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Why is the Buddha Laughing?


"In laughter, we hear the sound of a thousand Buddhas."

Lama Zopa Rinpoche

As the world around us seems to be spinning out of control, and confusion levels continue to rise in the majority of people, the structures that we have depended on for our happiness, and even for our survival, appear to be at risk of collapse.

No one can really guess what might happen next.

This has led many to feel an increasing anxiety and fear rising up within the mind, and a deepening amount of uncertainty about what the future holds for humanity, not to mention for ourselves. Luckily, we have the example of the 'Laughing Buddha' to shake us loose from our fear and ground us in a sense that everything is going to be alright.

All of us are familiar with the statues of the 'Happy Buddha', the jolly, fat man with a cloth sack over his shoulder that is filled with treasures that he gives away freely, to all who cross his path. But who knew that he was an actual man named Bodai (which means 'cloth sack'), who lived in China 1000 years ago? A great question to contemplate, for ourselves, is this: Why is Bodai laughing, and why is he so damn jolly? Just what did he discover that made him so 'light' and free?

Like many other Taoist and Buddhist sages that have lived before and since, Bodai obviously took nothing personally or too seriously, though he wandered about without a home, a car or a job!

Perhaps as we look deeply into these questions for ourselves, we too can discover the ease and cheerfulness of our true 'Buddha Nature', which is free of the minds constant worry and fear about the future, and doesn't take anything too seriously. Perhaps we can live from a space of greater open-heartedness, and move through life in a way that natually serves all beings with loving-kindness, while giving generously to everyone we encounter. Perhaps as we contemplate why the Buddha is laughing, we will encounter our own 'enlightenment', and find that it simply means to 'lighten up', too stop taking life so seriously, and bring the 'treasures' of unconditional Joy and love to every moment, and every person that we encounter along the Way.

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