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OSHO Online Library   »   The Books   »   The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol. 11
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Chapter 8: Laughter: Love, Joy, Gratitude

The first question:

Is it all a joke? But I don’t get it.

Vimalkirti, it certainly is a joke, but you cannot get it. You are German, and not only an ordinary German - you are the great-grandchild of the German emperor! Just think of the old man in his grave: he must be tossing and turning, seeing you in orange, cleaning floors in Pune! What do you think? - is it not a joke? Could your great-grandfather ever have imagined or dreamed that this was going to happen to his own children one day? Impossible that he would have ever dreamed about it - but it has happened.

You have been told for centuries that life is a serious affair; it has become a deep conditioning. Otherwise life is really a joke. It is playfulness, it is leela. It all depends on how you take it. If you take it seriously it becomes serious, but then you suffer - you suffer from your own idea. Life becomes heavy, it becomes a weight, a mountain on your chest; you are crushed underneath it. Life loses all joy, all laughter. You simply drag, you don’t live. How can one live without laughter?

It is man who is the only animal on earth who knows how to laugh. Laughter is the only thing that is special to human beings, not reason but laughter. Animals can also reason - they reason in their own way - but they cannot joke, they cannot laugh, they cannot see the humorous side; that is impossible for them. All animals are serious people and all serious people are animals! The moment you get rid of your seriousness you get rid of your animality.

Hence I have no respect for your saints. They are very serious, far more serious than the donkeys, far more serious than the buffaloes. They have fallen, they have not risen. Your saints are serious, your politicians are serious, your revolutionaries are serious, your scientists are serious. They are all taking life as if somehow one has to pass through it - not dance. The very concept of dance is far away from them. They cannot even walk, they drag. They don’t live, they only slowly die. They are all waiting for death to relieve them of the pain and the suffering of life.

It is very rare to find a human being who has not contemplated committing suicide once or twice. On average, four times in his life every human being thinks of committing suicide. He does not do it, that is another matter. Maybe he has no guts to do it, maybe he is afraid of what is going to happen after death. Who knows? It may be far worse than life itself. At least life is known, familiar; it is risky to move into the unknown.

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