The following first appeared in the private email list IVy-subscribers,
which was available to all those who subscribed to the
printed magazine, International Viewpoints.
If you see the Buddha...
28 April 1999
by Phil Spickler

To my dear fellow philosophers,

        I should like to extend a brief biographical note.  Raised as I was
in the slums of a poor but affluent neighborhood in the better part of town,
in a temple not far from the River of Detroit, I was instructed by my mother
and father, the high priests of said temple, in the manly art of philosophic
discourse.  One of the earliest teachings that was imparted to me was, "If
you see the Buddha, (no matter how he spells his name), kill him."  At the
time, I took this quite literally, and many was the evening, after consuming
my brown rice and vegetables, and after the clean-up and after the zazen,
that I'd be lying on my right side on my tiny mat, thinking over this
injunction about killing the Buddha if I were to see him.

       Well, this biographical note ends with this somewhat strange
anecdote.  One fine day, or perhaps evening, I actually did see the Buddha,
but instead of killing him, I simply asked him if he had a few minutes
between shows to chat about a few philosophic questions.  He was at the time
somewhat rushed and had to do at least one costume change and get ready for
an opening number, but you know the compassionate Buddha, so he gave me a few
minutes, and I threw before him all the doubts and confusions and
intellectual logics that had become the legacy of too much religion at an
early age.  Anyhow, he looked at me and listened with an ear that would be
the envy of any Scientology auditor, and an eye that not only looked at me
but looked through me -- it was wonderful.  As I ranted on I could feel my
own true insubstantiality, my unsolid uncorporeal self emerging from that
which felt so solid and so anchored before.  Finally I could hear my voice
speaking as though from a distance, but none of the words meant anything.

       Finally, the words stopped and all was very still, and the Buddha
said, "Well, Phil, I guess if we followed that old injunction about killing
the Buddha if you should ever see him, that's what we both would be doing
right now."  And then he said," Please take this with you -- Nirvana is
Samsara, Samsara is Nirvana."

       My love, respect and admiration for some of the worthies that grace
the Philosophers' Corner, namely Frank Gordon, Max Sandor, and Allen Hacker,
is so great that I must not turn its full beacon upon them, lest they vanish,
since they are unquestionably the cream at the top of the bottle.  I am
recently most priviledged to once again enjoy the fruits of their looking and
    Thanking you again for the great pleasure of this association, I remain
as ever and eternally yours, Phil, lover of  -osophy