Aphorisms of a Derelict Yogi
Sayings of a modern mystic who was down-on-his-luck
(more about the Yogi)

"You gotta scratch your own balls"

"You gotta scratch your own balls"


The Yogi often said this when people were asking him for help, or expecting someone else to "come to their rescue."

It's not that he wasn't generous with his time. It's that sometimes only that person, the one asking for help, could do what was needed.

He'd say things like, "Everyone wants to get to heaven, but no one wants to climb the ladder."

Or, "You want to be a prize fighter, but you don't want to do the road work."

Or, "How ya gonna swim in the Olympics when you won't even swim laps?"

You get the picture. He was basically saying, if you want to achieve anything worth achieving, it's going to take some work.


The topic being touched on here is the famous distinction called in Japanese "jiriki" (self-power) and "tariki" (other-power).

The Indians call jiriki "the way of the monkey." When a mother monkey travels, the baby must cling to her with all its might.

Tariki is "the way of the kitten," who is carried safely in his mother's mouth and doesn't need to do a thing.

Jiriki is Zen, rajah yoga, asceticism, mystic practice.

Tariki is Pure Land chanting of the name of Amitabha, bhakti yoga, prayer to a savior.

The Yogi clearly favored jiriki.

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1. Is Ananda (and the Yogi) right? Do most people just want the "easy way out"? If so, why do you think this is?

2. Which is more comfortable to you, jiriki or tariki? What benefits and drawbacks does each have?

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