Five Classic Buddhist Jokes

Here are my retellings of some classic Buddhist jokes. (I’ve heard or seen versions of these jokes in many places; I hope you enjoy seeing them grouped here.)

 

1. What did the Buddhist say to the hot dog vendor?

“Make me one with everything.”

 

2. Student (next to a raging river, with no boat in sight, calling across to his master on the far bank): “Master, how do I get to the other side of this river?”

Master: “You are on the other side.”

 

3. When a master and his student were walking to a distant town, they came upon a woman in a fine dress, standing fretfully at the edge of a river, with no way to cross and stay dry. The student knew that members of his order were not supposed to touch women, so he was shocked when the master picked up the woman, set her on his shoulders, and carried her across, before setting her down on the far side. For the next hour, as the two of them kept walking, the student tried to figure out why the master had done this. Finally, his curiosity got the best of him.

Student: “Master, how could you pick up that woman and carry her across the river?”

Master: “I put her down an hour ago. Why are you still carrying her?”

 

4. A master tells his students to be fully aware of what they are doing. “When someone is talking to you, just listen. When you are driving, just drive. When you eat, just eat.”

That afternoon, a student comes to the dining room and sees the master reading a newspaper and eating a sandwich.

Student: “Master, I thought you said, ‘When you eat, just eat.’”

Master: “Yes. And when you eat and read, just eat and read.”

 

5. A Zen master told me, “Do the opposite of what I tell you.” So I didn’t.

 

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