Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
Posts: 10423
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Re: Laughter

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Feb 27, 2014 9:07 pm

waterchan wrote:
David N. Snyder wrote:Otherwise, I am all in favor of a good laugh, good comedy, etc. I also find some instances of humor in the Suttas which have been discussed here and in other threads. Laughter and smiling can be useful and it is contagious (in a good way). And I like Ajahn Brahm, the "Seinfeld of Buddhism."

How do you come to terms with the sutta passage that "Laughter is childishness in the Noble One's discipline", and that to just smile is enough? Don't you feel any cognitive dissonance whenever that passage is brought up?

I don't make laughter the principle aim of life. There are some people who believe they are comedians (all the time). You probably know some people like that -- they make jokes all day long, making a joke of everything; and usually they are not very funny at all. But if something funny is mentioned I might laugh and I might make a joke (or attempt at one) when the timing is right and only if it is wholesome and not offensive. I don't make attempts at being funny all the time, nor do I shun away all humor either.

In this middle way approach, there is no cognitive dissonance, as far as I can tell.

Posts: 7897
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: Laughter

Postby SarathW » Sun Mar 23, 2014 11:01 am

Catch the infectious laugh of Bhikkhu Bodhi.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

Posts: 51
Joined: Sat Mar 22, 2014 6:00 pm

Re: Laughter

Postby Zentruckdriver » Mon Mar 24, 2014 11:39 pm

Hi all,1st post alert.

I love to laugh but laughing at misfortune always makes me feel the hurt of
the person getting laughed at.

I regularly wince and feel actual pain when viewing some of these so called
funny clips that folk like to share.

Its sad when you get someone explaining their own favourite funny clip and they
enjoy a strangers suffering.

Laughter is the best medicine but I always try to make mine at no ones expense.

Regards Paul.
Dipping a toe in or pulling myself from a swamp...yeah that covers it for now.

User avatar
Posts: 6515
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin

Re: Laughter

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Mar 25, 2014 10:24 am

are you laughing at someone, or with them?
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.

He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
John Stuart Mill

User avatar
Posts: 699
Joined: Fri May 07, 2010 7:17 pm
Location: Kamaloka

Re: Laughter

Postby waterchan » Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:11 pm

Zentruckdriver wrote:Laughter is the best medicine but I always try to make mine at no ones expense.

If they don't see you laughing, and your laughter isn't malicious, that's at no one's expense.

I do not laugh at serious predicaments, such as a medical condition, an injury, or a death. But someone tripping over a banana skin and falling flat on their bottom? That's just funny! And this is funny!

My parents told me that once when I was three years old, they were talking to a librarian, and while she was standing I pulled the chair out from under her. When she sat down and fell flat on her bottom, she was fuming... until she looked around and saw a three-year-old.

Trollin' people since before I knew my ABC's.
quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur
(Anything in Latin sounds profound.)

User avatar
Posts: 5384
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:51 pm

Re: Laughter

Postby Aloka » Tue Mar 25, 2014 11:51 pm

waterchan wrote:... But someone tripping over a banana skin and falling flat on their bottom? That's just funny!

Unfortunately slipping on something and falling heavily, can be hazardous for heavily pregnant women and can cause bone fractures in the elderly - especially if they have osteoporosis. After a fall years ago, I went into labour and had a premature baby which died. On another occasion after falling, my mother fractured a bone.

User avatar
Posts: 699
Joined: Fri May 07, 2010 7:17 pm
Location: Kamaloka

Re: Laughter

Postby waterchan » Wed Mar 26, 2014 12:22 am

I would not laugh if I heard a bone crack... that is categorically not funny.

I guess my point is that we should lighten up and not worry about offending people so much. Despite your best efforts, you're bound to offend somebody out there. Something that comes out of your mouth is bound to offend a person that happens to be listening in, and you'd never know it because most people never tell you. Some of the nicest monks have offended masses of people. Being a Buddhist offends some people. Being a meat eater offends some people. Being a vegetarian offends some people. Wearing a backwards-pointing baseball cap offends some people.

Similarly we should try not to be offended by others. Because despite the heat of the moment, nothing is really ever personal. That jerk would have acted the same way had it been a different person instead of you.
quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur
(Anything in Latin sounds profound.)

User avatar
Posts: 939
Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2009 10:41 pm

Re: Laughter

Postby beeblebrox » Wed Mar 26, 2014 7:52 pm

SN 42.2: Talaputa Sutta wrote:Thus the actor — himself intoxicated & heedless, having made others intoxicated & heedless — with the breakup of the body, after death, is reborn in what is called the hell of laughter. But if he holds such a view as this: 'When an actor on the stage, in the midst of a festival, makes people laugh & gives them delight with his imitation of reality, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of the laughing devas,' that is his wrong view. Now, there are two destinations for a person with wrong view, I tell you: either hell or the animal womb."

I think the point of this sutta wasn't that the laughter is bad in itself, per se, but the way that the comedian tried to use it... he thought that if he could get people to laugh, then this would guarantee him an entry into the heaven of laughing devas. The Buddha replied that sooner or later he still even will find himself in hell for doing that, also.

I don't think this is difficult to see why.

It is not because of the laughing in itself... it's more like because the laughter is not something which could be seen as something that is always reliable for any situation.

The humor isn't universal, for example; or sometimes too much of a good thing could be bad; or that there are inappropriate times for laughing; or sometimes a person uses it as a form of escape; sometimes it is offensive to others; or some people try to base their own well-being on this laughter being available; etc.

I think you could also apply that to the view of self. It isn't that the idea of "self" in itself is the problem, but the way that a person tries to apprehend it to make sense of something...


Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Apr 06, 2014 12:44 pm

Re: Laughter

Postby rohatsu » Sun Apr 06, 2014 12:49 pm

User avatar
Posts: 2251
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:04 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Laughter

Postby manas » Sun Apr 06, 2014 10:26 pm

Hi rolling boulder

good-natured laughter and fun, so long as it is not mean or at the expense of others, is a wonderful part of the human experience, and will probably make you more healthy, help prevent cancer, and lengthen your life. I try to have a good laugh at least once a day.

Then the Blessed One, picking up a tiny bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monk, "There isn't even this much form...feeling...
perception...fabrications...consciousness that is constant, lasting, eternal, not subject to change, that will stay just as it is as long as eternity."

(SN 22.97)

User avatar
Posts: 8501
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: Laughter

Postby cooran » Mon Apr 07, 2014 1:54 am

Went to a laughter workshop at Woodford Folk Festival - Woodfordia. The Laughter workshop used the mantra: Ho Ho Ho / Ha Ha Ha
Seemed artificial at first, but ended up with everyone chuckling and giggling - such fun! :rofl: ... happiness/

With metta,
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

Posts: 7897
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: Laughter

Postby SarathW » Wed Apr 09, 2014 4:54 am

Advanced meditators are generally found to be pretty jovial men and women.
They possess that most valuable of all human treasures, a sense of humor.
It is not the superficial witty repartee of the talk show host. It is a real sense of humor.
They can laugh at their own human failures. They can chuckle at personal disasters.
Beginners in meditation are often much too serious for their own good.
So laugh a little.

Page 66 ... nglish.pdf
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

Return to “Connections to Other Paths”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bundokji, Google [Bot], rolling_boulder and 39 guests

Google Saffron, Theravada Search Engine