People think of Zen as a humorless religion, but like Christianity, Judaism, and other faiths, Zen has a long tradition of clowns and pranksters. In this enjoyable and thought-provoking talk, Zen master John Daido Loori Roshi tells anecdotes about various ancient and modern Zen teachers who were known for playing the fool. Daido Roshi explores the role of clowns in the Zen tradition, and shows how something deeply profound lies below the surface of a fool's antics. The fool uses mischief to bring one's attention to something more vital, namely the freedom that comes from tapping into one's inner wisdom. He also talks about the importance of having a sense of humor, and the surprising connection between realizing one's true nature and getting a joke. This talk finds Daido Roshi in his best story-telling mode, and offers an enjoyable entry to Zen.
Zen Buddhism emphasizes zazen, or seated meditation, as the means to study the self and understand who we truly are. Dharma talks are an essential aspect of Zen training and take place in the context of zazen. Said to be "dark to the mind and radiant to the heart", a dharma talk is one of the ways in which a teacher points directly to the heart of the teachings of the Buddha. In our meditation practice, it is easy to get lost in self-doubt, fantasy, numbness, and emotional agitation. Dharma talks help to ground our practice, providing inspiration and an essential recognition of exactly where we find ourselves, so that we can learn to face difficulties and obstacles with a free and flexible mind. This talk was given at Zen Mountain Monastery or the Zen Center of New York City of the Mountains and Rivers Order of Zen Buddhism, founded in 1980 by the late American Zen Master John Daido Loori, Roshi (1931-2009).
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