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How Important is Humour to One's Practice ?

ShoshinShoshin No one in particularNowhere Special Veteran

Hmm Humour...

"Humour (in Commonwealth English), or humor (in American English) is the tendency of particular cognitive experiences to provoke laughter and provide amusement. The term derives from the humoral medicine of the ancient Greeks, which taught that the balance of fluids in the human body, known as humours (Latin: humor, "body fluid"), controlled human health and emotion.
People of all ages and cultures respond to humour. Most people are able to experience humour—be amused, smile or laugh at something funny—and thus are considered to have a sense of humour. The hypothetical person lacking a sense of humour would likely find the behaviour induced by humour to be inexplicable, strange, or even irrational. Though ultimately decided by personal taste, the extent to which a person finds something humorous depends on a host of variables, including geographical location, culture, maturity, level of education, intelligence and context. For example, young children may favour slapstick such as Punch and Judy puppet shows or cartoons such as Tom and Jerry, whose physical nature makes it accessible to them. By contrast, sophisticated forms of humour such as satire require an understanding of its social meaning and context, and thus tend to appeal to the mature audience"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humour


Each day I find something to laugh or smile about, even if the joke's on/about me....
However I'm serious when seriousness is called for, but I must admit I can't stay serious for too long (perhaps it has something to do with annica 'impermanence' ) ...

I find that humour helps to maintain the smooth flow of the practice (as long as it is not tainted with malicious intent that is) ......So......

How Important is Humour to One's Practice ? How important is humour to/for "you" ?

(It's about how 'you' personally feel about humour and not what you feel about others and their sense of humour.....)

EarthninjaStingRaymerx

Comments

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited January 2016

    There's a time and a place for everything.

    "Everyone has the right to be a damn fool for 5 minutes a day.
    Wisdom consists of not exceeding the limit."

    Not everything is funny, and not everything is appropriate to insert humour into.
    Sometimes, those who are overly mirthful can irritate the shit out of others.
    Humour is best supported by tact.

    Timing - is everything.

    EarthninjaStingRaymerx
  • I prefer to discuss the requirements of being Buddhist:

    • Never discuss anything you understand.

    • Clothes ... don't forget the clothes!

    • Forget clothes, the more the better.

    • Walk slowly as if permeated with some weighty liquid.

    • Walk fast but not in any direction that can be discerned.

    • If you're a lay person, yearn for ordination. If you're an ordained person, yearn for lay life.

    • Start your own sect. Throw yourself out.

    • Chant softly but audibly in public rest rooms.
      aaaaahhhhh mmmmmm . . ..

    • If you visit a temple or monastery, make sure to bring home some small tourist treasure to indicate you visited. Hang it prominently, but with humble discretion, in your living room...next to all those books, perhaps.

    • Donate your books and ornaments to charity.

    • Offer a small, carefully-crafted smile when someone tells you a first-class joke.

    • If someone asks you if you are a Buddhist, consider the question in a dour and somewhat quizzical silence.

    • Deny you are a Buddhist. Yep did that recently when asked outright. Bad cructacean.

    • Treat all beings with equanimity and kindness ... right up until the moment when you can't stand it any more and simply kick the cat. Repent as necessary.

    • Get an invisible wrathful protector, tantric, cat. Mine is called Bast. Train it to kick you.

    http://www.katinkahesselink.net/sufi/sufi-jok.html

    EarthninjaCinorjerStingRayNirvana
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @how said:
    Humour!
    A good friend to visit when one is taking oneself too seriously.

    Precisely :)

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Taking one's self too seriously, is a completely different concept to using humour inappropriately.
    It's ok in certain circumstances, but when it implies someone ELSE is taking themselves too seriously, it can be inappropriate.

    Surprised, @Shoshin, at the absence of inverted commas in your original post. Normally, it's littered with "I" and "Me"....
    Unfortunately "I" am in the unenviable position of having to monitor both "My" humour and that of "others"..... So sadly "I" have to determine when Humour's visit is welcome or otherwise.

  • @federica said:
    Sometimes, those who are overly mirthful can irritate the shit out of others.

    Ah yes one of the benefits, crap removal services. o:)

    Humour is best supported by tact.

    Surely not! (lobster hangs head in disappointment) True enough ... I suppose ...

    Timing - is everything.

    Ah ha! Best start gently ...

    ... meanwhile here is a page I started on Islamic States unofficial comedian:
    https://en.m.wikibooks.org/wiki/Sufism/Nasrudin

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @federica said:
    Sometimes, those who are overly mirthful can irritate the shit out of others.

    Is that the fault of the overly mirthful ?
    Or those who allow their minds to become irritated by another's joy ?

    Dharma practice is (from what "I" gather) about taming/training ones mind, in order to rise above such so called irritations...But I could be wrong....

    Mudita

    Invincible_summersilvermerx
  • WalkerWalker Veteran Veteran

    @Shoshin said:

    @federica said:
    Sometimes, those who are overly mirthful can irritate the shit out of others.

    Is that the fault of the overly mirthful ?
    Or those who allow their minds to become irritated by another's joy ?

    Dharma practice is (from what "I" gather) about taming/training ones mind, in order to rise above such so called irritations...But I could be wrong....

    Mudita

    Subjective questions, to be sure. I think one really needs to pay attention to how the other person seems to be feeling before acting goofy, ironically humorous, etc. Not always possible to know exactly what's going on upstairs with someone else, but clues can be picked up if we watch our senses.

    federicaShoshin
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    The problem being, of course that on a forum, all we have to go on, are the written words in front of us....

    I would also draw attention to a comment I made back in November: Seems appropriate to remind.... Take note. Thanks.

    Walker
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    @federica said:> I would also draw attention to a comment I made back in November: Seems appropriate to remind.... Take note. Thanks.

    Careful, we don't want to end up like Dhamma Wheel. ;)

    EarthninjaWalkersilverShoshin
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Oh, I have no intention of emulating such a grandiose and sombre site. :tongue::wink:

    I just don't want topics to stray so far afield that the first post is unrecognisable for content, pertinence or intention....

  • CinorjerCinorjer Veteran
    edited January 2016

    You know, there was once a sect of Buddhists who thought that only when one is engaged in a good belly laugh is one displaying Buddha Nature. They accomplished this by going around playing practical jokes on each other in the temple. The monks got used to checking under their zafu for whoopee cushions and receiving a dribble bowl with their soup at meals. They called themselves the "Ha-Ha-Yana" school of Buddhism.

    They were disbanded when visiting Masters found themselves short-sheeted one time too many. A small group of diehard Ha-Ha-Yana monks decided it wasn't the laughter but the shock of having the trick pulled on a mind that mattered, and started trying to shock people into experiencing their Original Minds. They did this by sneaking up behind someone and suddenly letting out with an ear-splitting yell, resulting in an occasional Satori and more than a few heart attacks. They started calling themselves the "Ya-Hoo_Yana" school,

    But being serious for a moment, yes humor is important. In fact, it's the ability of Buddhists to laugh at themselves that first attracted me to it. I think that's the important distinction. We laugh at ourselves, not other people. There is a story that Master Seung Sahn, as a young monk, decided all the nuns and monks were way too serious at the temple. So he stole everyone's shoes one night (in Korea shoes stay outside the doors) and lined them up outside the Master's door. The next day the nuns were afraid some trickster spirit had invaded the temple, so he confessed. The monks wanted him expelled, but the Master over-ruled them.

    Shoshin
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    People who know me well, will know what an off-the-wall sense of humour I have. I used to be extremely frivolous and see an opportunity for humour everywhere.

    I have long since succeeded in tempering that habit, but I have, in my 50-plus-a-few years, honed a particular skill in 'reading people' and am able to direct my humour accordingly (30 years in sales helps....). So much so, that even my Manager, who is I have to say, one of the best people it's ever been my pleasure and privilege to work under, has said to me, "Honestly, I really don't know how you do it!"
    She tells me I could easily get away with murder, and that I say things she herself would never dare to utter - but agrees that I 'have a way about me'. I have, since beginning work, received 2 customer awards, given for 'outstanding Customer services' as a result of nomination by customers.

    Just before christmas, I was put on 'tastings' and charged with convincing clients to purchase three particular food products the Company was pushing as 'The Perfect Christmas Essentials.'
    I know, that through my balsy and insistent drive, resoundingly supported by my humorous approach, that our particular branch outsold every other branch in the county.

    As I say: Humour has its place, and one needs to be alert and selective to the circumstances and issue in hand, as to what kind of humour one can express, and how much.

    CinorjerEarthninjaWalkerlobster
  • Will_BakerWill_Baker Vermont Veteran

    There once was a Buddhist from Nantucket...

    silverCinorjerShoshingenkaku
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    Who peed at night in a bucket....

  • Will_BakerWill_Baker Vermont Veteran

    The bucket got full...

  • Will_BakerWill_Baker Vermont Veteran

    And since his name was John Bull...

  • Will_BakerWill_Baker Vermont Veteran

    The english Buddhist just emptied his bucket...

    Cinorjerlobster
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited January 2016

    @Walker said:

    Subjective questions, to be sure. I think one really needs to pay attention to how the other person seems to be feeling before acting goofy, ironically humorous, etc. Not always possible to know exactly what's going on upstairs with someone else, but clues can be picked up if we watch our senses.

    Very true @Walker and that's the difficulty on any forum...

    A member a while back during a discussion said this simple sentence (I can't remember who the member was) "Hurt people, hurt people" never truer words spoken....

    May all beings be happy
    May all beings be peaceful
    May all beings be well
    May all beings be liberated

    That's my wish but....I also know....

    "You can please some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time"
    ~Abe Lincoln~

    Walkerlobster
  • WalkerWalker Veteran Veteran

    @federica @Shoshin

    Oh yes, it can definitely be more challenging interacting on a forum than face-to-face. Body language says a lot.

    Shoshinlobster
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @Walker said:
    @federica @Shoshin

    Oh yes, it can definitely be more challenging interacting on a forum than face-to-face. Body language says a lot.

    Even body language can be a sticky one to interpret, especially if one is not familiar with different cultures...This being the case here in Aotearoa when it comes to the body language of Maori, Pacific Islanders and Pakeha ....Cross culture communication issues can often arise...

    Walker
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @Shoshin said:

    @Walker said:
    @federica @Shoshin

    Oh yes, it can definitely be more challenging interacting on a forum than face-to-face. Body language says a lot.

    Even body language can be a sticky one to interpret, especially if one is not familiar with different cultures...This being the case here in Aotearoa when it comes to the body language of Maori, Pacific Islanders and Pakeha ....Cross culture communication issues can often arise...

    Very true... The hand-symbol for OK in the USA, can mean F.U in another....

    Furthermore, wolf-whistling in a theatre, or stadium, means distinct approval in the UK/USA. In Italy, it's a sound of derision and disapproval....

    Walker
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Back to the topic....How important is humour to "your" (ones) practice?

    For example:

    "I" find that humour helps to maintain the smooth flow of the practice (as long as it is not tainted with malicious intent that is)

    Cinorjerlobster
  • WalkerWalker Veteran Veteran

    Being able to laugh at one's 'self' is a means of positive criticism. Like, 'hey I really screwed up, guess I'll try something different next time.' Much more effective for improvement than beating on yourself.

    ShoshinCinorjerInvincible_summer
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited January 2016

    There's rarely malicious intent here, fortunately.
    But if we consider Ricky Gervais for example, his outrageous observations regarding the actions of others, hits nerves all too frequently.
    But this has contributed to his rise in popularity.
    His satire and sarcasm are legendary.

    And he is encouraged. People pay good money to hire him to air his views....

    I don't know how well any of us would fare in our everyday situations if we emulated such a comic genius.... And I use the term advisedly. It takes a particular skill to be extremely popular through taking the piss out of others....

    That said, I don't for one moment believe he's Buddhist. He's pretty emphatic about his atheism....

    But I can't really see any Buddhists using such humour themselves....

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    I love humor. I think a lot of people might laugh but there is no joyful humor. I think a lot of people are confused.
    My teacher is very funny, he has a wonderful, joyful smile and laugh. Like the Dalai Lama, and so many other teachers. It is something lacking in most people I interact with, including myself. Most of us try too hard. Humor should be natural and joyful, and not at the expense of someone else. Most humor I come across is people being self-depracating. My son is a class clown type. He loves to make people laugh. But he is 13 and trying to teach him that you can't hurt others for a laugh has been an ongoing battle, including hurting himself. He thinks "if we didn't laugh at people there would be nothing to laugh at." Which isn't true but I think that is how it is much of the time in our world. The jolliness is gone and much of our smiles, laughter and lols are fake. Not that it's not ok to laugh when people are funny of course, I hope it's clear the distinction I am trying to make.

    When on retreats with my teacher, we laugh often. It is clean and refreshing and joyful. Out in the "real world" there is something lacking.

    lobsterCinorjerShoshin
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited January 2016

    @Invincible_summer said:
    I feel that humour is very important.

    Being able to laugh at yourself and find the humour in your mistakes is so beneficial to the practice of humility and self-compassion.

    ^^^ What she said ^^^ Probably the perfect answer.

    In all humility we can find our compassion in others 'mistakes', ignorance and continual round of renewal. When we start laughing at our spiritual/Buddhist/self pretensions ... Joy and laughter and ahimsa ...

    ... and now back to the cool kids ...

  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran
    edited January 2016

    A very good friend of mine, now dead, had a tendency to feed topics at hand into the humor mill. Since he was intelligent and witty, it was usually pleasant ... or anyway I liked it. Probably we were friends partly because he was too frivolous and I was too dour. But there were (to echo @federica's observation) times when his unwillingness to serious-up really got under my skin.

    Nowadays, I am inclined to put a small patina of levity on the subjects I take most seriously and wish others to take seriously as well. I'm not sure this is a good idea since it tends to camouflage the seriousness, but I do it anyway because I think humor opens people up in a way that so-called seriousness seldom does. Laughter is like music -- you involuntarily spread your arms in order to enjoy it ... and in this way, sometimes the seriousness will find some soil in which to bear honest fruit. Seriousness too often relapses into self-important solemnity ... the kind of soil that may improve self-image but grows daisies with difficulty.

    On the other hand, my sense of humor and yours (Buddhist or otherwise) may not dovetail at all.

    For example (alert: definitely risque)

    Just thinking.

    WalkerInvincible_summerShoshinCinorjer
  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran

    Humour is integral to my practice but has to be tempered with compassion which is tempered with wisdom (what I have of it, leastways).

    Laughing with a person is always better than laughing at a person. Laughing at a situation is a tough call but it could help with tensions and moods unless it's hysterical and something has to be figured out.

    WalkerShoshin
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    Humour is certainly important as you get older... ;)

    WalkerShoshinEarthninja
  • No humor - No fun
    No Fun - Waz a matter u?

    lobsterShoshin
  • I have found humor to be a tremendous aide.

    I think in some ways it is very Buddhist as both Dharma and Humor seem to point to the same thing: nothing is really solid and nothing is what it seems (to our conditioned minds).

    Of course, laughing at myself and my perceived problems is the first, safe step. Some wisdom and discernment are a must when being humorous with others. But ultimately, making others smile and laugh is a kind of Boddhisatva action in my opinion. It is also the most accessible way to be of service.

    lobsterShoshin
  • rohitrohit Maharrashtra Veteran

    If one has humor then it means one is in control.

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Not necessarily, in my experience.

    lobster
  • @rohit said:
    If one has humor then it means one is in control.

    How so?

  • I frequently poke fun at myself. Gives one a good giggle and causes no offense. When in this mode my pet name is Mongo. As in Mongo fails again etc.

    lobster
  • rohitrohit Maharrashtra Veteran

    @lobster said:

    @rohit said:
    If one has humor then it means one is in control.

    How so?

    When we laugh then we are supposed to happy and joyful. If we can make humour in worst time or luagh upon own mistakes as well that means we can overcome the our hard times for a while. I mean in control of depression.

    lobster
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    I think those who are depressed and try to put on a happy front cannot always 'fake it until they make it'...

    Depression is the pits, and I have rarely found those who suffer from depression can manage any more than a sigh.....

    lobster
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Thanks for the responses....

    It would seem that most of us find humour an important part of our practice and judging from the responses, we all share a similar moral compass setting when it comes to not wishing to intentionally offend/harm others...

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited January 2016

    There are serious uses of humour:

    When I instigated the Nasrudin forum set up at Yahoo groups we were contacted by 'Idries Shahs Estate' (whatever that is) and told to not use stories verbatim from his copyrighted interpretations of traditional material otherwise legal action would be taken. In other words similar to the fiasco of a yogi who tried to copyright his 'interpretation' of traditional yoga poses.

    I found this most amusing but sadly it was not a jest.

    On another occasion a self proclaimed Sufi threatened legal action if we did not reveal someones email address and also remove their posting which was designed to defame the self proclaimed dervish mystic ... Nobody remembers his name, recalls or cares about such unintentional comedians. Ridiculous.

    Again no jest was intended.

    Next we will be killing people for religious satire. Je Suis Charli anyone?

    What can be said about such behaviour and how much of our own is equally but hopefully not more ridiculous?

    Bodhi Nasrudin has a reputation as a story teller of outlandish tales ...
    "Why do your stories never feature real events and real people, Nasrudin?" he was asked.
    Nasrudin replied, "nobody would believe it."

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