For more jokes: 10 Funny Zen Buddhist Jokes, 0 Punchlines.
We’re always so serious when it comes to Buddhism, right?
Well, truthfully, Buddhist monks aren’t as serious as we are. Having lived with some in India, I can say that monks are the funniest people one can ever meet.
I remember once watching a football game with five monks in India. It was quite startling to see how much concentration they had. They were literally enjoying every part of the match. Two of the monks were so engrossed in the game that they took sides. Upon the scoring of one team, the monk who was cheering for the other team got pretty mad. He said something in Tibetan that I didn’t understand. Nevertheless, the way he said it along with his hands gesture and body language showed the intensity of his frustration. The other monk who was standing next to him fiercely looked at him and slapped him on the arm saying: “Anger, man. Anger. No. No.”
Upon seeing this I cracked up. Buddhist monks are funny beings to be around. I remember another time when I was having tea in a restaurant, a student and his master were there with an American woman who was giving English courses to the master. She asked him a question three times but the master wasn’t replying. When I looked at him he was looking into space, pretending he is not listening. Then he laughed and told her, “Come on, 30 minutes of studying are enough.” The student looked at me and said laughing: “He is finding English pretty hard to learn, he’s hating those sessions.”
Those two stories made me realize that Buddhist monks are fun to be with and to talk to. It is never offensive or wrong to say jokes about them because they are light people, who joke all the time. They don’t take life seriously.
These jokes about Buddhist monks and Buddhism are a pretty accurate reflection.
In fact, Buddhist jokes can help us have a better understanding about Buddhism.
1. A Zen master told me, “Do the opposite of what I tell you.” So I didn’t.
2. Says the Master to his pupil: “Do you understand that you don’t really exist?”
Upon which the pupil replies: “To whom are you telling that?”
3. Prince Gautama, who had become Buddha, saw one of his followers meditating under a tree at the edge of the Ganges River. Upon inquiring why he was meditating, his follower stated he was attempting to become so enlightened he could cross the river unaided. Buddha gave him a few pennies and said: “Why don’t you seek passage with that boatman. It is much easier.”
4. Someone sent the Buddha a gift box tied with a ribbon. Buddha opened it to find it empty. “Aha!”, he said, “Just what I wanted. Nothing!”
5. What does a Buddhist comedian say when the audience stops laughing?
“I know you’re out there. I can concentrate on your breathing.”
6. A Western Buddhist woman was in India, studying with her teacher. She was riding with another woman friend in a rickshaw, when they were attacked by a man on the street. In the end, the attacker only succeeded in frightening the women, but the Buddhist woman was quite upset by the event and told her teacher. She asked him what she should have done: “what would have been the appropriate, Buddhist response?” The teacher said very simply, “You should have very mindfully and with great compassion whacked the attacker over the head with your umbrella.”
7. What did one Zen practitioner give to another for their birthday?
8. What did the Buddhist say to the pizza chef?
Make me one with everything. The pizza chef prepares it and gives it to the monk. The monk pays him and asks for the change. The pizza vendor says: “Change comes from within.”
9. How many Zen Buddhists does it take to screw in a light bulb? There is no light bulb.
10. Q: What happens when a Buddhist becomes totally absorbed with the computer he is working with?
A: He enters Nerdvana.
11. Why did the Buddhist coroner get fired?
He kept marking the cause of death as “birth.”
12. A Buddhist phones the monastery and asks the monk, “Can you come to do a blessing for my new house?”
The monk replies “Sorry, I’m busy.”
“What are you doing? Can I help?”
“I’m doing nothing.” replied the monk. “Doing nothing is a monk’s core business and you can’t help me with that.”
So the next day the Buddhist phones again, “Can you please come to my house for a blessing?”
“Sorry,” said the monk, “I’m busy.”
“What are you doing?”
“I’m doing nothing,” replied the monk.
“But that was what you were doing yesterday!” said the Buddhist.
“Correct”, replied the monk, “I’m not finished yet!”
~ Ajahn Brahm
13. A zen student asked his master: “Is it okay to use email?” “Yes”, replied the master, “but with no attachments.”
14. A student is on one side of a raging river. There are no bridges. He has no boat. He shouts out to the master on the opposite bank. “How do I get to the other side?” The master shouts back: “You are on the other side.”
Author: Elyane Youseff
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock