Zentraveler on clowning around about death!

Religion always has it’s serious side, however by studying Zen Buddhism it is evident that the opposite side is just as important and has played a big role with the Zen masters and scholars throughout history. If you ever watched the Dali Lama he is always laughing about something. Those in the know suggest that the level of enlightenment allows you this luxury and really means if you knew what I knew about the afterlife— you would laugh too.

This also translates into: Don’t take yourself too seriously and why even be concerned about earthy matters when all you need to do is live a good life and help the planet and everything will transform automatically.

When Steve Martin was the warm up act in Aspen, Colorado for The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band he used to wear the arrow through his head and through clowning around would get everyone in the audience to laugh. Then their was deadpan silence from Steve Martin who belted out: ” What are you laughing at—– you are all going to die anyway!”

The figure of the clown which stands out here in relation to the person of the master emerges just as clearly in the various tales of Zen monks at the point of death. The classic instance is that of Teng Yinfeng who, when he was about to die, asked, “I have seen monks die sitting and lying, but have any died standing?” “Yes, some,” was the reply. “How about upside down?” “Never have we seen such a thing!” Whereupon Teng stood on his head and died. When it was time to carry him to the funeral pyre he remained upside-down, to the wonder of those who came to view the remains, and the consternation of those who would dispose of them. Finally his younger sister, a nun, came and, grumbling at him, said, “When you were alive you took no notice of laws and customs, and even now that you are dead you are making a nuisance of yourself!” With that she poked him with her finger, felling him with a thud, and the procession carried him away to the crematorium.

In this way Teng, assuming what, from the remarks of his sister, was the not unfamiliar role of the clown, expressed his achievement of spiritual freedom, his liberation from a desperate clinging to life and anxiety over self, and therefore his transcendence of the problem of death. There is here an element of both a promethean laughter in the face of death and a comic freedom within the larger freedom of enlightenment. The realization of an authentic liberation, as in so much of the Zen tradition, is attested by humor, and the symbol of that liberation is the paradoxical figure of the clown. —–ccbs.ntu.edu.tw

QUOTE: “Do not sweep the fallen leaves, For they are pleasant to hear on clear nights In the wind, they rustle, as if sighing; In the moonlight, their shadows flutter. They knock on the window to wake a traveler; Covering stairs, they hide moss. Sad, the sight of them getting wet in the rain; Let them wither away deep in the mountains.”

– Kim Shi Sup (1435-1493)—–dailyzen.com

THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: In What Sport Did the Winners Win the Clothing of All the Spectators? During the 16th century, the Aztec Indians of Mexico played a game which was similar to our modern basketball. A large stone ring was placed high on the side of the stadium, and the players had to put a solid rubber ball through it.

The team with the greatest number of points was the winner and was entitled to the clothing of all the spectators at the game. The winning team was also entitled to the head of the captain of the losing team, who was executed. This tough game was called Ollamalitzi.—–bigsiteofamazingfacts.com

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE: Space! If we continue sending space-junk into the atmosphere you wouldn’t be able to send an arrow through the clouds with so much space-junk floating around.

ZENTRAVELER SAYS: I have instructed my digestion system to digest and I have instructed my blood to travel around through my body. In reality we are all a part of the rather large universe and many things continue automatically without our interference.

Follow the Zentraveler Blog often for Travel, Health and Zen-like stories and such. Where else can you get a three in one blog for the price of free.

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