I love Buddhist humor. I especially love the way many Buddhist meditation masters find humorous ways to show us how uptight we can get.
If you don’t have a sense of humor, you have no sense at all.
I think of that menu and its message from time to time, as I struggle to keep up my meditation practice. I ask myself, am I taking meditation too seriously?
In the words of the comic Swami Beyondananda
The world is in serious condition largely due to our conditioning to be serious.
And we do take ourselves way too seriously, right?
Yes, Buddha was a very pious man.
He had that kind of humor all the time, unsettling whatever place you had settled into as your comfort zone. It’s not a statement about eating meat or not eating meat. It’s about fixations.
One could say Buddhism addresses our fixations, front and center. And how we can find true relief from the narrow view of things we have when we are in their grip.
Some get offended at un-enlightened attempts at Buddhist humor. That it’s a sign of disrespect. But those who feel this way are often in the hold of a fixation playing itself out.
The idea isn’t to use Buddhist humor as a way of hiding, or to make light of a serious situation. Appropriate Buddhist humor comes from a place of courage, of taking
a risk, of being vulnerable, of stepping out of whatever conditioned pattern may be running.
On the fourth day of sesshin (intensive retreat) as we sat with our painful legs, aching backs, hopes and doubts about whether it was worth it, Suzuki Roshi began his talk by saying slowly:
The problems you are now experiencing”—we were sure he was going to say will go away— “will continue for the rest of your life.
The way he said it, we all laughed.
If we want world peace, we must let go of our attachments and truly live like nomads. That’s where I no mad at you, you no mad at me. That way, there will surely be no madness on the planet.
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