Sunday, August 02, 2015

Visuddhimagga Ch. 6 highlights

Highlights from today's study of the Visuddhimagga (Chapter 6, meditation on repulsiveness):


    Establishing his mindfulness well, he should remove his fears in this way: “No dead body gets up and pursues one. If that stone or that creeper close to it were to come, the body might come too; but since that stone or that creeper does not come, the body will not come either. Its appearance to you in this way is born: of your perception, created by your perception. Today your meditation subject has appeared to you. Do not be afraid, bhikkhu.” He should laugh it off and direct his mind to the sign.


    And owing to his abandoning of approval, ill will is abandoned too, as pus is with the abandoning of blood.

    For a living body is just as foul as a dead one, [195] only the characteristic of foulness is not evident in a living body, being hidden by adventitious embellishments.

    This is the body’s nature: it is a collection of over three hundred bones, jointed by one hundred and eighty joints, bound together by nine hundred sinews, plastered over with nine hundred pieces of flesh, enveloped in the moist inner skin, enclosed in the outer cuticle, with orifices here and there, constantly dribbling and trickling like a grease pot, inhabited by a community of worms, the home of disease, the basis of painful states, perpetually oozing from the nine orifices like a chronic open carbuncle, from both of whose eyes eye-filth trickles, from whose ears comes ear-filth, from whose nostrils snot, from whose mouth food and bile and phlegm and blood, from whose lower outlets excrement and urine, and from whose ninety-nine thousand pores the broth of stale sweat seeps, with bluebottles and their like buzzing round it, which when untended with tooth sticks and mouth-washing and head-anointing and bathing and underclothing and dressing would, judged by the universal repulsiveness of the body, make even a king, if he wandered from village to village with his hair in its natural wild disorder, no different from a flower-scavenger or an outcaste or what you will. So there is no distinction between a king’s body and an outcaste’s in so far as its impure stinking nauseating repulsiveness is concerned.
    There was a jackal chanced to see
    A flowering kiᚃsuka in a wood;
    In haste he went to where it stood:
    “I have found a meat-bearing tree!”

    He chewed the blooms that fell, but could,
    Of course, find nothing fit to eat;
    He took it thus: “Unlike the meat
    There on the tree, this is no good.”

    A wise man will not think to treat
    As foul only the part that fell,
    But treats as foul the part as well
    That in the body has its seat.

    Fools cannot in their folly tell;
    They take the body to be fair,
    And soon get caught in Evil’s snare
    Nor can escape its painful spell.

    But since the wise have thus laid bare
    This filthy body’s nature, so,
    Be it alive or dead, they know
    There is no beauty lurking there.

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