Awakin Readings

Every week, we post a reading from various wisdom traditions, to provoke insights and deeper reflection. Each thought is also accompanied by an illustration and an audio recordings (and often translations in other languages). Explore and enjoy!

If There Is No Self, Whose Arthritis Is This?

--Sylvia Boorstein (Feb 22, 2021)

"If there is no self, whose arthritis is this?" is one of a list of a dozen questions that have been appearing regularly in my email. I think it’s the choice of arthritis, out of all the ills of the world, which makes this particular statement funny. It’s also mildly mocking, making a joke out of the understanding of selflessness. Since mocking is derisive, it occurs to me each time I read it, and chuckle, that perhaps I am being spiritually incorrect. I think, though, that it isn’t a joke about dharma: it’s a joke about jumbling vocabularies. Un-jumbled, in their own contexts, self and no-self, no ego and strong ego, are completely understandable. Twenty-five years ago, when I began my mindfulness practice, I remember hearing my teachers...

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