Topic : Iliyan Kuzmanov and his personal Buddha
I had the incredible opportunity of meeting with my excellent friend Iliyan Kuzmanov personally when he was doing the Belgrade book tours.
In this Covid time, most of us like to keep ourselves confined to our homes. But not Iliyan Kuzmanov. He was traveling in Belgrade, signing his book during his book tour and release. And can you believe it was not for the money?
All the money earned from the book sales was going for a charitable cause. He was helping a Thailand NGO to raise funds for a coffee roastery. And part of the money would go to the same NGO, which they would utilize in cleaning the ocean and the beaches. So, imagine his motivation and dedication.
The first question that comes to our mind is, “Who is my friend Iliyan Kuzmanov”? Well, he is a writer, traveler, and businessman. He is also a journalist, explorer, social entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He was born and educated in Pazardzhik, Bulgaria. He published a book quite recently. The name is ” If You Meet Buddha, Kill Him.”
Here Iliyan writes about his extended travels to south-east Asia and his road to happiness and fulfillment on a personal level. The title of the book is misleading, which we will discuss at a later stage. His search for internal freedom began a while back. Animals talking to him, nature vibrating, etc., interested him.
Kuzmanov met the personal doctor of the Dalai lama..He studied the history of religions in Canada. Then he started working with communist people in his coffee shop. He visited many Buddhist temples in Thailand. Kuzmanov said he borrowed the title of his book from Tarantino’s Kill Bill.
It was not a meant title. His title meant that we don’t have to listen to what people say but use our logic and thinking.
In the book, he has elaborated his in-depth understanding of Buddhism as he learned more through his travels. Money in the bank or your pockets is not the problem. Money in the mind is the problem.
You should have money, but do not get attached to it.That is the root of all problems because if the money’s gone, you will go crazy and not be able to bear it.
That is the root of the growth of attitude. Money brings fear to your mind. You think at the back of your mind that you might lose the money.
He also narrates in his book indirectly that he is against the sport of gambling. He has imbibed principles of Buddhism strongly in him. He is a devout Buddhist. He says that not only is he a vegetarian, he also cannot imagine living with someone who eats meat.
As i said earlier when Kuzmanov calls Buddha “my little buddha” why does he ask people to kill the Buddha if they see him on the roads. There is a deep spirituality behind this.
Thousands of years back, in the ninth century, a famous Chinese Buddhist monk had told all his disciples the same or similar thing. He asked them to kill Buddha if they found him on the road. Naturally, the question arises again, why ?.
Well, this comment purposely confuses people and is meant to shake their inner self and come out of the ordinary ways of thinking. Beyond this reason lies another purpose. It is intended to say that we should seek and look for the inner.
Buddha who resides within us, and we should not be attached to any external Buddha. This thought of killing Buddha removes from the person’s mind that enlightenment lies anywhere outside. It is not true. The real enlightenment rests within us and we need to find it through our lifestyles and meditation.
The statement also shows and highlights the huge power of violence, though it is on just an abstract level. It is said lots of inner violence fills up the Buddhist thoughts, their doctrine, and also their Actions.
It tries to explain the religious treatment of violence, which we need to shun. But the people don’t acknowledge it or even understand it. This was probably also the similar explanation which Iliyan Kuzmanov wanted to convey.
After all, it is a book on spirituality, and it depends on us how we individually interpret it.
One of the many campaigns of Iliyan in his country Bulgaria was to promote vaccination. The vaccination rate was the lowest in the EU. Iliyan is the only writer standing apart, like a Don Quixote of the modern era, who bravely stands with the aggressive vaccination campaign.
Moreover, he made a tour around Bulgaria neighbors to speak about the importance of freedom and friendship. A few years back, he was helping a person to find a cure for the disease.
He met the best doctors to get all that was needed. This was the moment Iliyan realized so many things and found the true purpose in life, and that was to help people. He quit all his businesses to put some meaning behind what he was doing in life.
From the life of Kuzmanov, we see that even with modest means, significant work is possible. He donated all he earned towards charity. He traveled places, made friends with people, taught them about vaccination. He was also a devout Buddhist and wrote a book on spirituality to deliver a message to the world.
Other than this, he was engaged in many activities which helped people. We see that we, as common men, can do a lot of good for the world if we have a strong will. This is what Kuzmanov teaches us through his various activities.