In this paper, I try to analyze laughter in Buddhist scriptures and I deal with Mumonkan as the starting point.
We have already an earlier study titled “Laughter in Zen Buddhism” by Sodo Yasunaga which deals with a similar theme. According to the study, Zen can be regarded as a “religion of loud laughter”. It argues that various laughter in Zen scriptures can be classified into three groups. Certainly this classification provides us with an effective framework to put laughter in order. However, it is possible that a way to classify laughter depends on commentators case by case, because it tends to reflect subjective opinions of commentators.
Therefore, in this presentation I put greater emphasis on making clear the system which laughter gives rise to in the context of “Zen Mondo” (or “Koan”) than on presenting a new way to classify concrete cases of laughter.
In this research I point out four factors as the structural factors which such laughter gives rise to. I. A particularity of verbal communication between masters and pupils 2. A close relation between Satori and laughter 3. A dynamic relationship between masters and pupils 4. A cultural background which promotes laughter.