Laughter and the Buddha

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Laughter and the Buddha

Postby plwk » Sun Feb 20, 2011 3:07 pm

Did the Buddha laugh?
How is laughter understood in the Dharma?

Thoughts? :namaste:
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Re: Laughter and the Buddha

Postby ground » Sun Feb 20, 2011 3:53 pm

plwk wrote:Did the Buddha laugh?

I cannot recall a sutra or sutta where there is laughter of the Buddha.

plwk wrote:How is laughter understood in the Dharma?

Thoughts? :namaste:


I recall reading stories (I guess Zen stories) about so called "realizations" which want to have it that some burst out laughing upon enlightenment. I think this is a deluded idea of enlightenment.

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Re: Laughter and the Buddha

Postby Nosta » Sun Feb 20, 2011 8:21 pm

There is a sentence said to be from Buddha, something like this "When you understand the meaning of life [or something like] you will tilt your head to the stars and laugh".

Thats fake. Thats not from Buddha and i am glad thats so.

Buddha was happy, but in a different manner. He was very, very peaceful, calm and filled with wisdow. Laughing is just a disturbing thing when you one is learning the path, and a unnecessary one, unless you have a specific objective that may conduct someone [throught laugh] to the Path of Liberation.

I am not saying that i dont laugh, just explaining thats not a Buddha thing i think. But i may be wrong!

Also, Buddha may not laugh but he smile. In fact, having a subtle smile may be important to give a peaceful image to his disciples.

Just my humble opinion.
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Re: Laughter and the Buddha

Postby Rael » Sun Feb 20, 2011 8:26 pm

i dunno...all the people i meet who i think are highly realised laugh a lot...more than most...

His holiness laughs a lot....

this guy who was really into Raja Yoga and did things to me...laughed a lot....i mean ..a lot....

i bet the Buddha laughed a lot....

rinpoches laugh a lot...


i laugh a lot...mostly at myself..... :oops:
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Re: Laughter and the Buddha

Postby Anders » Sun Feb 20, 2011 8:31 pm

I don't recall any records of him laughing. The impression you get from the records of his countenance is that of a composed and calm demeanour that wasn't really given to a big laugh. He smiled, and when he did students would usually pick up on it and ask of the significance of it.

Nagarjuna did however devote a small essay to describe how when the Buddha smiled, he smiled with his whole body.

I can sort of see it. One of the most impressive monks I ever met was incredibly calm and composed, but I don't recall him really laughing. Maybe a slight one, but it was really more of a broad smile. He was still very warm, gentle and at ease to be around though. And frankly struck me as more happy than most anyone I've met who laughed a lot.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra
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Re: Laughter and the Buddha

Postby ground » Mon Feb 21, 2011 6:35 am

Laughter is excitement and agitation. I cannot see how this could be in line with enlightenment. I cannot even see who this could be in line with mindfulness.

"laughing about" stands for "not taking seriously". How could anything not be taken seriously? Error, truth, delusion, fault, clear knowing, not-knowing, mistakes ... what is there that cannot be taken seriously?


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Re: Laughter and the Buddha

Postby conebeckham » Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:07 pm

A sense of humor is essential on the path.

But there are different kinds of laughter, eh?
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Re: Laughter and the Buddha

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:20 pm

The Rinpoche's I've met always seem to laugh a lot. They seem so full of happiness and joy. Interesting...

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Re: Laughter and the Buddha

Postby Inge » Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:34 pm

I just read, in Torch of Certainty I think, that one should never display ones sad or happy states.
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Re: Laughter and the Buddha

Postby Anders » Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:23 am

TMingyur wrote:Laughter is excitement and agitation. I cannot see how this could be in line with enlightenment. I cannot even see who this could be in line with mindfulness.

"laughing about" stands for "not taking seriously". How could anything not be taken seriously? Error, truth, delusion, fault, clear knowing, not-knowing, mistakes ... what is there that cannot be taken seriously?


Kind regards


Since everything is but an illusion,
Perfect in being what it is,
Having nothing to do with good or bad,
Acceptance or rejection,
One might as well burst out laughing!

- Longchen Rabjam (1308-1363)
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra
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Re: Laughter and the Buddha

Postby Anders » Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:32 am

fwiw, I don't think laughter or not necessarily represents depth of practise, but it may represent refinement of the personality. For example, there are plenty of examples of arhats who had quite annoying character traits and really were quite unrefined, even gross, in their dealings with other people. This in no way reflected their state of liberation though. It was just a product of ingrained personality traits, itself I imagine a product of karma.

Whereas the more refined arhats had more pleasing and composed manners. Exemplified of course by the arhat di tutti arhats, Shakyamuni whose mannerisms were so refined and composed he was not even given to laughter. I suppose then at some point down the Bodhisattva path, this trait might come along as well. Sadly, I don't recall mention in the dhasabhumika sutra of what bhumi one becomes too refined for laughter at. :shrug: :tongue: And even so, if Bodhisattvas appear in a time and place where laughter is a better way of responding to beings, I am sure they will do so. Shakyamuni lived in a society where this was seen as a kind of spiritual excess, a lack of restraint.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra
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Re: Laughter and the Buddha

Postby Anders » Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:37 am

Ngawang Drolma wrote:The Rinpoche's I've met always seem to laugh a lot. They seem so full of happiness and joy.


Are the two necessarily linked? Like the monk I mentioned above that I don't really recall laughing much, if at all. But he was as full of happiness as anyone I've seen. Perhaps not so much full of joy as he was full of peacefulness though.

This absence of laughter doesn't necessarily mean serious or stern. He certainly struck me as neither. Just very peaceful and calm. Nevertheless, a very radiant happiness.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra
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Re: Laughter and the Buddha

Postby Astus » Tue Feb 22, 2011 1:15 pm

One of the rootless functional consciousnesses (ahetukakiriya-cittani) in Abhidhamma is the smile-producing consciousness (hasituppadacitta) that exists only for arahants (incl. buddhas and paccekabuddhas). Its function is to cause arahants to smile about sense-sphere phenomena. (A comprehensive manual of Abhidhamma, p. 45)
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Laughter and the Buddha

Postby muni » Tue Feb 22, 2011 2:37 pm

I think I should burst in laughter when realizing all exhausting opinions, arguments, ideas I am making out of nothing or better said out of their absence (intrinsic).
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Re: Laughter and the Buddha

Postby ground » Wed Feb 23, 2011 3:40 am

Anders Honore wrote:
TMingyur wrote:Laughter is excitement and agitation. I cannot see how this could be in line with enlightenment. I cannot even see who this could be in line with mindfulness.

"laughing about" stands for "not taking seriously". How could anything not be taken seriously? Error, truth, delusion, fault, clear knowing, not-knowing, mistakes ... what is there that cannot be taken seriously?


Kind regards


Since everything is but an illusion,
Perfect in being what it is,
Having nothing to do with good or bad,
Acceptance or rejection,
One might as well burst out laughing!

- Longchen Rabjam (1308-1363)


This is not comprehensible for me and it appears as if an inherent contradiction.
Why is there this "burst out laughing"? Who is it who laughs? And about what is this laughter?

If there is no "I" who appropriates a discrepancy between illusion and non-illusion then why is there laughter?
But if there is an "I" who appropriates this discrepancy then this laughter is a manifestation of delusion.
Who could there be to compare illusion and non-illusion and burst out laughing about that?

Isn't this actually differentiating "good" and "bad" and "acceptance" and "rejection" in that it discerns that which is laughable?

Kind regards
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Re: Laughter and the Buddha

Postby ground » Wed Feb 23, 2011 3:51 am

That a Buddha bursts out laughing, this is impossible.

That someone on the path is experiencing a discrepancy in the same way she/he is experiencing the conceit "I" and "mine" and therefore is wavering which causes "bursting out laughing", that is possible.

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Re: Laughter and the Buddha

Postby Rael » Wed Feb 23, 2011 7:49 am

TMingyur wrote:That a Buddha bursts out laughing, this is impossible.



Kind regards

was that some sort of sarcasm?
seriously
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Re: Laughter and the Buddha

Postby ground » Wed Feb 23, 2011 7:53 am

Rael wrote:
TMingyur wrote:That a Buddha bursts out laughing, this is impossible.



Kind regards

was that some sort of sarcasm?
seriously


No an expression of my view.

Kind regards
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Re: Laughter and the Buddha

Postby KwanSeum » Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:37 am

Once apun a time I read about Christian scholars debating how many angles could dance on a pins head. Could this topic be the Buddhist equivalent?
'Accepting things as they are' and striving to improve them is living the Dharma while causing or accepting suffering because 'that's the way things are' is Nihilism.
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Re: Laughter and the Buddha

Postby ground » Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:41 am

KwanSeum wrote:Once apun a time I read about Christian scholars debating how many angles could dance on a pins head. Could this topic be the Buddhist equivalent?


Only if one does not accept scriptural evidence could one come to that conclusion.

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