Top 10 Zen Jokes
The top 10 funniest or sharpest Zen jokes.
Posted March 1, 2013 | Reviewed by Jessica Schrader
[Post revised on 3 May 2020.]
1. Seeing his master on the other side of a raging torrent, a student waved his arms and shouted out, "Master, master, how do I get to the other side?"
The master smiled and said, "You are on the other side."
2. A Zen student went to a temple and asked how long it would take him to gain enlightenment if he joined the temple.
"Ten years," said the Zen master.
"Well, how about if I really work hard and double my effort?"
3. One Zen student said, "My teacher is the best. He can go days without eating."
The second said, "My teacher has so much self-control, he can go days without sleep."
The third said, "My teacher is so wise that he eats when he's hungry and sleeps when he's tired."
4. For his 70th birthday, one of his students gave the zen master a big box with a ribbon around it. When the master opened the box, he found that there was nothing inside. "Aha," he exclaimed, "just what I wanted!"
5. An aspiring monk asked to enter a temple and attach himself to a guru.
"Very well," said the guru, "but all students here observe the vow of silence. You will be allowed to speak only once in every 12 years.
After the first 12 years, the student said, "The bed is too hard."
After another 12 years, he said, "The food is not good."
Twelve more years later, after 36 years of hard work and meditation, he said, "I quit."
"Good," snapped his guru, "all you have been doing is complain."
6. The master holds the disciple's head underwater for a long time. The bubbles become fewer, but at the last moment the master pulls out the disciple and revives him: "When you crave truth like you crave air, then you will be ready."
7. Four monks were meditating in a temple when, all of a sudden, the prayer flag on the roof started flapping.
The youngest monk came out of his meditation and said, "Flag is flapping."
The second, more experienced monk said, "Wind is flapping."
The third monk, who had been there for more than 20 years, said, "Mind is flapping."
The fourth monk, who was the eldest, said, "Mouths are flapping!"
8. A novice was loading the larder with flour and oil and, spotting one of the monks under a banyan tree, asked him for help. "Sorry," said the monk, "I'm busy". "But your eyes are shut!" replied the student. "Yes, I'm busy doing nothing. It's much harder than what you're doing. It's what the food is for, it's what the kitchen is for, it's what the temple is for. Don't interrupt me again with your lardering." Hours later, with his task complete, the novice spotted the monk slouching on a bench and said, "Can we talk now?" "No," came the reply, "I haven't finished yet."
9. A Zen master was visiting London. He went up to a hot dog vendor and said, "Make me one with everything."
The vendor fixed up a hot dog with fried onions, gherkins, and mustard and handed it to the Zen master, who paid with a £20 note. The vendor put the note in his register and snapped it shut.
"Excuse me, but where's my change?" asked the Zen master.
"O my brother," said the vendor, "change comes from within."
10. Two old friends met for dinner.
"How's that husband of yours? Is he still unemployed?"
"No, no, not anymore."
"Oh well some good news at least. What does he do now?"
"Now he meditates."
"Meditates! What's that?"
"I'm not sure, but it's better than sitting around doing nothing."
And one last one for the road
Don't walk behind me, for I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me, for I may not follow. Just walk beside me and keep quiet. Or even better, go away.