How Important is this Impure Body?

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How Important is this Impure Body?

Postby dhammapal » Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:33 am

Hi,

According to the Tibetan tradition a human body is very precious, like a boat escaping the ocean of samsara. The Theravada tradition teaches contemplation on the foulness of 32 parts of the body. What is the purpose of recalling that you are carrying around a liver for example. I guess it would reduce sexual desire and any associated lower rebirth, but would it reduce the wish for a long human life? How important is this impure body?

Thanks / dhammapal.
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Re: How Important is this Impure Body?

Postby Dan74 » Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:35 am

dhammapal wrote:Hi,

According to the Tibetan tradition a human body is very precious, like a boat escaping the ocean of samsara. The Theravada tradition teaches contemplation on the foulness of 32 parts of the body. What is the purpose of recalling that you are carrying around a liver for example. I guess it would reduce sexual desire and any associated lower rebirth, but would it reduce the wish for a long human life? How important is this impure body?

Thanks / dhammapal.


It might be good to distinguish the attachment to the body to making a good use of it, which I guess is what the Tibetan teachers would advocate.
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Re: How Important is this Impure Body?

Postby Ben » Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:40 am

I second what Dan has said.
Furthermore, mind and body are conditioned by and dependent upon the other.
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Re: How Important is this Impure Body?

Postby dhammapal » Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:54 am

Dan74 wrote:
dhammapal wrote:Hi,

According to the Tibetan tradition a human body is very precious, like a boat escaping the ocean of samsara. The Theravada tradition teaches contemplation on the foulness of 32 parts of the body. What is the purpose of recalling that you are carrying around a liver for example. I guess it would reduce sexual desire and any associated lower rebirth, but would it reduce the wish for a long human life? How important is this impure body?

Thanks / dhammapal.


It might be good to distinguish the attachment to the body to making a good use of it, which I guess is what the Tibetan teachers would advocate.

How important is its beauty, agility and strength? Is making the most of a weak body more meritorious (ed. help the world more) than taking for granted a strong one?

Thanks / dhammapal.
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Re: How Important is this Impure Body?

Postby Dan74 » Sun Apr 21, 2013 10:48 am

dhammapal wrote:
Dan74 wrote:
dhammapal wrote:Hi,

According to the Tibetan tradition a human body is very precious, like a boat escaping the ocean of samsara. The Theravada tradition teaches contemplation on the foulness of 32 parts of the body. What is the purpose of recalling that you are carrying around a liver for example. I guess it would reduce sexual desire and any associated lower rebirth, but would it reduce the wish for a long human life? How important is this impure body?

Thanks / dhammapal.


It might be good to distinguish the attachment to the body to making a good use of it, which I guess is what the Tibetan teachers would advocate.

How important is its beauty, agility and strength? Is making the most of a weak body more meritorious (ed. help the world more) than taking for granted a strong one?

Thanks / dhammapal.


I think you need to provide more detail on where you are coming from with this, but on the face of it, my sense would be yes, it is more meritorious to make the most of all you have including the body.

Mind you, this is coming from someone who is very poor at making the most of anything, so take it with a big grain of salt.
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Re: How Important is this Impure Body?

Postby dhammapal » Sun Apr 21, 2013 11:13 am

Dan74 wrote:
dhammapal wrote:How important is its beauty, agility and strength? Is making the most of a weak body more meritorious (ed. help the world more) than taking for granted a strong one?

I think you need to provide more detail on where you are coming from with this, but on the face of it, my sense would be yes, it is more meritorious to make the most of all you have including the body.

Mind you, this is coming from someone who is very poor at making the most of anything, so take it with a big grain of salt.

Yes I need to clarify my question, which I think discussion with other Buddhists will help.

Is it sad that I have a weak body? Or is it a challenge to test my ingenuity?

Thanks / dhammapal.
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Re: How Important is this Impure Body?

Postby Dan74 » Sun Apr 21, 2013 11:35 am

I think we all practice with what we have. "Sad" is extra.
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Re: How Important is this Impure Body?

Postby ilervi » Sun Apr 21, 2013 3:42 pm

It is not like test or similar i think. Do you think that about yourself just for you body?
I have something similar to a weak mind, i think that just relative, if are you looking for
A why of this condition i asked to a monk he said something like: (short laught).
Me: poker face...

Just seriosly if there is a test then you should be tested in yours, so i think you have built it with you own hands.
Tring to have done a costrutive post, peace
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Re: How Important is this Impure Body?

Postby binocular » Sun Apr 21, 2013 7:21 pm

dhammapal wrote:How important is its beauty, agility and strength? Is making the most of a weak body more meritorious (ed. help the world more) than taking for granted a strong one?


Are you also having thoughts like -
"My body is old, weak and ugly. So why should I bother with Dhamma practice?"
or thoughts like
"Even though my body is old, weak and ugly, I can still be better than other people if I practice the Dhamma."

?
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Re: How Important is this Impure Body?

Postby binocular » Sun Apr 21, 2013 7:23 pm

dhammapal wrote: How important is this impure body?


One cannot practice the Dhamma without a body.
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Re: How Important is this Impure Body?

Postby Coyote » Sun Apr 21, 2013 7:33 pm

There is no Dhamma in the unconscious or immaterial worlds. Maybe it might help to reflect on all the benefits the body gives to dhamma practice. For example, without a body we could never hear or read suttas.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
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Re: How Important is this Impure Body?

Postby dhammapal » Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:36 am

binocular wrote:
dhammapal wrote:How important is its beauty, agility and strength? Is making the most of a weak body more meritorious (ed. help the world more) than taking for granted a strong one?

Are you also having thoughts like -
"My body is old, weak and ugly. So why should I bother with Dhamma practice?"
or thoughts like
"Even though my body is old, weak and ugly, I can still be better than other people if I practice the Dhamma."
?

Yes as I said I need to clarify my question. I thought that having a weak body made you a laughingstock but in the Noble Eightfold Path Right Bodily Action is simply refraining from killing, stealing and sexual misconduct which you can observe even with a weak body. Right Effort is more problematic. There is a sutta in the Anguttara Nikaya (can't remember where) about the factors for striving and leaving it until you are weak and old is a problem.

I think the Buddha was pragmatic rather than making sweeping statements about things.

With metta / dhammapal.
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Re: How Important is this Impure Body?

Postby binocular » Mon Apr 22, 2013 10:46 am

dhammapal wrote:I thought that having a weak body made you a laughingstock


Considering someone a laughingstock because they have difficulty in their lives, doesn't seem to be skillful.


/.../
When you see someone who has fallen on hard times, overwhelmed with hard times, you should conclude: 'We, too, have experienced just this sort of thing in the course of that long, long time.'/.../

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: How Important is this Impure Body?

Postby dhammapal » Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:03 am

binocular wrote:
dhammapal wrote:I thought that having a weak body made you a laughingstock

Considering someone a laughingstock because they have difficulty in their lives, doesn't seem to be skillful.
/.../
When you see someone who has fallen on hard times, overwhelmed with hard times, you should conclude: 'We, too, have experienced just this sort of thing in the course of that long, long time.'/.../
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

I should have said "made me a laughingstock", but now that I think about it other people I know who have weak bodies aren't laughingstocks.

I think that the body needs to be attached to if one needs to practice the Dhamma to overcome attachment. If you don't have attachment to the body then you don't need a body but have opened up to the Deathless. Sounds like a Catch-22.

With metta / dhammapal.
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Re: How Important is this Impure Body?

Postby pegembara » Mon Apr 22, 2013 3:11 pm

dhammapal wrote:Hi,

According to the Tibetan tradition a human body is very precious, like a boat escaping the ocean of samsara. The Theravada tradition teaches contemplation on the foulness of 32 parts of the body. What is the purpose of recalling that you are carrying around a liver for example. I guess it would reduce sexual desire and any associated lower rebirth, but would it reduce the wish for a long human life? How important is this impure body?

Thanks / dhammapal.


Contemplation of the body parts is one way to attain samadhi - emptiness of the body in a way similar to analyzing a chariot by breaking it into its components parts. For instance when one is buying a steak or burger, one hardly think that one is eating a "cow".

Or the 5 aggregates(groups) of form, feeling, perception, volition and consciousness. The form aggregate can be further broken up into its components. In the normal course one hardly think of the body as composed of parts but as a solid and beautiful entity.

"Furthermore, the monk reflects on this very body from the soles of the feet on up, from the crown of the head on down, surrounded by skin and full of various kinds of unclean things: 'In this body there are head hairs, body hairs, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, tendons, bones, bone marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, pleura, spleen, lungs, large intestines, small intestines, gorge, feces, bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, skin-oil, saliva, mucus, fluid in the joints, urine.' Just as if a sack with openings at both ends were full of various kinds of grain — wheat, rice, mung beans, kidney beans, sesame seeds, husked rice — and a man with good eyesight, pouring it out, were to reflect, 'This is wheat. This is rice. These are mung beans. These are kidney beans. These are sesame seeds. This is husked rice'; in the same way, the monk reflects on this very body from the soles of the feet on up, from the crown of the head on down, surrounded by skin and full of various kinds of unclean things: 'In this body there are head hairs, body hairs, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, tendons, bones, bone marrow, kidneys, heart, liver, pleura, spleen, lungs, large intestines, small intestines, gorge, feces, bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, skin-oil, saliva, mucus, fluid in the joints, urine.' And as he remains thus heedful, ardent, & resolute, any memories & resolves related to the household life are abandoned, and with their abandoning his mind gathers & settles inwardly, grows unified & centered. This is how a monk develops mindfulness immersed in the body.

"Furthermore, the monk contemplates this very body — however it stands, however it is disposed — in terms of properties: 'In this body there is the earth property, the liquid property, the fire property, & the wind property.' Just as a skilled butcher or his apprentice, having killed a cow, would sit at a crossroads cutting it up into pieces, the monk contemplates this very body — however it stands, however it is disposed — in terms of properties:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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Re: How Important is this Impure Body?

Postby binocular » Tue Apr 23, 2013 8:23 am

dhammapal wrote:If you don't have attachment to the body then you don't need a body but have opened up to the Deathless. Sounds like a Catch-22.


I think there is a difference between not being attached to one's body; and being apathetic about one's body (sloth and torpor). Apathy isn't skillful detachment.
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