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If You Meet the Buddha on the Road – Buddhism, Politics, and Violence - Oxford Scholarship Online
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If You Meet the Buddha on the Road: Buddhism, Politics, and Violence

Michael Jerryson


It is said that the famous ninth-century Chinese Buddhist monk Linji Yixuan told his disciples, “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.” The statement deliberately confounds people and is meant to jolt them from complacent ways of thinking. However, beyond this purpose there is another. One should seek the inner Buddha nature that resides within, not an external Buddha for liberation. In this way, the thought of killing the Buddha dislodges a person from the illusionary perspective that enlightenment lies outside her/himself. The proclamation also highlights the power of violence, even ... More

Keywords: Buddhism, Buddhist, violence, state violence, war, conflict, gender discrimination, military chaplains, blasphemy

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2018 Print ISBN-13: 9780190683566
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2018 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190683566.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Michael Jerryson, author
Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Youngstown State University

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