The Buddha displaying sense of humor

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
dharmacorps
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Re: The Buddha displaying sense of humor

Post by dharmacorps » Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:22 pm

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote a book called "The Buddha Smiles" which includes humorous parts of the Canon, and explanations of the Buddha's humor. Unfortunately for us, the Buddha's sense of humor was often in word-play, which you have to have a fairly advanced understanding of Pali to even pick up on.

My favorite Buddha zinger, The Magandiya Sutta: “But those who grasped after marks and philosophical views, they wander about in the world annoying people.”

I also liked that the Buddha called one of the first disciples, named "Anya", "Anya Kandanya" which means "Anya understands", because while hearing the fire sermon, Anya became enlightened, and his first words were "Kandanya" (I understand). Nothing outrageous humor-wise, but cute.

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mikenz66
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Re: The Buddha displaying sense of humor

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Feb 24, 2018 11:47 pm

Hi dharmacorps.
dharmacorps wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:22 pm
I also liked that the Buddha called one of the first disciples, named "Anya", "Anya Kandanya" which means "Anya understands", because while hearing the fire sermon, Anya became enlightened, and his first words were "Kandanya" (I understand). Nothing outrageous humor-wise, but cute.
There is some nice wordplay there, in fact, more than I can decipher from my meagure knowledge of Pali. However, I think you mean the Dhamma­cakka­ppavattana Sutta: https://suttacentral.net/sn56.11
This is what the Blessed One said. Elated, the bhikkhus of the group of five delighted in the Blessed One’s statement. And while this discourse was being spoken, there arose in the Venerable Kondañña the dust-free, stainless vision of the Dhamma: “Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation.”
...
Then the Blessed One uttered this inspired utterance: “Koṇḍañña has indeed understood! Koṇḍañña has indeed understood!” In this way the Venerable Koṇḍañña acquired the name “Añña Koṇḍañña—Koṇḍañña Who Has Understood.”
Also, I think you also have the words mixed up, since aññā refers to understanding:
Aññā (f.) [Sk. ājñā, = ā + jñā, cp. ājānāti] knowledge, recognition, perfect knowledge, philosophic insight, knowledge par excellence...
http://dsalsrv02.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/p ... 1:306.pali
:heart:
Mike

thepea
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Re: The Buddha displaying sense of humor

Post by thepea » Mon Feb 26, 2018 2:04 am

binocular wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 1:07 pm
thepea wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 12:19 pm
Isn’t the goal to be joyful and happy?
That's not the same as humor.

Which brings us back to the original point: What is it about some passages from the suttas that they seem humorous to some people?
I just don’t understand why anyone would think that the enlightened ones would not have the ability to recognize humor.
If a master is able to see their students suffering and help them to navigate this why would they not be able to see the same humor their students find funny.

binocular
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Re: The Buddha displaying sense of humor

Post by binocular » Mon Feb 26, 2018 1:44 pm

thepea wrote:
Mon Feb 26, 2018 2:04 am
binocular wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 1:07 pm
thepea wrote:
Thu Feb 22, 2018 12:19 pm
Isn’t the goal to be joyful and happy?
That's not the same as humor.

Which brings us back to the original point: What is it about some passages from the suttas that they seem humorous to some people?
I just don’t understand why anyone would think that the enlightened ones would not have the ability to recognize humor.
If a master is able to see their students suffering and help them to navigate this why would they not be able to see the same humor their students find funny.
??
It's not about the ability to recognize humor -- where did you get that??

It's that humor is something quite different than joy or happiness. A miserable, unhappy person can still recognize humor, and laugh (this is how there are so many depressed comedians). The highly advanced possibly have no need for humor or see it as detrimental.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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cappuccino
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Re: The Buddha displaying sense of humor

Post by cappuccino » Mon Feb 26, 2018 7:04 pm

“Bhikkhus, in the Vinaya of the noble ones, singing is wailing, dancing is madness, and laughing excessively, displaying one’s teeth, is infantile. Therefore, bhikkhus, demolish the bridge that leads to singing, demolish the bridge that leads to dancing, and when rejoicing in the Dhamma you may simply show a smile.”
Ruṇṇa Sutta

thepea
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Re: The Buddha displaying sense of humor

Post by thepea » Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:24 pm

binocular wrote:
Mon Feb 26, 2018 1:44 pm
??
It's not about the ability to recognize humor -- where did you get that??

It's that humor is something quite different than joy or happiness. A miserable, unhappy person can still recognize humor, and laugh (this is how there are so many depressed comedians). The highly advanced possibly have no need for humor or see it as detrimental.
Ok I guess from the title of the thread I assumed the general argument was the Buddha did not have a sense of humour.
Comedians can be depressed because of the stress of always feeling like your on or have to be funny.
Acting like a class clown i agree is detrimental to practice but seeing humour in day to day activities is joyful and uplifting this is necessary trait for teachers when working with new meditators. If your students get depressed a good teacher can be uplifting. He/ she doesn’t have to come off as a comedian but they can use humour to lift spirits occasionally.

binocular
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Re: The Buddha displaying sense of humor

Post by binocular » Tue Feb 27, 2018 4:45 pm

thepea wrote:
Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:24 pm
seeing humour in day to day activities is joyful and uplifting this is necessary trait for teachers when working with new meditators. If your students get depressed a good teacher can be uplifting. He/ she doesn’t have to come off as a comedian but they can use humour to lift spirits occasionally.
This doesn't seem right to me. In my experience, it is not possible to actually lift one's spirit with humor. Humor can indeed distract one from some trouble one is otherwise thinking about; but it's still just a distraction, and afterwards, one has as much trouble as one had before, if not more, but less time.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

J.Lee.Nelson
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Re: The Buddha displaying sense of humor

Post by J.Lee.Nelson » Tue Feb 27, 2018 6:24 pm

binocular wrote:
Tue Feb 27, 2018 4:45 pm
thepea wrote:
Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:24 pm
seeing humour in day to day activities is joyful and uplifting this is necessary trait for teachers when working with new meditators. If your students get depressed a good teacher can be uplifting. He/ she doesn’t have to come off as a comedian but they can use humour to lift spirits occasionally.
This doesn't seem right to me. In my experience, it is not possible to actually lift one's spirit with humor. Humor can indeed distract one from some trouble one is otherwise thinking about; but it's still just a distraction, and afterwards, one has as much trouble as one had before, if not more, but less time.
Then I dare say you've never been in one of the S.N. Goenka 10-day Vipassana retreats, have you? The way feeling of the dhamma hall becomes almost palpably lighter, more hopeful, more energized when he makes his jokes during the dhamma talks! Some of my best meditations were in the last 45-minute meditation after the dhamma talks because the burdens on my heart were relieved through the skillful means of humor—in particular conceits of "oh, I'm having such a hard time, harder than anyone else". When he tells us what we're going through, poking fun at us, and we're all laughing, the collective laughter makes us realize we're not that special or unusually impaired. It could just be a cultural thing, though.

thepea
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Re: The Buddha displaying sense of humor

Post by thepea » Wed Feb 28, 2018 7:34 am

binocular wrote:
Tue Feb 27, 2018 4:45 pm
This doesn't seem right to me. In my experience, it is not possible to actually lift one's spirit with humor. Humor can indeed distract one from some trouble one is otherwise thinking about; but it's still just a distraction, and afterwards, one has as much trouble as one had before, if not more, but less time.
You are correct in that it is a temporary relief and is not a cure. But as J. Lee Nelson mentions on retreat working as Buddha taught one can bring up some heavy kamma. Ideally the meditator observes this with calm and equiminity but as we all know this isnt usually the case. A lot of the time people stop observing calmly and they panic and start to doubt that this is good for them or if there is something wrong with them. The thought comes “this is not for me, I should stop this and run away”, a good teacher knows that their student upon embarking on this path will be experiencing this and can use humor to lighten the mood or temporarily lift the spirits of those who may be thinking of quitting the path, if some discourses from Buddha seem humorous they probably were and I imagine him laughing while giving them.
When working with more experienced meditators this is not necessary and I would imagine a teacher taking a more serious attitude and directing students to deeper states and not distracting them with humour. But no matter how experienced I image a teacher could use humour as necessary to help students as they see fit.

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