Buddha belly laughs
Who would laugh at Buddhism? Plenty of people, it seems. Enough to fill several Web pages.
Part of Writings on Buddhism — at 13 years one of the oldest Buddhist Web sites — A Lighter Side has jokes as cryptic as a koan, going far beyond the usual “What did the Buddhist say to the hot dog vendor?” (although that one is here, too).
Example: A young Buddhist wonders how to cross a river. He sees a sage on the opposite bank and calls: “Oh wise one, can you tell me how to get to the other side of this river”? The sage calls back: “My son, you are on the other side.”
Many of the jokes are charmingly self-deprecating, as with the Theravada computer virus that can’t infect “female” machines. Some are long stories — one takes 24 paragraphs to set up the punchline. Who knew that Buddhist and Irish jokesters would have something in common?
And some items make you wonder if they’re really joking. One recommends downloading a Tibetan mantra — Om Mani Padme Hum, or “The Jewel in the Lotus of the Heart” — in effect, turning your computer’s spinning hard drive into a prayer wheel.
The most mind-bending joke may be this one-liner: “A Zen master once said to me, ‘Do the opposite of whatever I tell you.’ So I didn’t.”