Why do Buddhas never joke?

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Viach
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Why do Buddhas never joke?

Post by Viach » Fri Jul 06, 2018 1:09 pm

Why do Buddhas never joke?

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Queequeg
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Re: Why do Buddhas never joke?

Post by Queequeg » Fri Jul 06, 2018 2:33 pm

Cuz life ain't no joke.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

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KRB80
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Re: Why do Buddhas never joke?

Post by KRB80 » Fri Jul 06, 2018 2:42 pm

Huh? Buddha is the ultimate trickster.
We live in illusion and the appearance of things. There is a reality. We are that reality. When you understand this, you see that you are nothing, and being nothing, you are everything. That is all. - Kalu Rinpoche

Sentient Light
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Re: Why do Buddhas never joke?

Post by Sentient Light » Fri Jul 06, 2018 3:06 pm

I think it takes a long time being steeped in the language style of the sutras before you can key in on the jokes and humor. Sometimes it's obvious (see my post in the laughing buddha thread), but much of the time, it can be quite subtle.

The opening of the Surangama Sutra is frigging hilarious. The Vimalakirti Sutra was renowned for its humor, but I found it very dry on my first reading. On my second, months later, I was cracking up in fits and giggles.

A lot of the times I laugh, it's when a disciple or audience member is trying to reiterate the Buddha's words, and his response is, "What? No, that is not what I meant when I said __. Where did you get that from? [proceeds to logically tear apart audience member's misinterpretation]"
:buddha1: Nam mô A di đà Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Quan Thế Âm Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Đại Thế Chi Bồ Tát :bow:

:buddha1: Nam mô Bổn sư Thích ca mâu ni Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Di lặc Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Địa tạng vương Bồ tát :bow:

Crazywisdom
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Re: Why do Buddhas never joke?

Post by Crazywisdom » Fri Jul 06, 2018 6:26 pm

Lamas are often really funny.
Vajra Killah Killallaya

The criticisms of others are like wrathful mantras. Fast purification. Welcome it. -can’t remember who

Miroku
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Re: Why do Buddhas never joke?

Post by Miroku » Fri Jul 06, 2018 6:48 pm

Thus have I heard.

Once the Blessed One, the Tatagatha was dwelling at Vulture's Peak when he has made an amazing joke about jew, muslim and a catholic walking into a bar. I can't really tell you it would not be funny without the context.

Sarva mangalam
Child, if you are not hypocritical and out of control, that is conduct.
~ Padampa Sangye

You say such clever things to people, but you do not apply them to yourself.
The faults within you are the ones to be exposed.
~ Padampa Sangye

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egon
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Re: Why do Buddhas never joke?

Post by egon » Fri Jul 06, 2018 8:59 pm

Miroku wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 6:48 pm
Thus have I heard.

Once the Blessed One, the Tatagatha was dwelling at Vulture's Peak when he has made an amazing joke about jew, muslim and a catholic walking into a bar. I can't really tell you it would not be funny without the context.

Sarva mangalam
:rolling:

Marc
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Re: Why do Buddhas never joke?

Post by Marc » Fri Jul 06, 2018 11:44 pm

You may want to check your initial assumption ;)

"The Buddha Smiles: Humor in the Pali Canon" by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
https://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/Wri ... 151017.pdf

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Re: Why do Buddhas never joke?

Post by Ayu » Sat Jul 07, 2018 12:22 am

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Re: Why do Buddhas never joke?

Post by Miroku » Sat Jul 07, 2018 12:55 am

Marc wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 11:44 pm
You may want to check your initial assumption ;)

"The Buddha Smiles: Humor in the Pali Canon" by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
https://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/Wri ... 151017.pdf
Great book! Thanks!
Child, if you are not hypocritical and out of control, that is conduct.
~ Padampa Sangye

You say such clever things to people, but you do not apply them to yourself.
The faults within you are the ones to be exposed.
~ Padampa Sangye

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Re: Why do Buddhas never joke?

Post by Marc » Sat Jul 07, 2018 10:38 am

Miroku wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 12:55 am
Great book! Thanks!
:namaste:

Norden
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Re: Why do Buddhas never joke?

Post by Norden » Sat Jul 07, 2018 10:50 am

Because IMO nothing is funny. You can joke if you have greed, hatred and delusions. People make a joke to have fun, it has no non-greed quality. Buddha jokes recorded in canon I think is just to fit the audience. If it's beneficial and useful, it can be seen as a mean to direct them to better path or realization.

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Re: Why do Buddhas never joke?

Post by Miroku » Sat Jul 07, 2018 6:27 pm

Norden wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 10:50 am
Because IMO nothing is funny. You can joke if you have greed, hatred and delusions. People make a joke to have fun, it has no non-greed quality. Buddha jokes recorded in canon I think is just to fit the audience. If it's beneficial and useful, it can be seen as a mean to direct them to better path or realization.
I am pretty sure that everything is funny. Jokes and sense of humour are important. It is one of the best ways to heal and quite honestly I know nothing better than laughing at how crazy samsara is.
Child, if you are not hypocritical and out of control, that is conduct.
~ Padampa Sangye

You say such clever things to people, but you do not apply them to yourself.
The faults within you are the ones to be exposed.
~ Padampa Sangye

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Re: Why do Buddhas never joke?

Post by Jesse » Sat Jul 07, 2018 11:46 pm

I honestly don't think there's a much better antidote for sadness, or being overly serious than to just laugh.

It might just be my impression of enlightened beings, but I tend to view them as typically joyful, compassionate, and quick to joke, and laugh as to ease the suffering of others.
The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.
-Henry David Thoreau

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Re: Why do Buddhas never joke?

Post by Virgo » Sun Jul 08, 2018 1:44 am

Viach wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 1:09 pm
Why do Buddhas never joke?
Samsara.

Kevin...
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Re: Why do Buddhas never joke?

Post by Yuren » Wed Jul 11, 2018 2:37 pm

Viach wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 1:09 pm
Why do Buddhas never joke?
Good question!

What you're asking reminds me of Nietzsche:
And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh.
and
... when I saw my devil I found him serious, thorough, profound, and solemn: it was the spirit of gravity - through him all things fall.
Both quotations are from his Thus Spoke Zarathustra. - What he saw in a purely serious attitude lacking humor a problematic and life-denying spirit, while laughter was for him a "YES!" to life, which he saw as the ideal, almost divine stance. Searching into this further I can ask myself: Have I ever laughed while reading Buddhist literature? I guess that would be the question. I think some of Nichiren's writings made me laugh - he was "shitposting" (to use a 4chan term) before it was cool. Oh, and Joshu! The sayings of Joshu are perhaps the best example of Buddhist humor.
A monk asked, "To be holy-what is it like?"
Joshu said, "To dump a mountain of shit on the clean plain."
The monk said, "Master, make this clear for me. "
Joshu said, "Stop f*cking with my head."

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Re: Why do Buddhas never joke?

Post by Drenpa » Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:34 pm

Viach wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 1:09 pm
Why do Buddhas never joke?
Just because there aren't any overt thigh-slappers in the Pali Cannon, why make the sweeping assumption that Nirmankaya Buddhas, don't enjoy and even employ humor?

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Queequeg
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Re: Why do Buddhas never joke?

Post by Queequeg » Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:41 pm

Sentient Light wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 3:06 pm
I think it takes a long time being steeped in the language style of the sutras before you can key in on the jokes and humor. Sometimes it's obvious (see my post in the laughing buddha thread), but much of the time, it can be quite subtle.

The opening of the Surangama Sutra is frigging hilarious. The Vimalakirti Sutra was renowned for its humor, but I found it very dry on my first reading. On my second, months later, I was cracking up in fits and giggles.

A lot of the times I laugh, it's when a disciple or audience member is trying to reiterate the Buddha's words, and his response is, "What? No, that is not what I meant when I said __. Where did you get that from? [proceeds to logically tear apart audience member's misinterpretation]"
I do find humor in many instances, but then I wonder if that humor is intended. The Surangama - I am guessing you are referring to all those gods tripping over themselves to make a throne for the Buddha and then all of them getting to? Is that really humor or is that just a point about ego, the Buddha's charisma and ability to accommodate the good but egotistical intentions of his followers? Same with the Vimalakirtinirdesa. One can find humor in the stories of the sravakas and bodhisattvas being punked by Vimalakirti, or the Sariputra in drag episode, but were they humorous in their original context?

Brook Ziporyn writes on Tientai and he compares the structure of upaya as presented in the Lotus Sutra to the structure of a joke.

In a joke, you have a set up - which is generally not funny.

"A man walks into a bar."

Then the punch line -

"He said, 'Ouch.'"

The humor lies in the discrepancy between the set up, and the unexpected turn of the punch line. Here the humor is in the misdirection based on the two different meanings of the word, "bar." The set up somewhat relies on expectations of the listener who has likely heard other jokes that involve characters entering a drinking establishment in their set up.

There is nothing particularly humorous about a man walking into a metal pole. I suppose it could be made to be funny by giving it a slaps-stick gloss, but the humor is not in the basic event but rather in the manner of the performer. Again, some might find humor in the injury itself - or the comeuppance relating to the back story of the man. The humor though is something extrinsic to the collision between man and metal pole.

The Lotus Sutra explains how upaya have a similar structure. In the first half of that text, we are treated to a discussion of advanced beings talking shop about how they train people. Kind of like the documentary, "The Aristocrats" in which comedians talk about telling a standard joke that everyone has a version of.

In the Lotus Sutra, the Buddha opens by telling us he resorts to all kinds of devices and misdirection in order to teach us how to be enlightened. From the beginning we are let in on the process and we get to observe how its done (while its being done to us - I think there is a meta upaya in that text as well - another discussion). Basically, the Buddha tells us whatever is immediately expedient to get us to do things that will lead us to enlightenment. The punch line, so to speak, is that as we do what we do, we're never actually doing the things we think we are doing. Only the Buddha knows what's actually happening. We're often let in on what we are really doing after the fact - like a punch line - or quite often, we are never made aware of what we are really doing. The most basic explanation is the parable of the burning house - a father, to get his children out of a burning house, tells them there are toys outside (even though there actually aren't). Its not clear if the children ever realize they were lured out of a house on misleading premise because the father does later conjure toys to give them... but then we are left to wonder if the children are still in the dark about the real situation.

Another parable is the story of the rich man and his son - the rich man is searching for his long estranged son. He finds him and so sends his servants to fetch him. The son has no idea who the rich man is and thinks the servants are coming to arrest him and press him into labor. He freaks out. The rich man seeing the son's reaction orders his release. The rich man then contrives to offer the son a menial job cleaning toilets. The son who has long been destitute and has no self respect eagerly accepts the job because he doesn't think he deserves anything better. The rich man takes off his nice clothes, puts on rags and goes down to the latrines to work alongside his son. As the years go by, the rich man promotes his son, until many years later, the son is managing the rich man's whole estate. The son, have slowly been nurtured to a position of responsibility and self worth, feels comfortable coming and going as he pleases on the estate. He certainly doesn't feel like he is being pressed into labor but rather feels like this is where he belongs. Finally a day comes when the rich man gathers everyone and announces that he is actually the father of the man and that the man is fully entitled to the entire estate. As the reader knows, the son was entitled to the estate all along, from the beginning, even as he was scrubbing toilets. To the son, the revelation recasts his entire experience working for the man. He was not just working his way up the managerial ladder, but rather he now understands that he was being trained to accept the reality of his real identity all along.

"A poor man spends 20 years scrubbing toilets on an estate."
"He owned the joint all along."
Badum ching.

In each case, the Buddha is compared to a father who contrives a reality for his children in order to get them to do things that are good for them - escaping a burning house, accepting wealth - while the children think they are doing something entirely different - seeking toys, moving on up in the world like a middle management achiever.

Reading the Lotus Sutra is like watching a comedian work, observing the tricks of the trade, so to speak, as opposed to just naively being entertained. Alternatively, its like watching a magician do his magic from behind the curtain instead of from the audience.

Perhaps the humor we see is something along the lines of the experience of awakening - going from a limited perspective to a more comprehensive one that casts our previous perspective in a humorous way. "And to think, I spent all those years on the cushion! Ha!"
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

ford_truckin
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Re: Why do Buddhas never joke?

Post by ford_truckin » Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:32 pm

Viach wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 1:09 pm
Why do Buddhas never joke?
They are busy trying to save people from samsara.

Viach
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Re: Why do Buddhas never joke?

Post by Viach » Thu Jul 12, 2018 2:18 pm

Humor - a purely situational case, i.e. which strongly depends on the place, time and circumstances. Therefore it is quite possible people laughed over some of Buddha's utterances in the times of the Buddha Shakyamuni (Nirmanakaya)(it seems that there can not be any humor from buddhas of the level of Sambhogakaya and Dharmakaya in principle). I suspect that written sources with any samples of humor (not only Buddhist) of this area and 2500 years ago have simply not survived. Therefore, judging his humor is impossible in principle.

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