Saturday, August 26, 2006

Daoism on Laughter


Just as wind shakes the leaves of the bamboo, so too do we laugh in reaction to the world.


Some ascetics do not believe in laughter. They believe laughing is a sin. Tao, however, excludes nothing, including laughter.

It is very important in understanding Tao that we perceive the transient nature of life. Everything is in a state of constant change. Therefore, we can never be complacent. We can never expect places, things, or people to remain static. If we understand that, then we have the opportunity to learn more of Tao. If we do not accept that, then madness swiftly overtakes us.

The ancients understood the ephemeral and advised their students not to take life too seriously. Life changes too quickly for us to dwell overly long on any single aspect.
Things may go one way for a while, only to change quickly and unpredictably. Therefore, the wise realize that there is nothing to be gained by regarding life as immutable. It is far better to accept and work with its ephemeral quality. Then, no matter how difficult things are, we can laugh.

As nothing is permanent, there is nothing to take seriously. As there is nothing to take seriously, we should laugh at the world. As we laugh at the world, we should realize that understanding the changeable nature of life is the swiftest way to joy.


“Laughter” from
Everyday Tao: Living with Balance and Harmony by Deng Ming-Dao, Harper San Francisco, 1996, ISBN 0062513958

3 comments:

Geraldine said...

This really hit home for me, thanks Michelle!

Amit said...

Have you ever heard of Dr Kataria the laughter guru? I saw him live once at the filming of a t.v. show, he was great, the link to his site is on my blog.

He was going over the amazing benefits of laughter also and he was going out onto the streets showing people how to bring more laughter into their lives!

He even showed people how to get into a laughing mood even if they felt they had nothing to laugh about! :)

amyrosaquintana said...

I really like this article! I always laugh, sometimes too much, but it does do my body good!
Amy Quintana