Is it possible to live your life not bound to anything?

Betsy Chasse on her latest movie, Killing Buddha
Author: Betsy Chasse

Embrace nothing. If you meet the Buddha, kill the Buddha … Only live your life as it is, not bound to anything.” Linji — 9th century founder of the school of Chan Buddhism

Is it possible to live your life not bound to anything? What about your kids, your family? Ok, maybe some of us could live not bound to our families, at least not all the time. What about your community? What does that mean? These are the questions I asked myself upon reading this quote several years ago.

There is a shorter, more blunt version of this quote from Linji as well: “If you meet the Buddha along the road, kill him or you’ll follow him the rest of your life.”

What does it mean if you meet the Buddha? It’s not likely I’m going to meet Buddha any time soon. Ahh, it’s a metaphor, silly! Of course it’s all symbolism. The road is our journey and the Buddha equals knowledge — or at least thinking you know. The lesson here, as I have read it, is that once we “think” we have the answers — chances are something is going to come along to show us we don’t. Boy, did that something come along. It has actually come along a few times. This time, I listened.

The idea of attachment has always befuddled me. I had to work hard to separate the things I should be attached to, like my kids, from the “things” (People, places, events) I have become attached to that I don’t need to be attached to. Huh?

Yeah, it’s complicated. But after you’ve been here a while, it actually becomes easier to see which is which.

The biggest attachments I have are my beliefs about what I know, or my “Buddhas”. As I began to examine what I thought I knew, I realized that in fact they were just beliefs, beliefs about me, beliefs about the world, beliefs about what is right and what is wrong. That’s it, just beliefs, based on my perception of the reality in which I lived, perceptions, meanings, beliefs I had picked up along the road of my life. If I truly wanted to expand my perception, if I truly wanted to change my reality, I needed to be able to see a new one. I needed to “kill my Buddhas.”

As I started to “kill the Buddhas”, I became less rigid in the right and wrong, and guess what? My reality changed and as my reality changed I saw that I could live my life not bound to anything, because being bound left me stuck in the past, the regret and the hurt of what could have been. I couldn’t even see what could be living in the prison of my own creation.

This is what my next film is about. It’s about “killing the Buddhas” that hold us in our past. It’s funny, it’s a narrative — I promise — no talking heads lecturing us about what we should do. But it will have some great minds playing along in the film — a little merging of what’s “real” and what’s “reel”. My hope is that it will reach beyond the “choir,” it will reach out beyond the people who, maybe, already know this. It is my humble “belief” that in order to have a true shift of consciousness we must first be willing to let go of our righteousness about our beliefs. Many of you reading this may have already figured this out, but I think you’ll enjoy the reminder.

I invite you to join me along the journey of making the film. I’ve created a way for you to be there virtually, be involved in the process, or you can be in the film. Lots of ways to join in. If you’d like to know more visit: www.killingbuddhathemovie.com.