You’re Doing What to the Buddha?

When you work on a publication whose title suggests the thought of doing violence to the benevolent founder of a major world religion, it isn’t uncommon to arouse well-meaning concern from time to time. Today we heard the following from “positive”:

i think what ur sa Revive Her Drive click for more ying is wrong and i may not be a buddhist but i agree with buddhas teaching on positive thinking and how what u think is what u r and thats the truth tho the universe has a way of dystney and u choose it with postitive or negitive thoughts and its true u think positive u attract positive things and vise vesa so dont slader buddha

Of course we have an answer that usually satisfies these folks. Read our Manifesto and you’ll see that we take the title from what’s actually a pious Buddhist story. The Buddha being killed is, in fact, not the Buddha himself (who, the theologically-challenged might interject, is already quite dead), but the ideas of Buddhas that we create in our minds and think we possess. So, though slandering the true, historical-and-metaphysical Buddha certainly isn’t beyond us, our title does quite the opposite.

Glad we’re ruffling some feathers, though. This is the third letter from an offended reader in two weeks. We’ve been debating, in each case, whether the offence was intended. In any case—Buddha killing ain’t pretty.

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Nathan Schneider is an editor of Killing the Buddha and writes about religion, reason, and violence for a variety of publications. He is also a founding editor of Waging Nonviolence. His first two books, published by University of California Press in 2013, are God in Proof: The Story of a Search from the Ancients to the Internet and Thank You, Anarchy: Notes from the Occupy Apocalypse. Visit his website at The Row Boat.