All children are fools. They are gullible, enjoy the meaningless trifles of life, and seek out adventure without regard to danger.
Then we grow up and become wise in the ways of the world. We become hard to deceive, angrily and continuously focused on the “big picture,” and watch our steps carefully in case a snake lies in the grass or a villain in the bushes. Those who do not are labeled fools by the eyes of worldliness.
This April Fool’s Day, I invite you to become the glad fool. There is a deeper wisdom beyond both the worldly man and the child, and the ways of that wisdom are not so very different from the ways of a child. If you seek to express love in every relationship, your trust will be betrayed and abused. If you enjoy the song of birds and simple pleasure of playtime with the children, you will almost certainly be (gasp) “unproductive” and “wasteful.” If you journey through life knowing that your deepest, truest self cannot be burned or wounded, your physical body may be injured or even die.
But is it really wise to approach everyone with the eyes of empire? To seek dominion?
We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Is it wise to always look toward the future and a fabled land of happiness rather than being a happy traveller?
You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.
Henry David Thoreau
Is it wise to grab at the world and run away from it? To be motivated by fear of the loss you will certainly face anyway? Is not the glad fool of spirit infinitely wiser than the worldly fool?
Long is the night to the sleepless; long is the league to the weary. Long is worldly existence to fools who know not the Sublime Truth.
Should a seeker not find a companion who is better or equal, let him resolutely pursue a solitary course; there is no fellowship with the fool.
The fool worries, thinking, “I have sons, I have wealth.” Indeed, when he himself is not his own, whence are sons, whence is wealth?
A fool who knows his foolishness is wise at least to that extent, but a fool who thinks himself wise is a fool indeed.
Though all his life a fool associates with a wise man, he no more comprehends the Truth than a spoon tastes the flavor of the soup.
Though only for a moment a discerning person associates with a wise man, quickly he comprehends the Truth, just as the tongue tastes the flavor of the soup.
Fools of little wit are enemies unto themselves as they move about doing evil deeds, the fruits of which are bitter.
Ill done is that action of doing which one repents later, and the fruit of which one, weeping, reaps with tears.
Well done is that action of doing which one repents not later, and the fruit of which one, reaps with delight and happiness.
So long as an evil deed has not ripened, the fool thinks it as sweet as honey. But when the evil deed ripens, the fool comes to grief.
Month after month a fool may eat his food with the tip of a blade of grass, but he still is not worth a sixteenth part of the those who have comprehended the Truth.
Truly, an evil deed committed does not immediately bear fruit, like milk that does not turn sour all at once. But smoldering, it follows the fool like fire covered by ashes.
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness.
The fool seeks undeserved reputation, precedence among monks, authority over monasteries, and honor among householders.
“Let both laymen and monks think that it was done by me. In every work, great and small, let them follow me” — such is the ambition of the fool; thus his desire and pride increase.
One is the quest for worldly gain, and quite another is the path to Nibbana. Clearly understanding this, let not the monk, the disciple of the Buddha, be carried away by worldly acclaim, but develop detachment instead.
The Dhammapada – Chapter 5, Fools
This April Fool’s Day, let the fools consider you a fool. It is better to be a glad fool in the eyes of the world than to call yourself wise for creating suffering.