This article offers a perspective on illness that is based on direct experiences with illness and Buddhist practice. The thesis is that illness actually provides people with many opportunities to wake up patience, mindfulness, and wisdom. The author asserts that people with illness can choose to see the following gifts of illness: the gift of tolerance, the gift of mindfulness, the gift of moving toward embodiment, the gift of contemplation, the gift of transcendence, the gift of letting go, and the gift of developing compassion. These gifts of illness are often overlooked in efforts to rid oneself of illness as soon as possible. The author gained an important insight while she was simultaneously ill with inflammatory bowel disease and contemplated Buddhist teachings: The suffering from illness can be transformed into awareness, compassion, and love.

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