention of the mind to a single point. As a result of it, the mind can not do thinking because mind's attention is on the particular sense organ and it somehow takes a pause from the thinking process and is in a rested state.
What is the key to a happy and blissful life?
The mind's attention on a single thing at any given time is the key a happy and blissful life. You would have seen people around you who are happy, the reason for their happiness is that they have found something or some work which they regularly do with love. You can say that “work that they love” has taken all the attention of their mind.
Like an artist who loves working on his art, a woodcutter who likes to cut wood, a gardener who loves gardening, a sportsperson while playing his game and so on. The common thing in all these people is that their mind gets absorbed automatically in the work that they do.
Are you conscious about this one thing during meditation?
When one meditates while putting the attention of the mind on a sense organ, the mind would wander. The mind has this tendency to always think, analyze and think some more. The fact is that whenever the mind is doing any sort of thinking, the attention of the mind will not stay on the sense organ. That is why it is extremely important to be conscious about bringing the attention back to the sense organ. You leave any thought that is there right away. It is a constant exercise that needs to be done while doing meditation. Like we do exercise in the gym to make our muscles stronger with each session. Similarly, this exercise needs to be done to make the mind more healthy.
So, you always need to remember that you must be conscious about and kill any thought (kill the buddha) that comes during meditation and you need to bring the attention back to the sense organ.
That is the reason Zen masters say “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him right away”. The road mentioned here is your mind and the Buddha is a passing thought. Because the mind starts imagining Buddha and goes away from the object of meditation. Just simply bring the attention back to the object of meditation that is either on your breath, body sensation, sound or the point that you are looking at etc. The buddha will automatically get killed or in other words, he will pass through the road and disappear.
How can knowing this help you?
If you have read till here, then all you need to do is choose any type of meditation technique and start meditating every day. Your alertness and focus of the mind would increase for sure gradually by doing this. This is so because you would be doing a mental exercise of focusing on one thing regularly. These are just a few of the benefits you would get along with joy and bliss. You would realize the rest of the benefits with your own experience once you start practicing it. The quality of your life would increase day by day with the practice.
Remember, consistency is the key here. In fact, consistency is one of the important secrets of success that can change your life. It is just a matter of taking that first step to achieve what you want to.
I can assure you from my personal experience that your quality of life would increase a lot and you would be able to experience happiness and bliss more often.
This article has been written by Moji with inputs from Bitgog team. He has many years of experience and expertise in the field of meditation and spirituality. He has travelled across the length and breadth of India and has visited and meditated in many spiritual places. Connect with him on his email here.