Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Buddhism and Comedy


Studying Buddhism?  Here's an interesting story about the Buddhist tradition of  "Dana."  That tradition forced this American Buddhist, Wes Nisker, to eventually supplement his income with comedy.

According to the NY Times,  Nisker grew up as a Jew in Nebraska. In the late 60's and 70's,he studied Buddhism and meditation in India, Myanmar, and Thailand. In the United States, he traveled the Buddhist circuit and taught mediation, for free,  practicing  the Buddhist tradition of Dana or generosity.

Needing to earn money, he began writing a few books on Buddhism. But once, again, he was convinced to give the books away as another example of Dana.  Finally, he began adding comedy to his mediation workshops, usually at the beginning or the end of each workshop.  Now, he performs in theaters, traveling the Buddha Belt.

In another story, The Times reviews Nisker performances. They note, "his performance, laced with songs that he has written, manages to make suffering a knee-slapper."  My thanks to Jeff Feinstein for sending the link to this story.

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