Monday, October 29, 2018

Contemplating the Body

Ajahn Mun (original flawed translation by Ven. Thanissaro) via Ven. Sujato (; edited by Dhr. Seven, Dhamma Teacher Aloka, Crystal Q., Wisdom Quarterly
"Alas, before long this body, deprived of consciousness, will lie strewn on the earth, discarded, just like a useless log" - Dhammapada, Verse 41 (
Not me, baby! I'ma last forever!
The contemplation of the body is a practice sages -- including the Buddha -- have described in many ways.

For example, in the "Great [Fourfold] Establishing of Mindfulness" Sutra, the Buddha calls the contemplation of the body a support (or "frame of reference") for establishing mindfulness using this very body.

Among the root subjects of meditation taught to new monastics at the beginning of the ordination ceremony, a preceptor instructs them to mindfully contemplate:
  1. head hairs
  2. body hairs
  3. nails
  4. teeth
  5. skin.
When organism overtake the immune system
In the Buddha's first ever sutra, the "Discourse on the Turning of the Wheel of the Dharma," he teaches that birth, aging, and death are disappointing (unwished for, unsatisfactory, painful, hard to accept, hard to endure, displeasing, leading to no fulfillment).

We have all now taken birth, have we not? So when we practice to take these liberating-teachings inwardly, contemplate them, and apply them to ourselves (opanayiko), we are doing well in our practice of the Dharma.

Why? Because the Dharma ("Truth") is akāliko (timeless, immediate, ever present) and āloko (self-evidently clear by day and night, free of anything that would obscure it).

What's the hell? Who stinks?
War criminal Hillary Clinton stinks of foul sulfur.
While residing at Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse 41 of the Dhammapada with reference to Venerable Tissa.
After taking a meditation subject from the Buddha, Ven. Tissa was diligently practicing meditation when he became afflicted with a disease.

Small boils appeared all over his body then developed into big sores. When the sores burst, his robes became sticky, stained with pus and blood. And his body began to stink.

For this reason, he was known as Putigatta Tissa, "Tissa with the stinking body."

Bathed by the Buddha
Another realizes the Truth and is set free.
As the Buddha surveyed his surroundings with the light of wisdom, the monk appeared in his field of vision.

He saw his sorrowful state, abandoned by other monks (his resident pupils) on account of his bad smell.

The Buddha knew Tissa had the capacity to attain full enlightenment. So he proceeded to a shed close to where Tissa was staying.

He boiled fresh water and took it where Tissa was lying down. He took hold of the edge of his cot.

Only then did the resident monks, Tissa's pupils, gather around. And as instructed by the Buddha, they carried Tissa to the shed, where he was bathed and rinsed.

His robes were washed and dried for him. Afterward, Tissa felt fresh in body and mind. Soon he developed one-pointedness of mind in profound concentration.

Standing at the head of the cot, the Buddha said to Tissa that this body, when devoid of life, would be as useless as a log strewn on the earth.

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