Using Our Bible as a Roadmap

Got a few bucks for gas?

Got a few bucks for gas?

Seems we jumped the gun a bit. If you want to kill the Buddha, you’ve got to find him first. But where to look? According to that old Zen line, he’s out there somewhere on the road. So, starting this December, that’s where we’re headed.

For four months, KtBniks Peter Manseau and J. Sharlet will travel the land in search of Buddhas to kill and stories to tell. Killing the Buddha will continue right where it’s always been, but starting next month we’ll be broadcasting from across the country, bringing you weekly accounts of religion in the world and the world of religion, covering its orthodoxies and uncovering its oddities.

Okay, so maybe it’s not the best time to be traveling in America. The air is cold, business is bad, and the sheriff may look more unkindly on strangers than usual. (Not to mention the funny noises our ’91 Ford Tempo is making.) So why now? Because Nostradamus predicted it. Because it is foretold in the Book of Revelations. Because we read it in some tea leaves. Because we got a book contract.

That’s right, Killing the Buddha is joining the material world. Our road trip isn’t just because we love you (though we do); it’s also because we signed a piece of paper that says we’re going to make a book about you. Maybe not you in particular, but you generally — the godless looking for God, the godly who want a little “space” in their relationships with the divine; the lapsed, the former, the born-again (and-again-and-again) — everyone caught in the margins of faith.

Killing the Buddha: A Heretic’s Bible will be a bible for a people for whom heresy — beliefs and practices that stray from both authority and tradition — is the norm. We’re borrowing the name of the website, but our Heretic’s Bible will be a wholly original book, consisting of 13 new scriptures by writers noted for their unorthodox approaches to belief. Tying these 13 chapters together will be our dispatches from the road, American psalms showing scenes from the religious life of a people.

But this trip isn’t just a fact-finding mission — it’s also a Killing the Buddha tent revival tour. Along the way we’ll be stopping at bookstores, bars, and houses of the holy to preach our gospel. What that is, exactly, we’ll be making up as we go. But we promise it’ll involve reports from the road, greatest hits from the website, the occasional tune, and skeptics and true believers of all shapes and sizes — i.e., you. Consider yourself invited.

And feel free to invite us. Besides looking for Buddha, we want to meet as many of you as possible. After all, it’s your stories we want to tell. So if you’d like to plan a Killing the Buddha event on your block — or if you just think there’s a church / synagogue / mosque / temple / coven / commune / convent / street preacher / holy fool / vortex of power that’d make a great Killing the Buddha story — write now and we’ll put you on the itinerary.

Watch the site for upcoming KtB events.

Jeff Sharlet and Peter Manseau were co-founders of Killing the Buddha. Together they wrote Killing the Buddha: A Heretic's Bible.