Laughter

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Laughter

Postby rolling_boulder » Sun Feb 23, 2014 7:15 pm

Hello fellow seekers. :candle:

Humbly I come to you who are more advanced in the teaching to ask about laughter and its place in the conduct of a Dhamma follower. I quote the book "Mindfulness in Plain English," introduction:

Go to a party. Listen to the laughter, that brittle-tongued voice that says fun on the surface and fear underneath. Feel the tension, feel the pressure. Nobody really relaxes. They are faking it. Go to a ball game. Watch the fan in the stand. Watch the irrational fit of anger. Watch the uncontrolled frustration bubbling forth from people that masquerades under the guise of enthusiasm, or team spirit. Booing, cat-calls and unbridled egotism in the name of team loyalty. Drunkenness, fights in the stands. These are the people trying desperately to release tension from within. These are not people who are at peace with themselves. Watch the news on TV. Listen to the lyrics in popular songs. You find the same theme repeated over and over in variations. Jealousy, suffering, discontent and stress.

http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma4/mpe1-4.html


Is laughter right speech? Can laughter be done with metta? I am lately applying my mindfulness to that of the body/mind, and I am noticing that laughter in my body is always accompanied by a feeling of conceit or ill will. Even if I laugh at the innocent antics of a child it is still a mental process where I am placing myself above the child to compare myself to it and laugh at its foolishness or stupidity.

In my experience it is very rare to experience laughter without other harmful mental formations.

Laughter also creates a lot of noise, and draws attention.

Is it consistent with Equanimity (upekkha) to laugh?

A definition:
To be unwavering or staying neutral in the face of the eight vicissitudes of life, loss and gain, good-repute and ill-repute, praise and censure, and sorrow and happiness (Attha Loka Dhamma), is to practice true upekkha.
With loving kindness to all beings.
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Re: Laughter

Postby cooran » Sun Feb 23, 2014 7:31 pm

Hello rolling_boulder,

One interesting Sutta mentions 'the Hell of Laughter':

Talaputa Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

with metta,
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: Laughter

Postby culaavuso » Sun Feb 23, 2014 7:33 pm

Some quotes for consideration:

Snp 2.9
Snp 2.9: Kimsila Sutta wrote:With what virtue,
what behavior,
nurturing what actions,
would a person become rightly based
and attain the ultimate goal?
...
Shedding
laughter, chattering,
lamentation, hatred,
deception, deviousness,
greed, pride,
confrontation, roughness,
astringency, infatuation,
one should go about free
of intoxication,
steadfast within.


Good Humor by Ven. Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:So whatever comes up in the meditation, treat it with good humor. The ability to laugh at yourself is probably one of the most important abilities you have as a meditator. It's a matter of perspective, and also of balance.


Right Speech by Ven. Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:For many of us, the most difficult part of practicing right speech lies in how we express our sense of humor. Especially here in America, we're used to getting laughs with exaggeration, sarcasm, group stereotypes, and pure silliness — all classic examples of wrong speech. If people get used to these sorts of careless humor, they stop listening carefully to what we say. In this way, we cheapen our own discourse. Actually, there's enough irony in the state of the world that we don't need to exaggerate or be sarcastic. The greatest humorists are the ones who simply make us look directly at the way things are.

Expressing our humor in ways that are truthful, useful, and wise may require thought and effort, but when we master this sort of wit we find that the effort is well spent. We've sharpened our own minds and have improved our verbal environment. In this way, even our jokes become part of our practice: an opportunity to develop positive qualities of mind and to offer something of intelligent value to the people around us.


Dhp 11 (146)
Dhp 11 (146) wrote:What laughter, why joy,
when constantly aflame?
Enveloped in darkness,
don't you look for a lamp?


AN 8.86
AN 8.86: Yasa Sutta wrote:"There is the case, Nagita, where I see monks laughing out loud, sporting around, tickling one another with their fingers. The thought occurs to me, 'Surely these venerable ones cannot obtain at will — without difficulty, without trouble — as I do, the pleasure of renunciation, the pleasure of seclusion, the pleasure of peace, the pleasure of self-awakening, which is why they are laughing out loud, sporting around, tickling one another with their fingers.'


SN 42.2
SN 42.2: Talaputa Sutta wrote:Thus the actor — himself intoxicated & heedless, having made others intoxicated & heedless — with the breakup of the body, after death, is reborn in what is called the hell of laughter. But if he holds such a view as this: 'When an actor on the stage, in the midst of a festival, makes people laugh & gives them delight with his imitation of reality, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of the laughing devas,' that is his wrong view. Now, there are two destinations for a person with wrong view, I tell you: either hell or the animal womb."


DN 1
DN 1: Brahmajāla Sutta wrote:There are, bhikkhus, certain gods called 'corrupted by play.'

These gods spend an excessive time indulging in the delights of laughter and play. As a consequence they become forgetful and, when they become forgetful, they pass away from that plane.


The Life of Sariputta
The Life of Sariputta wrote:Now at Rajagaha there was an annual event called the Hilltop Festival. Seats were arranged for both youths and they sat together to witness the celebrations. When there was occasion for laughter, they laughed; when the spectacles were exciting, they became excited; and they paid their fees for the extra shows. In this manner they enjoyed the festival for a second day; but on the third day their understanding was awakened and they could no longer laugh or get excited, nor did they feel inclined to pay for extra shows as they had done on the first days. Each of them had the same thought: "What is there to look at here? Before these people have reached a hundred years they will all have come to death. What we ought to do is to seek for a teaching of deliverance."
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Re: Laughter

Postby Sam Vara » Sun Feb 23, 2014 7:38 pm

Nanavira has some interesting thoughts on laughter, humour and the existential crisis in which they are rooted.

http://www.nanavira.org/index.php/plus/books/29-clearing-the-path

(18th May to 2nd June, 1965).
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Re: Laughter

Postby Mkoll » Sun Feb 23, 2014 8:01 pm

Mind precedes all phenomena,
mind matters most, everything is mind-made.
If with an impure mind
one performs any action of speech or body,
then suffering will follow that person
as the cartwheel follows the foot of the draught animal.

Mind precedes all phenomena,
mind matters most, everything is mind-made.
If with a pure mind
one performs any action of speech or body,
then happiness will follow that person
as a shadow that never departs.

Dhammapada 1.1, 1.2
http://tipitaka.org/romn/cscd/s0502m.mul0.xml#para1


rolling boulder,

I'd say you're right that most of our laughter as worldlings is rooted in an impure mind.

However, a simple example to counter that is laughing with joy at the happiness or success of another.

I'd be careful about limiting your laughter if you're a layman unless you're laughing about really cruel things.
Peace,
James
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Re: Laughter

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Feb 23, 2014 8:14 pm

This is my all-time favorite comic:

Image

It's almost as if there is scientific process like kamma or gravity that for every hour laughing eventually gets followed by one hour of crying, or similar time increment. Look at the party-goers and what happens to them in the next day or days; the fights over who said what to who, the jealousy, the cliques, etc.
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Re: Laughter

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Feb 23, 2014 10:10 pm

From the Ruṇṇasuttaṃ, Anguttaranikāya, Book of Threes
“Ruṇṇamidaṃ, bhikkhave, ariyassa vinaye yadidaṃ gītaṃ. Ummattakamidaṃ, bhikkhave, ariyassa vinaye yadidaṃ naccaṃ. Komārakamidaṃ, bhikkhave, ariyassa vinaye yadidaṃ ativelaṃ dantavidaṃsakahasitaṃ. Tasmātiha, bhikkhave, setughāto gīte, setughāto nacce, alaṃ vo dhammappamoditānaṃ sataṃ sitaṃ sitamattāyā”ti.

Singing, monks, is crying in the Noble One's discipline. Dancing, monks, is madness in the Noble One's discipline. Excessive laughter showing the teeth, monks,is childishness in the Noble One's discipline.Therefore, monks, in regard to singing and dancing, break the bridge (i.e. do not indulge in them at all). When rejoicing in the Dhamma, to smile is enough.
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Re: Laughter

Postby SarathW » Mon Feb 24, 2014 12:32 am

David N. Snyder wrote:This is my all-time favorite comic:

Image

It's almost as if there is scientific process like kamma or gravity that for every hour laughing eventually gets followed by one hour of crying, or similar time increment. Look at the party-goers and what happens to them in the next day or days; the fights over who said what to who, the jealousy, the cliques, etc.


I have seen people who are crying loud start laughing soon after! :lol:
Bit more info about laughter.
===============
26. Hasituppàda is a Citta peculiar to Arahants.
Smiling is caused by a pleasurable feeling. There are thirteen
classes of consciousness by which one may smile
according to the type of the person. An ordinary worldling
(puthujjana) may laugh with either one of the four
types of Cittas rooted in attachment, accompanied by
pleasure, or one of the four Kusala Cittas, accompanied
by pleasure.
Sotàpannas, Sakadàgàmãs, and Anàgàmãs may smile
with one of the two Akusala Cittas, disconnected with false
view, accompanied by pleasure, or with one of the four
Kusala Cittas.
Arahants aõd Pacceka Buddhas may smile with
one of the four Sobhana Kiriya Cittas16 or Hasituppàda.
Sammà Sambuddhas smile with one of the two
Sobhana Kiriya Cittas, accompanied by wisdom and
pleasure.
There is nothing but mere mirth in the Hasituppàda
consciousness.
The Compendium of Philosophy states: “There are
six classes of laughter recognised in Buddhist works;
(1) Sita:— a smile manifesting itself in expresslon and
countenance; (2) Hasita:— a smite consisting in the
slight movements of the lips just enough to reveal the
tips of the teeth; (3) Vihasita:— laughter giving out a
light sound; (4) Upahasita:— laughter accompanied by
the movement of the head, shoulders, and arms;
(5) Apahasita:— laughter accompanied by the shedding
of tears; and (6) Atihasita:— an outburst of laughter
accompanied by the forward and backward movements
of the entire body from head to foot. Laughter is thus a
form of bodily expression (kàyavi¤¤atti), which may or
may not be accompanied by vocal expression
(vacãvi¤¤atti). Of these, the first two classes are
indulged in by cultured persons, the next two by the
average man, and the last two by the lower classes of
beings.”

Page 48:
http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/abhidhamma.pdf
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Re: Laughter

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Feb 24, 2014 3:12 am

The Path of Discrimination (Patisambhidamagga by Sariputta and the twelfth book of the Sutta Pitaka's Khuddaka Nikaya) p. 372, para XXI 17 states: "With much laughter, blitheness, content and gladness he realizes the ultimate meaning, nibbana, thus it is laughing understanding."

Emma Goldman, the Lithuanian anarchist is attributed with saying: "If I can't dance, I don't want your revolution!" And if I cannot laugh, I do not want your awakening.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Laughter

Postby Mkoll » Mon Feb 24, 2014 4:12 am

tiltbillings wrote:The Path of Discrimination (Patisambhidamagga by Sariputta and the twelfth book of the Sutta Pitaka's Khuddaka Nikaya) p. 372, para XXI 17 states: "With much laughter, blitheness, content and gladness he realizes the ultimate meaning, nibbana, thus it is laughing understanding."

Emma Goldman, the Lithuanian anarchist is attributed with saying: "If I can't dance, I don't want your revolution!" And if I cannot laugh, I do not want your awakening.


Peace,
James
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Re: Laughter

Postby Aloka » Mon Feb 24, 2014 7:26 am

In my experience it is very rare to experience laughter without other harmful mental formations.

Laughter also creates a lot of noise, and draws attention.


I laugh spontaneously with babies and small children - and at the sight of fox-cubs playing and chasing each other in my garden. Where are the harmful mental formations ?

I've also been told by friends that hearing me laugh cheers them up.

I can't imagine what it would be like in a world without any laughter.
.
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Re: Laughter

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Feb 24, 2014 7:43 am

Aloka wrote:

I can't imagine what it would be like in a world without any laughter.
.
Cromwellian.

Image
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Laughter

Postby cooran » Mon Feb 24, 2014 7:44 am

Hello all,

An brief article I came across - mentioning Theravada and Mahayana teachings on laughter and how they arose.

Laughter and buddhism
http://soraj.wordpress.com/2008/04/02/l ... -buddhism/

With metta,
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: Laughter

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Feb 24, 2014 7:59 am

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Laughter

Postby pegembara » Mon Feb 24, 2014 8:17 am

Is laughter right speech? Can laughter be done with metta?

Sure it can.

Image
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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Re: Laughter

Postby cooran » Mon Feb 24, 2014 8:22 am

Laughter can be etiquette, happy, gentle, anxious, and cruel - and many more things

10 different types of laughter
http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/5 ... tm#page=10

With metta,
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: Laughter

Postby Kare » Mon Feb 24, 2014 9:41 am

tiltbillings wrote:The Path of Discrimination (Patisambhidamagga by Sariputta and the twelfth book of the Sutta Pitaka's Khuddaka Nikaya) p. 372, para XXI 17 states: "With much laughter, blitheness, content and gladness he realizes the ultimate meaning, nibbana, thus it is laughing understanding."

Emma Goldman, the Lithuanian anarchist is attributed with saying: "If I can't dance, I don't want your revolution!" And if I cannot laugh, I do not want your awakening.


:goodpost:
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Re: Laughter

Postby Aloka » Thu Feb 27, 2014 4:02 pm

"Hello happiness" with Ajahn Brahm (less than 6 minutes)

"When we laugh we all laugh together"

"Exercise your smiling muscles!"





:anjali:
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Re: Laughter

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Feb 27, 2014 5:39 pm

Just to clarify my post above about upekkha; I was responding to the quote in the OP about partying and going to a party. Otherwise, I am all in favor of a good laugh, good comedy, etc. I also find some instances of humor in the Suttas which have been discussed here and in other threads. Laughter and smiling can be useful and it is contagious (in a good way). And I like Ajahn Brahm, the "Seinfeld of Buddhism."
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Re: Laughter

Postby waterchan » Thu Feb 27, 2014 7:42 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:Otherwise, I am all in favor of a good laugh, good comedy, etc. I also find some instances of humor in the Suttas which have been discussed here and in other threads. Laughter and smiling can be useful and it is contagious (in a good way). And I like Ajahn Brahm, the "Seinfeld of Buddhism."


How do you come to terms with the sutta passage that "Laughter is childishness in the Noble One's discipline", and that to just smile is enough? Don't you feel any cognitive dissonance whenever that passage is brought up?
quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur
(Anything in Latin sounds profound.)
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