April Fool’s Day, once a year? Never! I know it’s “cool” to hate on April Fools, these days, but it’s wise to be foolish—& gosh knows the world needs one uncancelable day.
A Buddhist defense of April Fool’s Day.
Below: read an Unconditionally Cheerful April the First, by my mom.
Thanks for rolling with all the silliness today. I’m not engaged, we haven’t sold out or gone out of business, Whole Foods is not launching Whole Mart for poor people, Lululeman stores are not opening up…but popping the self-serious mind out of preconception and into fresh air and delight? A little moment of enlightenment, whether funny or a bit unpleasant. ~ Waylon Lewis.
Not afraid to be a fool!
Don’t be afraid to be a fool!
Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche [a famous Buddhist teacher] always encouraged us with the slogan, “not afraid to be a fool.” This always makes me think of the open-heartedness of a child, and the naïve willingness to extend and entrust that open heart to others.
Yet in buddhadharma 101, basic dharma—we are also encouraged not to trust. The logic goes that: given that everything is impermanent and that everything and everyone changes, we should not trust things or people, even friends. In one of Trungpa Rinpoche’s famous poems he flatly states, “Do not trust.”
The buddhadharma points out that everything is fundamentally groundless. We think we have a secure, stable job, but then there are cutbacks and we are laid off. There are no guarantees. We think we walk on solid earth—but there are earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, fires, and now man made nuclear disasters spewing radiation. Even if we avoid all of these, no insurance can insure us against our own death.
Yet right from the beginning the Shambhala Buddhist teachings encourage us to trust! Given the above, is this foolish? Is Trungpa Rinpoche contradicting himself?
It is worth checking out just in what we are encouraged to trust. We are actually being encouraged to trust the spacious aspect of mind, the continuity of awareness. The Shambhala teachings are all about developing our awareness, intelligence, and unconditional confidence—and trusting in that.
This is much better than trusting in things, which tend to fall apart. And we can trust that they will!
By relaxing into and trusting awareness, the continuity of awareness, the true nature of mind, we discover an inexhaustible source of uplifted energy. From the very beginning, from the first teachings we hear in Shambhala Training Level I, we are encouraged to connect with the unconditional openness of what is called Basic Goodness. This is our fresh starting point whenever we get lost or stuck. Basic Goodness is our unconditional soft spot that is more fundamental than our ignorance of it. It is the opposite of ego—which is our blind spot.
Basic Goodness inspires us to extend awareness and compassion beyond the reference point of self. When we open to Basic Goodness, we feel the essence of what it is to be sentient, to feel, to be awake, and to have the willingness to extend our open heart.
In other words, Basic Goodness inspires us to be vulnerable, and to risk being a fool by questioning, offering, and participating in our world.