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Right: Decorative bridge at Yunmen Temple in China



Zen Humour


The unique logic of Zen insight has given the Zen tradition many humorous, but trues stories as well as some jokes.  Here are a few:



A monk is walking back from a lecture at a distant temple and gets lost on the wrong side of the river.  He needs to get across to get home but cannot find the bridge.  Finally, he sees the Master who gave the lecture on the other side and yells out to him. 

"Master, how do I get to the other side of the river."

The master replies: "Novice; you are on the other side of the river!"

Note:  This one is actually pretty deep; a reference to the ironic closeness of the Nirvana that we search for.

What did the Buddha say to the hot dog vendor?

"Make me one with everything"

Two Zen monks were walking down the road.

First monk says: "These pine trees are magnificent."

The second monk slaps him across the face.

First monk: "Why did you do that?"

"I'm a Zen monk so I can get away with all kinds of weird stuff like that."

A senior teacher at a temple is teaching the monks when an earthquake hits.  The teacher calmly gathers the panicking students and takes them to the kitchen, which is the strongest room in the building.  When the earthquake stops, the teacher has a drink and says to the class:  "Here you se the benefit of Zen training.  While you students panicked, I was able to act logically and even enjoy a glass of water afterwards."

Student: "Teacher, that would be a convincing example except for the fact that you're drinking soy sauce!

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