Stephen Mitchell on attachment

A couple of months after I began studying with my old Zen Master, he said to me, “You have three jobs here. Your first job is to kill Buddha.” I had read that phrase in the old Zen teachings, and I knew what it meant – to let go of any concepts of a separate, superior, enlightened being outside myself. Then he said, “Your second job is to kill your parents.”

“What does that mean?” I asked.

“As long as there is anything you want from your parents,” he said, “or anything about them that upsets you, they will be an obstacle in your mind. ‘Killing your parents’ means accepting them just as they are. They enter your mind like an image reflected on the water. No ripples.”

“It sounds very difficult.”

“Only if you think it is,” he said.

Then he said, “Your third job is to kill me.”

The Gospel According to Jesus – by Stephen Mitchell

Here was one of my “Aha” moments while reading this book. What a simple way to explain the attachment and letting go.

The part about killing Buddha…”the superior and enlightened being” that I was raised to see as God in an image of a me, is not outside of me, it is inside of me! I am a part of it, dare I say we are one?

My parents. Accepting them just as they are? Well, don’t we have to do that with everyone in our lives. By now we should know, we can not change a person, so either accept them or let them go, let it go.

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