- Laughter is not irreligious. Laughter is
one of the most evolved phenomena in human life. No other animal can
laugh, it is only man; it is only man who can laugh.
- To be serious is not only not to be alive,
it is worse than death. Have you ever seen a dead person serious?
Impossible! Seriousness is worse than death. Laughter is life, is
love, is light. Laughter in its purest form is a dance of all your
- In a real deep laughter the mind
disappears. It is not a part of mind or of the heart. When a real
laughter happens -- a belly laughter, as it is called -- then it
comes from your very core; from your very center ripples start
spreading towards your circumference. Just as you throw a rock into
a silent lake and ripples arise and they start moving towards the
source, in the same way real laughter arises from your center and
moves towards your circumference. It is almost like an earthquake!
Each single cell of your body, each fiber dances in tune.
- Laughter has never been used as a
meditation. I may be the first person who is using laughter as a
meditation. Jokes have never been used as part of a spiritual
transformation -- I may be the first person! -- but they can be
used; they are tremendously refreshing.
- Laughter is a great medicine. It is a
tremendously powerful therapy. If you can laugh at your own
unconscious, the unconscious loses its force. In your very laughter
your guilt, your wounds, disappear.
- My own experience says to me that if you
can laugh rightly, in the right moment, it will bring you out of
unconsciousness into the open sky, from the darkness to the light. I
am introducing laughter as a meditation because nothing makes you so
total as laughter; nothing makes you stop your thinking as laughter
does. Just for a moment you are no more a mind. Just for a moment
you are no more in time. Just for a moment you have entered into
another space where you are total and whole and healed.
- Laughter is beautiful when it comes out of
understanding, out of innocence. But when it is hysterical it is
insane and stupid.
- If you really want to laugh you will have
to learn how to weep. If you cannot weep and if you are not capable
of tears, you will become incapable of laughter. A man of laughter
is also a man of tears -- then a man is balanced. A man of bliss is
also a man of silence. A man who is ecstatic is also a man who is
centered. They both go together. And out of this togetherness of
polarities a balanced being is born. And that is what the goal is.
- LAUGHTER is the very essence of religion.
Seriousness is never religious, cannot be religious. Seriousness is
of the ego, part of the very disease. Laughter is egolessness. Yes,
there is a difference between when you laugh and when a religious
man laughs. The difference is that you laugh always about others --
the religious man laughs at himself, or at the whole ridiculousness
of man's being.
- Laughter is a mystery. It is better to
experience it than to hear someone talk about it. But one becomes
curious, "What is laughter?" Laughter is the most intelligent factor
in you. Buffaloes don't laugh, and if you meet a buffalo laughing
you will go mad! Then it will be impossible to bring you to sanity.
No animal laughs. Laughter needs a very sensitive intelligence. It
means that you can understand the ridiculousness of a certain
- When you have a hearty laugh, mind stops,
because mind cannot laugh. It is structured seriously, its function
is to be serious, miserable, sick. The moment you laugh, it does not
come from your mind, it comes from the beyond, from your very inner
spirit. According to me, all the religions have missed one of the
dimensions of the greatest importance, a sense of humor. And they
have made the whole world serious.
- I want my people to fill the world with
laughter, joy, songs, and dances. We are not seeking for any
paradise -- we are seeking how to create the paradise, herenow,
because we are not interested in things after death. If we can
create a paradise herenow, certainly we will be able -- even if we
meet in hell -- to create the paradise there.
- When you become a calm and cool observer
of life you are going to laugh -- not ordinary laughter but a belly
laughter like a lion's roar. And white lotuses will start showering
on you. Life is neither serious nor nonserious. It is a tremendous
- Laughter brings some energy from your
inner source to your surface. Energy starts flowing, follows
laughter like a shadow. Have you watched it? When you really laugh,
for those few moments you are in a deep meditative state. Thinking
stops. It is impossible to laugh and think together. They are
diametrically opposite: either you can laugh or you can think. If
you really laugh, thinking stops. If you are still thinking,
laughter will be just so-so, it will be just so-so, lagging behind.
It will be a crippled laughter.
When you really laugh, suddenly mind disappears. And the whole Zen
methodology is how to get into no-mind -- laughter is one of the
beautiful doors to get to it.
As far as I know, dancing and laughter are the best, natural, easily
approachable doors. If you really dance, thinking stops. You go on
and on, you whirl and whirl, and you become a whirlpool -- all
boundaries, all divisions are lost. You don't even know where your
body ends and where the existence begins. You melt into existence
and the existence melts into you; there is an overlapping of
boundaries. And if you are really dancing -- not managing it but
allowing it to manage you, allowing it to possess you -- if you are
possessed by dance, thinking stops.
The same happens with laughter. If you are possessed by laughter,
thinking stops. And if you know a few moments of no-mind, those
glimpses will promise you many more rewards that are going to come.
You just have to become more and more of the sort, of the quality,
of no-mind. More and more, thinking has to be dropped.
Laughter can be a beautiful introduction to a non-thinking state.
And the beauty is.... There are methods -- for example, you can
concentrate on a flame or on a black dot, or you can concentrate on
a mantra, but the greater possibility is that by the time the mind
is disappearing you will start feeling sleepy, you will fall asleep.
Because before the mind disappears there open two alternatives:
sleep -- sushupti -- and samadhi: sleep and satori.
- In a few Zen monasteries, every monk has
to start his morning with laughter, and has to end his night with
laughter -- the first thing and the last thing! You try it. It is
very beautiful. It will look a little crazy -- mm? -- because so
many serious people are all around. They will not understand. If you
are happy, they always ask why. The question is foolish! If you are
sad, they never ask why. They take it for granted -- if you are sad,
it's okay. Everybody is sad. What is new in it? Even if you want to
tell them, they are not interested because they know all about it,
they themselves are sad. So what is the point of telling a long
story? -- cut it short!
But if you are laughing for no reason, then they become alert --
something has gone wrong. This man seems to be a little crazy
because only crazy people enjoy laughter; only in madhouses will you
find crazy people laughing. This is unfortunate, but this is so.
- Laughter is prayer. If you can laugh you
have learnt how to pray. Don't be serious; a serious person can
never be religious. Only a person who can laugh, not only at others
but at himself also, can be religious. A person who can laugh
absolutely, who sees the whole ridiculousness and the whole game of
life, becomes enlightened in that laughter.
- It is said that when Hotei attained
enlightenment he started laughing. He lived at least thirty years
afterwards; he continued laughing for thirty years. Even in sleep
his disciples would hear him giggling. His whole message to the
world was laughter; he would go from one town to another just
laughing. He would stand in one marketplace, then in another, just
laughing, and people would gather. His laughter had something of the
beyond -- a Buddha's laughter. He is known in Japan as 'the laughing
His laughter was so contagious that whosoever heard it would start
laughing. Soon the whole marketplace would be laughing; crowds would
gather and laugh and they would ask him, "Just give us a few
instructions." He would say, "Nothing more, this is enough. If you
can laugh, if you can laugh totally, it is meditation." Laughter was
his device. It is said many people became enlightened through
Hotei's laughter. That was his only meditation: to laugh and help
- Laughter is one of the things most
repressed by society all over the world, in all the ages. Society
wants you to be serious. Parents want their children to be serious,
teachers want their students to be serious, the bosses want their
servants to be serious, the commanders want their armies to be
serious. Seriousness is required of everybody. Laughter is dangerous
When the teacher is teaching you and you start laughing, it will be
taken as an insult. Your parents are saying something to you and you
start laughing -- it will be taken as an insult. Seriousness is
thought to be honor, respect. Naturally laughter has been repressed
so much that even though life all around is hilarious, nobody is
laughing. If your laughter is freed from its chains, from its
bondage, you will be surprised -- on each step there is something
Life is not serious. Only graveyards are serious, death is serious.
Life is love, life is laughter, life is dance, song. But we will
have to give life a new orientation. The past has crippled life very
badly, it has made you almost laughter blind, just like there are
people who are colorblind.