Filed in Vipassana

When the Student is Ready, the Teacher Bites

A mosquito helps find clarity in discomfort

Larry Rosenberg

Wisdom Collection

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Michael S. WertzSome years ago, my first Buddhist teacher got permission for me to do a retreat in Korea that is usually attended only by monks. I was the only layperson there, an American at that, and we took a vow not to move while sitting. There was a great deal of ego involved. I felt as if I were sitting there holding the flag. The official American meditator of the Olympic games.

At the beginning of one morning sitting, after the first minute or so, I was bitten by a mosquito. This is a rather ordinary event, but it marked a major turning point in my practice. I am actually deeply grateful to that Korean mosquito. She was just doing her job, of course. She was being a mosquito. But the bite really started to itch. I didn’t think I could stand it. There I sat, with 58 minutes between me and the opportunity to scratch.

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