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Zen and humor

January 21, 2014 - 16:15-18:00

Oslo Buddhist Studies Forum

Lecture by Alon Mark (PhD fellow, Tel Aviv University)


The Zen tradition is known for its intense and grueling practice. The practitioners sit in silence for long hours, try to solve meaningless koans and perform manual labor with vigor. However,  deeper observation will show a lighter and more amusing side to this stern spiritual path. The lecture will deal with two basic aspects of Zen Buddhist humor. The first – humoristic techniques as skillful means (Skt. Upaya ), meaning the didactic use of absurd behaviors and laughter in order to awaken and liberate the disciples’ mind. The second – humor as an expression of a spontaneous way of life. This kind of humor does not have any didactic intent, but appears as a manifestation of inner realization (Jp. Kensho). Through these, the lecture will interpret the eccentric behavior of Zen masters who mock the founding fathers of their own religion.   

Venue: PA Munch’s Hus, room 10, University of Oslo

All are welcome!

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Zen and humor


January 21, 2014