If you meet the Buddha on the street, kill him!

The British comedy troupe Monty Python was admired for its movie “The Life of Brian,” an iconoclastic biopic of Jesus that ends with a song and dance number on crucifixes. Alas, Monty Python is no more, but what if they had taken on other major religious figures? Some of you may remember Monty Python’s famous “Penguin on the Television Set” skit, which begins with the characters listening to a radio drama called “The Death of Mary, Queen of Scots.” I have adapted that radio drama into an iconoclastic take on the Zen Buddhist dictum: “If you meet the Buddha on the street, kill him!”

Announcer: And now the BBC is proud to present a brand new radio drama series, “The Death of Siddhartha Gotama, the Buddha.”

[music: fade up and out]
[sound effect: door opening and closing]

Voice One: [deep gruff man’s voice] You are Siddhartha Gotama, the Buddha?

Voice Two: [high reedy man’s voice] I am!

Voice One: Take that, Siddhartha Gotama, the Buddha!!

[sound effects for 60 sec.: sound of a heavy blow on the word “that,” followed by sound of violent blows, crunching noises, smashing noises, things being broken.]
[Throughout all this, we hear Voice Two grunting and screaming in pain.]

Announcer: We will return to the new radio drama production “The Death of Siddhartha Gotama, the Buddha,” in just a moment.

[music: fade up and out]
[sound effects: saw cutting, with other violent sounds as before, with Voice Two screaming.]
[Then: sudden silence.]

Voice One: I think he’s dead.


Voice Two: No, I’m not!

[sound effects: violent sounds and screaming start again, suddenly stop]

Voice Two: Hah! Missed me! It’s not so easy to stop the endless cycle of rebirth! Aauugh!!

[sound effects: violent sounds and screaming again]
[music: fade up over sound effects, then down and continue under Announcer…]

Announcer: That was episode one of “The Death of Siddhartha Gotama, the Buddha,” adapted for radio by Hugo Smof Gernsback. Tune in next week for the dramatic conclusion.