Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Buddhist JOKES! Do Dalai Lamas laugh?

Seven & Amber Dorrian (Wisdom Quarterly),,
Ha, ha, ha! (

Humor is vital to living, now more so than ever. Buddhism has a sense of humor (i.e., Ajahn Brahm, "the Buddhist Seinfeld," a noble British Theravada monk and author who trained in the jungles of Thailand and is now the abbot of a large monastery and separate nunnery in Australia). American Buddhists in particular, many of them with Jewish roots (e.g., Nes Wisker), are funny. And Buddhist monks are often themost lighthearted of all (in our experience).

So it's odd that the Dalai Lama had never heard the most popular of a handful of ubiquitous "Buddhist jokes." One could travel in Buddhist circles or converse during post-meditation social hours and not have heard them.

But if he of all people hasn't, maybe readers haven't either. So here are some, starting with the one that went over the Dalai Lama's head. It happened on live TV when it was told to him with the assistance of interpreters by an Australian interviewer.

It took him a while, but I bet he finally got it (

The Dalai Lama walks into a pizza parlor, looks over the menu, and announces, "Make me One with everything!"

A lot is lost in translation. But how could it be that neither he nor his Buddhist interpreters -- who are fluent in both English and Tibetan -- had never heard it? It's got his name right in it.

  • "Did you hear about the Dharma-Vac?"
  • "No, what's that?"
  • "The Buddhist vacuum cleaner. Millions were spent on its development, millions more on advertising it, yet there are about a million sitting unsold in a warehouse."
  • "Why, what was the problem?"
  • "Well, it turns out no one is interested in a vacuum cleaner with no attachments."
There are many variations in the telling, but the punch line is inexorable.

Park spots in front of Potala Palace, Lhasa, capital of Tibet
  • Hundreds of monastics were called Potala Palace in Tibet's capital for a worldwide council of Buddhists. The Southern Buddhists came up from the subcontinent, the Northern Buddhists came down from China, and Mountain Buddhists came from all around the Himalayas -- all in fancy chauffeured cars.
  • But where to park?
  • The Hina-yana ["Smaller Vehicle"] got their first, but there were more Maha-yana ["Great Vehicle"], and after all the Vajra-yana ["Thunderbolt Vehicle"] drove the fastest.
  • They were all honking and arguing for the best spots, disturbing the Dalai Lama who was waiting inside for them to convene the council.
  • They continued to honk, they continued to argue.
  • Finally the Dalai Lama came out and called them to order, pointing at the red and white signs closest to the palace and shouting: "Hinayana, Mahayana, Vajrayana -- ALL vehicles will be towed!"
It doesn't matter what "vehicle" or means we choose (or mix and match), the camps and categories that divide us all fall away. We all agree there is enlightenment, and this is not it. That enlightenment is not far very away. Either we need to practice or simply realize our interconnectedness in an instant so that this samsara will be our nirvana. We all agree meditation practice of some sort or another (breathing, recollecting, studying-and-reflecting, chanting, surrendering and accepting the moment, or hearing a sutra as the eye of wisdom arises) is decisive.

  • A Buddhist monk, unfamiliar with American fast food habits, is surprised to see a hot dog cart in mid city Manhattan.
  • "What's that?"
  • "That's a hot dog stand, venerable sir," his friend answers.
  • They approach, and the monk in his loftiest voice with Zen-like confidence, "Make me one with everything!"
  • The hot dog maker looks him up and down, hands him the [vegetarian tofu] hot dog piled high, and announces, "That'll be five bucks."
  • The monk hands him a twenty dollar bill and waits.
  • The man goes about his business.
  • And after a long time, the monk says, "Hey, what about my change?"
  • The vendor looks him up and down again, "You should know better than anyone, change comes from within."
  • The monk experiences satori.
More Jokes (variations on same themes)
Laughing Buddha at An Giang Pagoda, Vietnam (/Denis De Mesmaeker/
  • Why can't the Dalai Lama vacuum under the sofa?
  • Because he has no attachments. (Riotgrrl69)
  • What did the Dalai Lama say to the hot dog vendor?
  • Make me one with everything. (Jtron)
The hot dog vendor said, "That will be $2.50." The Dalai Lama handed him a five and waited.
Then the Dalai Lama said, "Hey where's my change?"
The hot dog vendor answered, "Change must come from within!" (Jessamyn)
  • I hear the Dalai Lama recently fired his gardener, who had a degree in carnations but didn't dig reincarnations. (Weapons-grade pandemonium)
  • The vendor said, "Change must come from within."
  • The Dalai Lama admitted this was true, ate his hot dog, which gave him terrible breath and bothered his sore tooth.
  • So he walked on over to the dentist's office.
  • Although old and frail he often walked barefoot, as evidenced by the thickness of the soles of his feet.
  • It is for this reason that he is sometimes known as the "super-calloused fragile mystic exhibiting halitosis."
The dentist inspected the tooth and said he could fill the cavity right away. But when he offered him Novacaine, the Dalai Lama declined, explaining that it was his practice to "transcend dental medication." (Wet Spot)

I can't help remembering the "Family Guy" episode where Peter sees a "Free Tibet" button, rushes to a pay phone, and says, "Hello, China? Yes, ALL the tea." (Spaceman_spiff)

Hellooooo Dalai! (Mattbucher)
  • The hot dog vendor asks the Buddhist, "You want mustard, onion, chili, ketchup, or pickles with that dog?
  • "Make me one with everything" he replies. (Essexjan)
If the Dalai Lama were a redneck, he'd believe in reintarnation. (Mr. Gunn)
  • I once knew someone who was so dumb he thought a "dalai lama" was a Peruvian stuffed animal. (Pyramid termite)

"So I jump ship in Hong Kong and make my way over to Tibet, and I get on as a looper at a course over in the Himalayas. A looper, you know, a caddy, a looper, a jock. So, I tell them I'm a pro jock, and who do you think they give me? The Dalai Lama, himself. Twelfth son of the Lama. The flowing robes, the grace, bald... striking. So, I'm on the first tee with him. I give him the driver. He hauls off and whacks one -- big hitter, the Lama -- long, into a ten-thousand foot crevasse, right at the base of this glacier. Do you know what the Lama says? Gunga galunga... gunga, gunga-galunga. So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, 'Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know.' And he says, 'Oh, uh, there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness.' So I got that goin' for me, which is nice." ("Caddyshack,"


Sharmon Davidson said...

I love these jokes; puns are best, especially when related to Buddhism! I have heard the "make me one with everything" joke in many forms, one of which I just posted on my blog. Thanks for sharing these!

Dale Waddel said...

Why did the Dalai Lama choose Ithaca, New York for his International Buddhist Cultural Center?

Because it's "near Varna"-

(Varna, New York).