Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Humor and Buddhism (cartoons)

2. When this future farmer learned the power of a good tractor
Hey, you d-mn hippies, take your guitar and bongo off my pop's lawn! (

Activism and meditation: Buddhist demonstration and punishment (
Hey, kids, have you tried Glint? Breaking Bad Happy Meal (

What's happening, Spock? Nothing, captain. (Star Trek/Tom Tomorrow/thismodernworld)
Breaking Bad, selling poison chemicals is fun, profitable (
Do you have the iPhone 6 yet? Why not? You better get it. (
Strange fruit, blood on the leaf, blood on the root... Let's get back to the station, guys!
Protecting police from murder charges after they murder (Left Coast/Stephanie McMillan)
Buddhist compliment and rebirth memories (Manish Jain/
Police state? What police state? (Ted Rall/
Bully: Hey, you st-pid b--ch, you're fat, and flat, and you suck. Get lost (Carmalt-Vener)
Endurance Made Easy (or at least Easier)
Ven. Thanissaro (Geoffrey DeGraff) edited by Wisdom Quarterly
The first step is to focus on the mind [in many ways synonymous with the heart in Buddhism].
To what extent is the mind making it harder to endure these things? The Buddha gives the example of a person shot by an arrow. Being shot by one arrow isn't enough: We shoot ourselves with more arrows. How? The first arrow is the actual pain; the extra arrows are all our mental flailing around in reaction to the pain.

These extra arrows are the real problem. As Thai master Ajahn Fuang once said, "If physical pain isn't killing you, you can take it." But for most of us, the problem isn't so much the physical pain. It's all that extra suffering that we add on top of it, all the extra arrows we shoot into the heart/mind.
Frank-squared (
We want to keep looking into the mind/heart. What are these extra arrows? How can we prevent ourselves from shooting them?
One way is to develop a good sense of humor around the whole situation. Who knows the Pali word for humor?
I spent way too much on this eavesdropping device!
But we see examples of humor in the Pali canon where the Buddha talks about the conditions for arousing effort as opposed to the conditions for laziness.
The external conditions are the same in either case. If we haven't eaten enough, we sit there complaining, "I can't practice today! I have no energy! I'm feeling hungry! I'm feeling tired and weak!" That's a condition for laziness.

The condition for aroused effort, if we haven't eaten enough, is to say: "Ah, the body is light! I don't have to worry about digesting my food today! I'm not sleepy or drowsy or weighed down by the food!"

I love your smile! (Massulan/
In the way the Buddha expresses each pair of cases, there is a humor to the whole sutra. That's one thing: learning how to maintain good humor around the practice.
Some may have heard the story of the 19th century Englishman who went across northern Canada with a group of Dene Indians (a First Nations group). He noticed that on the days when they couldn't find any food, the Dene tended to joke and laugh the most. That's how they were able to keep up their spirits.
U.S. economy as dark humor: breaking bad
The same with the passage in Slaughterhouse Five where the American prisoner of war visits the section of the POW (prisoner-of-war) camp where the British troops are being held: The British troops are all very organized; they're putting on comedy sketches; they're basically having a good time.
They're suffering a lot less than the Americans, who just sit around moping over their individual sufferings, plotting revenge on one another.
Dalai Lama birthday humor
The British troops are actively determined to keep up their spirits as much as possible in the face of a very difficult situation.
So we develop that attitude as we practice. This is why adjusting the breath -- the focus of anapanasati or mindfulness-of-breathing meditation -- is sometimes called playing with the breath.
If we're sitting with pain, let's ask ourselves, "What can the breath do that I haven't had it do before?"

Laughing in leaves (Eldholms)
We can think of the breath [which in meditation is really the subtle breath behind the mechanical or labored rise and fall of the dense body respiring] in different ways we've never thought of before -- coming in and out different parts of the body, running in different ways through the meridians of the body, connecting up in different ways.
We see what we can do to keep ourselves entertained with the breath, to gladden the mind and heart.

We become more proactive toward the pain: We investigate it, are curious about it, instead of just passively suffering and "enduring" it.

Keeping a good humor helps to put us in a position of power. That's one attitude to ease the burden of endurance. More
(DK555) WARNING: Graphic violence! The Dead Kennedys sing about some good, clean, all-American POLICE fun at the expense of the policed in "Police Truck." U.S. cops love a "Riot."
The (de-)evolution of intellectual freedom from grad school to death (

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