“If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him”

Kumare

 Reference: The 12 Aspects of Mindfulness

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KUMARE: The True Story of a False Prophet

This movie documents an enlightening experiment in line of “If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him!” It highlights the occurrence of conditioning in a teacher-student relationship. Vikram lost some disciples when he revealed the experiment, fortunately most of those he “taught” stayed in touch with him.

Even though Vikram is faking a wise guru and being upfront about it, he is providing an environment that people believe to be safe. In this environment people feel encouraged to go beyond the beliefs that surround them. They learn to look for themselves. This experience is very exhilarating for someone who has been cowed down by beliefs surrounding him.

“Looking for oneself”  is the key to the enlightenment process. This process has a name. It is called mindfulness. This mindfulness must extend even to one’s relationship with one’s guru, teacher, or trusted friend. But most disciples are prone to becoming dependent on their guru.

The topic “Learning versus Conditioning” is ripe for discussion. Actual learning implies the ability to assess situations and to resolve them with the know-how provided. Conditioning comes into play when one starts to use the “source,” or purveyor, of the know-how as a crutch.

When know-how works, but a person does not fully understand why it works, he starts to blindly follow the source, or purveyor, of that know-how. This is a form of conditioning.

It is important to understand that the knowledge, and the ability to use that knowledge, is what produces the results. One has acquired that knowledge by one’s effort. That knowledge is more important than any “source” of knowledge.

Should one implicitly believe the entity, which made it possible for one to look? Should a disciple believe in the guru implicitly? Should a Buddhist believe in Buddha implicitly? Should a Scientologist believe in L. Ron Hubbard implicitly?

There is a Buddhist saying, “If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him!” Why?

Because one should not use the Buddha as a crutch. There is a great danger in implicitly trusting the entity that taught you. Your belief can be manipulated very easily. Mindfulness is bypassed when one believes blindly.

We have seen this in the history of religions. We see that happening today in the religious conflict raging in the Middle East. We see that happening in Scientology.

Buddha taught mindfulness. He put mindfulness way above any blind belief or trust.

Here is Colbert Report on Vikram Gandhi of Kumare.

Vikram Gandhi – The Colbert Report

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Further references: KHTK Mindfulness

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Comments

  • Chris Thompson  On August 1, 2014 at 10:55 PM

    I can barely imagine the cognitive dissonance that Vikram was feeling when he was supposed to “unveil” himself. On a positive note, 10 of 14 disciples received his unveiling well and learned. I think this was an excellent result and spoke highly of his students. 4 of the 10 had bruised egos. I wonder if they have resolved this, reconciled this to themself.

    • vinaire  On August 2, 2014 at 5:39 AM

      Well, those people are still out there. They are upset because they think they were taken for a ride. But as long as one lacks trust in oneself, one will always be taken for a ride.

      An interesting question arises here, “Is it bad to trust another? Does it make one vulnerable?” The answer is, “Of course, trust in others make one vulnerable, but trust is not bad. The world cannot operate without trust. What puts one at a disadvantage is overtrust that comes from a lack of mindfulness.”

  • Chris Thompson  On August 1, 2014 at 10:59 PM

    My adrenalin is still making my heart thump after watching this movie. I felt for each character in this story. Elegantly composed and very brave.

    • vinaire  On August 2, 2014 at 5:41 AM

      Yes, it is a great documentary. Alanzo introduced it to me on Marty’s blog.

      • Chris Thompson  On August 2, 2014 at 11:18 AM

        “Alanzo introduced it to me on Marty’s blog.”

        Of course! Alanzo is amazing. I passed it over to Geir’s with links to the movie and to your article. Remember Geir’s question whether it is moral to wreck another’s happiness with truth? This reminds me of that thread. For me, this movie and experiment is exciting and fresh. Like the important hackers, Snowden, Assange, etc., This guy has hacked life in a poignant and important way. May we all change because of it.

  • vinaire  On August 2, 2014 at 6:54 AM

    I have added the following to the OP:

    The topic “Learning versus Conditioning” is ripe for discussion. Actual learning implies the ability to assess situations and to resolve them with the knowhow provided. Conditioning comes into play when one starts to use the “source” of the knowhow as a crutch.

    One does not fully understand why a knowhow works. So, one starts to blindly follow any instructions coming from the source of that knowhow. This is a form of conditioning.

    It is important to understand that it is the knowledge, and the ability to use that knowledge, which produces the results. One has acquired that knowledge by one’s effort. That knowledge is more important than any “source” of knowledge.

    I have also corrected some typos.

    • Chris Thompson  On August 2, 2014 at 11:29 AM

      Which is a subset of the other?

      • vinaire  On August 2, 2014 at 7:34 PM

        I don’t understand your question.

        • Chris Thompson  On August 3, 2014 at 12:24 PM

          Sorry. I meant that I see conditioning and learning in the same vein, is one the subset of the other?

        • vinaire  On August 3, 2014 at 1:11 PM

          I see conditioning as a black box inserted in the circuits of the mind. One doesn’t know what is inside that black box. There are limited number of inputs and outputs. The operation of the black box cannot be changed.

          Normal learning results in a circuit with known components that are well defined and understood. These components can be changed around as needed.

        • Chris Thompson  On August 3, 2014 at 1:19 PM

          Interesting analogy. I will think about that one.

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