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Chapter 9: The Laughing Buddha

Whenever a truth is born, a ray of light, suddenly scholars gather together - intellectuals, professors, philosophers, theoreticians - and they jump upon the truth, they crush it; they mold it into dead theories and scriptures. That which was alive becomes just a paper thing. The real rose disappears.

Once I was staying in a Christian friend’s house. I started looking into his Bible: there was a rose. He must have kept it in the Bible. Many years old - dry, dead, crushed between the pages of the Bible. I started laughing. He came rushing from his bathroom. He said, “What? What are you laughing at? What has happened?”

I said, “The same has happened to truth as has happened to this rose. Between the pages of your Bible, the rose has died. Now it is just a memory of something which was one day alive, just a remembrance. All fragrance gone, all aliveness gone. It is as dead as a plastic flower or a paper flower. It has a history but it has no future. It has a past but it has no possibility. And the same has happened to truth. In the pages of the scriptures it has died.”

The devil said, “Don’t be worried. Take it easy. If people have already reached there - the scholars, the professors - they will immediately crush it.”

When truth happens it is non-verbal, it is silent. It is so profound it cannot be expressed through words. Then sooner or later people will come who will put it into words, who will systematize it. And in their very systematization it is killed.

Hotei lived a totally different life from an ordinary religious man. His whole life was nothing but a continuous laughter. It is said about Hotei that even sometimes in sleep he would start laughing. He had a big belly, and the belly would shake. Sardar Gurudayal Singh would have enjoyed meeting him, and Hotei would have enjoyed Sardar Gurudayal Singh. People would ask him, “Why are you laughing? And even in sleep!” Laughter was so natural to him that any and everything would help him to laugh. Then the whole life, awake or asleep, is a comedy.

You have turned life into a tragedy. You have made a tragic mess of your life. Even when you laugh, you don’t laugh. Even when you pretend to laugh, the laughter is just forced, manipulated, managed. It is not coming from the heart, not at all from the belly. It is not something coming from your center; it is just something painted on the periphery. You laugh for reasons which have nothing to do with laughter.

I have heard:

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