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Killing the Buddha

I am forever the reverent one.

I am the fire-thief; I am the shaman.
I will go forth for you, darling, and bring back
the wisdom of gods and the voices of mountains,
the silvery stones that lie worn in the rapids,
a breath of the mist from the dizzying edge.
I am the spear that pierces the sun.

I am the hours that stretch into seasons.
I am the holly and I am the oak,
The maiden, the mother, the wizened old crone.
Each moment that made me still smolders within me.
I see their light shining like knives through my skin.
I am the stone that makes love to the sky.

I am the blind man; I am the detective.
I am the seeker, alone in the night.
I peer through the fog with my lanterns like eyes
and I wrestle the words from the grip of the pages.
I am the anarchist; I am the bomb.

I am the scars on the skin of the buffalo.
I am the face in the ice on the pond.

I am the serpent, the great ouroboros.

I am the virgin who died on the altar.
I am the savior who died on the cross.
I am the whore who died in the alley.
I am the ascetic who died in the wilderness.
I am the fire that never will die.
Posted 11/30/10
The title of this poem is based on the famous quote from the Zen Buddhist philosopher Linji Yixuan: "If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him." This is supposed to refer to learning not to depend on dogma, mentors, or the wisdom of others, but to cultivate one's own insight.
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