Thursday, May 28, 2015

Laughter and Humor as Skillful Means In The Zen of Life

                 There is an old cliché that laughter is the best medicine, Zen has a history of humor as a teaching tool. Zen  Koans are filled with stories about Zen teachers using humor primarily to push their students minds out of the trap of rational thinking.  There is probably no better tool to show us the absurdity of ourselves and most of our basic assumptions about the world. A humor can be  tool to expose the irrationality of the world and even Zen itself. True Zen is a leap into the absurd and the inexplicable with your eyes wide open and no net to catch you.  But in Zen this is no leap of faith,   this is a leap without faith  and that makes all the  difference in the world.  This is especially true when dealing with personal tragedy and loss because one of the first things that your mind generates at times like that is the simple question why? Why did this person have to die, why did this have to happen to me. Why, why, why?
         I do not want to give anyone the impression  that humor or Zen  or any of Buddhism's skillful means  will give you an  unshakable  place to stand,  a place of refuge that is unassailable  by the daggers of the world .   The refuge that we  take  when we take our vows is only as strong  and as unassailable  as we make it.      
          In fact if you decide to stand on Zen  assuming  it is an unshakable platform  upon which you may always stand you will almost always find yourself like Wiley coyote going over the cliff with a very strange look on your face. The fact is both Zen and humor have one thing in common to be successful the punch line has got to be a surprise. If it’s what you expected than it hasn’t worked. If what you seek Is some fantasy of superhuman powers, Immortality an unearned wisdom that sets you above others you have a long road ahead of you. 
          Buddhism's  only real  power lies in its truth. And the only real enlightenment is seeing that truth. The Buddha's words come down to us through the millennium without a promise of miracles,  just a promise of the truth. They say in the west that the Buddha was the "Tathagata" , and commonly define this as he who has thus come, but a more accurate definition is "he who sees  the world as it really is".  
              They say that a Zen master that cannot learn from his students is not unlike a car that can only travel in reverse.  In my case it is my one remaining son who has taught me the healing power of laughter even when my  brain was about to explode and my soul turn to ashes.     

          This is my son Sean White's new Comedy CD, " Dead and Gone"   You can buy it on iTunes Or from, Or go to this link:
         In any case those of you that have read my blog know my approach to the healing of what cannot be healed, I think it would be worth your while to listen to this CD and see how the same set of circumstances can be dealt with by the skillful means Of humor.

                  It may or may not  amaze you,  it certainly did amaze me, I guess all fathers consider their sons  their students  so this is a perfect example  of the teacher learning from the student .  The one thing I do promise, you will laugh, which is never a bad thing.



No comments:

Post a Comment