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Chapter 13: Don't Make Wicked Jokes

Hence, laughter relaxes. And relaxation is spiritual. Laughter brings you to the earth, brings you down from your stupid ideas of “holier-than-thou.” Laughter brings you to reality as it is. The world is a play of existence, a cosmic joke. And unless you understand it as a cosmic joke you will never be able to understand the ultimate mystery.

I am all for jokes, I am all for laughter.

Atisha has been wrongly translated. What he actually means is: Don’t be violent, even in your words. Even while joking, don’t be violent, because violence breeds more violence, anger will bring more anger, and it creates a vicious circle that has no end.

The fourth:

Don't wait for an opportunity.

Because the opportunity is now, the opportunity is here. So those who say, “We are waiting for an opportunity,” are being deceptive, and they are not deceiving anybody but themselves.

The opportunity is not going to come tomorrow. It has already arrived, it has always been here. It was here even when you were not here. Existence is opportunity; to be is the opportunity.

Don't wait for an opportunity.

Don’t say, “Tomorrow I will meditate, tomorrow I will love, tomorrow I will have a dancing relationship with existence.” Why tomorrow? Tomorrow never comes. Why not now? Why postpone? Postponement is a trick of the mind; it keeps you hoping, and meanwhile the opportunity is slipping by. And in the end you will come to the cul-de-sac - death - and there will be no more opportunity left.

And this has happened many times in the past. You are not new here, you have been born and you have died many, many times. And each time the mind has played the same trick, and you have not yet learned anything.

Atisha says:

Don't wait for an opportunity. Don't strike at the heart.

He says: Criticize people’s minds, criticize their ideologies, criticize their systems of thought, criticize everything - but never criticize anybody’s love, never criticize anybody’s trust. Why? - because love is so valuable, trust is so immensely valuable. To destroy it, to criticize it, to shatter it in any way, is the greatest harm one can do to anybody.

You can criticize the mind - it should be criticized - but not the heart. Whenever you see something of the heart, avoid the temptation to criticize it.