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Q245. How should I accept the part of the Bible, Matthew 10:37 that says, “Those who love their father or mother more than me are not fit to be my disciples.”?

A. Zen has a similar saying, ‘Kill Buddha and your parents if you are to see your true-self’. Even Buddha, while alive, would say to his disciples, “If you see me, kill me.” Here, killing Buddha and your parents means removing the illusions of them and not actually killing Buddha and your real parents. Logically speaking, how would it be possible to kill the historical Buddha who passed away about 2500 years ago? The reason why masters would use such a radical expression is that the illusions of Buddha and your parents are among the illusions that are the most difficult to remove.

Likewise, in order to see God, you have to remove all illusions, among which those of God and your parents die hardest. So, the above scripture can be interpreted: ‘Those who love the illusions of their parents without trying to see their true-self are not fit to be my disciples. Those who can’t remove the illusions of their parents can’t see God, the true-self.’


Student: “When we kill our parents, we can repent of our sin of killing them before Buddha. However, where can we repent of our sin when we kill Buddha or God?”

Master: “When you come into your kingdom after a successful rebellion, there is no one who can judge you.”


©Boo Ahm


All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway