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If You Meet the Buddha on the Road

• Charles Goyette at

A koan is a Zen puzzle or riddle designed to shatter mechanical or habitual thought. For one unfamiliar with the form, a koan can appear to be nonsense, or a foolish paradox. It can provoke the same frustration with which a hard-bitten literalist might meet a poetic metaphor or a Christian parable. But at its best, a koan can trigger a sudden flash of clarity or insight: "Aha!"

One familiar Zen koan goes like this: "If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him."

It’s easy to imagine the confusion and discomfort such sharp and unexpected advice would cause the devoted Zen student for whom the Buddha is an object of veneration and a symbol of enlightenment. But perhaps the koan can be understood to warn against accepting something outside of yourself, a substitute that may appear to represent your enlightenment; a doctrine or dogma that cuts your journey short before your own awakening is attained.

As unlikely as it may seem, I find myself thinking about the "Buddha on the road" koan often these days as I talk about my new book Red and Blue and Broke All Over: Restoring America’s Free Economy. It’s really a book about freedom and the way freedom produces prosperity.

One would be obtuse indeed not to see that American freedom and prosperity are at an inflection point. It can be seen when the head of the FBI is asked in a congressional hearing if the president has the authority to order American citizens assassinated, even within our own country. To which the FBI director answered that he’d have to check.

He’d have to check?

We are headed in a whole new direction.

The inflection point can be noted in this moment of our monetary affairs. The trillions of dollars of reserves the Fed "printed" to buy worthless paper from the banking cartel and conjured up in QEII debt monetization, suddenly is no longer just quietly humming unnoticed on the Fed’s books. It is beginning to wobble, a dangerously unstable monetary mass, the breaching of its containment seen now in the rising prices of gasoline and groceries.

Seriously, the Fed thought it could create $2 trillion without consequences?

It is a point of no return.

What Can We Do?


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