Nothing Separate from Yourself
There’s a well-known quotation in the Zen tradition that is known to those who meditate and those who explore a more truthful experience of reality. It is this: ‘Kill the Buddha’ and it means to kill any concept of consciousness as something separate from yourself.
To kill the Buddha is to be the Buddha. It is to kill any concept of consciousness of life that is separate and different from you. The primary illusion in consciousness is the illusion of separation, and we all carry it. We are taught that we are separate and different from our god, whatever that god is. In this illusion of separation, we are conflicted. We cannot have union with our god. In the illusion of separation, the conflict that we carry is then projected onto all and every aspect of life. We are separate and different from each other. We are separate and different from all objects that we encounter as subjects. This unresolved conflict affects our behavior and our behavior becomes competitive.
It becomes abusive and violent. And then we complain … we lament that the world is full of violence and conflict and war and hatred and competition and greed. Yet, we do not look to the cause of such conflict, which is every human being who lives within an ego-driven illusory belief system based on separation. In truth, there is no separation. There is only one life—one consciousness that empowers all of us and empowers all and everything. But if we remain mired in this illusion of separation, we are not wakeful to our own conflict.
In order to change the behavior, you have to change the belief that is causative to the behavior. So in the Zen tradition, as in all wisdom traditions, you find such admonitions as to kill the Buddha. What does it mean? If you experience the Buddha, or what the Buddha represents—which is consciousness, the oneness of all life, you have truthful experience. But if you encounter the Buddha as something separate and different from yourself, kill him. Annihilate this illusion because it is causative to conflict in you. When you annihilate the separate god, you experience the oneness of god, the oneness of consciousness, the oneness of life.
You become the Buddha. You become the consciousness that you are, that all is. You dissolve this illusory separation, and you experience that there is only one … one consciousness … one life … one source … one god … a unity in diversity … the one that is the many.