How to properly develop the perception of a skeleton?

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nothingworthgrasping
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How to properly develop the perception of a skeleton?

Post by nothingworthgrasping »

Hi reverends,

I'm a four-precepts lay person with celibacy as the fifth. I've heard that perception of a skeleton when properly cultivated is a suitable subject to prevent lust or delight in forms, I've also heard the story about venerable Tissa saw a skeleton instead of a running woman, but I can't seem to find a super detail instruction in the suttas, the best I can find are these fragments.
https://suttacentral.net/sn46.57/en/sujato wrote: “Mendicants, when the perception of a skeleton is developed and cultivated it’s very fruitful and beneficial. How so? It’s when a mendicant develops the perception of a skeleton together with the awakening factors of mindfulness, investigation of principles, energy, rapture, tranquility, immersion, and equanimity, which rely on seclusion, fading away, and cessation, and ripen as letting go. That’s how the perception of a skeleton, when developed and cultivated, is very fruitful and beneficial.”
https://suttacentral.net/thag1.18/en/sujato wrote: There was an heir of the Buddha,
a monk in Bhesakaḷā forest,
who suffused the entire earth
with the perception of bones.
I think he will quickly
get rid of sensual desire.
Please share suttas, commentaries or sub-commentaries regard to the cultivation of skeleton perception.
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Ceisiwr
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Re: How to properly develop the perception of a skeleton?

Post by Ceisiwr »

Greetings nothingworthgrasping

The Visuddhimagga contains teachings on recollection of a skeleton:
A skeleton: bone (aþþhi) is the same as skeleton (aþþhika). Or alternatively, bone (aþþhi) is vile (kucchita) because of repulsiveness, thus it is a skeleton (aþþhika). This is a term both for a single bone and for a framework of bones...

A skeleton is described in various aspects in the way beginning “As though he were looking at a corpse thrown onto a charnel ground, a skeleton with flesh and blood, held together by sinews” (D II 296). [192] So he should go in the way already described to where it has been put, and noticing any stones, etc., with their surrounding signs and in relation, to the object, he should characterize it by the fact of its having attained that particular individual essence thus, “This is a skeleton,” and he should apprehend the sign in the eleven ways by colour and the rest. But if he looks at it, [apprehending it only] by its colour as white, it does not appear to him [with its individual essence as repulsive], but only as a variant of the white kasióa. Consequently he should only look at it as ‘a skeleton’ in the repulsive aspect. 79. “Mark” is a term for the hand, etc., here, so he should define it by its mark according to hand, foot, head, chest, arm, waist, thigh, and shin. He should define it by its shape, however, according as it is long, short, square, round, small or large. By its direction and by its location are as already described (§39–40). Having defined it by its delimitation according to the periphery of each bone, he should reach absorption by apprehending whichever appears most evident to him. But it can also be defined by its concavities and by its convexities according to the concave and convex places in each bone. And it can also be defined by position thus: “I am standing in a concave place, the skeleton is in a convex place; or I am standing in a convex place, the skeleton is in a concave place.” It should be defined by its joints according as any two bones are joined together. It should be defined by its openings according to the gaps separating the bones. It should be defined all round by directing knowledge to it comprehensively thus: “In this place there is this skeleton.” If the sign does not arise even in this way, then the mind should be established on the frontal bone. And in this case, just as in the case of those that precede it beginning with the worm-infested, the apprehending of the sign should be observed in this elevenfold manner as appropriate.

80. This meditation subject is successful with a whole skeleton frame and even with a single bone as well. So having learnt the sign in anyone of these in the eleven ways, he should bring it to mind as “Repulsiveness of a skeleton, repulsiveness of a skeleton.” Here the learning sign and the counterpart sign are alike, so it is said. That is correct for a single bone. But when the learning sign becomes manifest in a skeleton frame, what is correct [to say] is that there are gaps in the learning sign while the counterpart sign appears whole. [193] And the learning sign even in a single bone should be dreadful and terrifying but the counterpart sign produces happiness and joy because it brings access. 81. What is said in the Commentaries in this context allows that deduction. For there, after saying this, “There is no counterpart sign in the four divine abidings and in the ten kinds of foulness; for in the case of the divine abidings the sign is the breaking down of boundaries itself, and in the case of the ten kinds of foulness the sign comes into being as soon as the repulsiveness is seen, without any thinking about it,” it is again said, immediately next: “Here the sign is twofold: the learning sign and the counterpart sign. The learning sign appears hideous, dreadful and terrifying,” and so on. So what we said was well considered. And it is only this that is correct here. Besides, the appearance of a woman’s whole body as a collection of bones to the Elder Mahá-Tissa through his merely looking at her teeth demonstrates this here (see I.55).
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... on2011.pdf

It would be worth reading the whole section on Foulness as a Meditation Subject, Chapter VI
Last edited by Ceisiwr on Wed Jun 10, 2020 6:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Analysis and synthesis are praised by the wise,
liberation in the Sāsana comes from analysis and synthesis;
the purpose of the method of analysis and synthesis is the ultimate"


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nothingworthgrasping
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Re: How to properly develop the perception of a skeleton?

Post by nothingworthgrasping »

Ceisiwr wrote: Wed Jun 10, 2020 5:40 pm Greetings nothingworthgrasping

The Visuddhimagga contains teachings on recollection of a skeleton:

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... on2011.pdf

It would be worth reading the whole section on Foulness as a Meditation Subject, Chapter VI
Thanks Ceisiwr for pointing out the Vism,

I often skip this book in my study because the language in the book is quite hard to understand and extract information, but it seems that I will have to print out this book as a manual and study more carefully.
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Ceisiwr
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Re: How to properly develop the perception of a skeleton?

Post by Ceisiwr »

nothingworthgrasping wrote: Wed Jun 10, 2020 5:55 pm
Ceisiwr wrote: Wed Jun 10, 2020 5:40 pm Greetings nothingworthgrasping

The Visuddhimagga contains teachings on recollection of a skeleton:

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... on2011.pdf

It would be worth reading the whole section on Foulness as a Meditation Subject, Chapter VI
Thanks Ceisiwr for pointing out the Vism,

I often skip this book in my study because the language in the book is quite hard to understand and extract information, but it seems that I will have to print out this book as a manual and study more carefully.
There is also the Vimuttimagga: http://urbandharma.org/pdf1/Path_of_Fre ... imagga.pdf

If you are also interested in the 32 parts meditation then this meditation guide is based on the Visuddhimagga and is quite useful: https://www.bps.lk/olib/mi/mi022.pdf I particularly like the helpful tables in the appendix.
"Analysis and synthesis are praised by the wise,
liberation in the Sāsana comes from analysis and synthesis;
the purpose of the method of analysis and synthesis is the ultimate"


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Sam Vara
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Re: How to properly develop the perception of a skeleton?

Post by Sam Vara »

I have heard of two different types of practice here. The first is part of asubha practice, as per the Satipatthana Sutta:
Or again, as if he were to see a corpse cast away in a charnel ground, picked at by crows, vultures, & hawks, by dogs, hyenas, & various other creatures... a skeleton smeared with flesh & blood, connected with tendons... a fleshless skeleton smeared with blood, connected with tendons... a skeleton without flesh or blood, connected with tendons... bones detached from their tendons, scattered in all directions — here a hand bone, there a foot bone, here a shin bone, there a thigh bone, here a hip bone, there a back bone, here a rib, there a breast bone, here a shoulder bone, there a neck bone, here a jaw bone, there a tooth, here a skull... the bones whitened, somewhat like the color of shells... piled up, more than a year old... decomposed into a powder: He applies it to this very body, 'This body, too: Such is its nature, such is its future, such its unavoidable fate.'
I have been advised to treat this one with caution and go slowly, particularly if one is feeling a bit gloomy or depressed, but I have not really practiced it myself.

The other one was recommended for me, and involves scanning one's own body from end to end, imagining the bones as they actually are in the current posture. One needs first to get a sense of what bones are like, and the structure of the human skeleton, if one does not already have a fair idea. No need to be minutely anatomically correct; just things like the difference between upper and lower limbs (one bone upper, two parallel in lower...) and a hole in the skull rather than a protruding bone for the nose, etc. The bones are envisioned as off-white and dry; the scanning attention moves from top to toe and back again "as fast as an old-fashioned photocopier", as it was explained to me!

I did this practice for some time, and found it beneficial. Even thinking about it now makes me want to resume it!
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Re: How to properly develop the perception of a skeleton?

Post by confusedlayman »

nothingworthgrasping wrote: Wed Jun 10, 2020 5:17 pm Hi reverends,

I'm a four-precepts lay person with celibacy as the fifth. I've heard that perception of a skeleton when properly cultivated is a suitable subject to prevent lust or delight in forms, I've also heard the story about venerable Tissa saw a skeleton instead of a running woman, but I can't seem to find a super detail instruction in the suttas, the best I can find are these fragments.
https://suttacentral.net/sn46.57/en/sujato wrote: “Mendicants, when the perception of a skeleton is developed and cultivated it’s very fruitful and beneficial. How so? It’s when a mendicant develops the perception of a skeleton together with the awakening factors of mindfulness, investigation of principles, energy, rapture, tranquility, immersion, and equanimity, which rely on seclusion, fading away, and cessation, and ripen as letting go. That’s how the perception of a skeleton, when developed and cultivated, is very fruitful and beneficial.”
https://suttacentral.net/thag1.18/en/sujato wrote: There was an heir of the Buddha,
a monk in Bhesakaḷā forest,
who suffused the entire earth
with the perception of bones.
I think he will quickly
get rid of sensual desire.
Please share suttas, commentaries or sub-commentaries regard to the cultivation of skeleton perception.
in real life, when u look at people look their teeth or upper area of teeth (the red part).. one monk saw something like that and reached arhant if my memory didnt fail me..

the thing is when u see someone u see their skin which is immediate contact and skeleton perception comes after seeing skin first.. hence if there is no mindfullness, then feeling related from seeing skin or shape will increase and if u grasp u go away from nibbana
dont think
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salayatananirodha
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Re: How to properly develop the perception of a skeleton?

Post by salayatananirodha »

if you're on facebook i made a secret group for sharing asubha and maranasati meditation objects
16. 'In what has the world originated?' — so said the Yakkha Hemavata, — 'with what is the world intimate? by what is the world afflicted, after having grasped at what?' (167)

17. 'In six the world has originated, O Hemavata,' — so said Bhagavat, — 'with six it is intimate, by six the world is afflicted, after having grasped at six.' (168)

- Hemavatasutta


links:
https://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/index.htm
http://thaiforestwisdom.org/canonical-texts/
http://seeingthroughthenet.net/wp-conte ... _Heart.pdf
https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html
sentinel
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Re: How to properly develop the perception of a skeleton?

Post by sentinel »

nothingworthgrasping wrote: Wed Jun 10, 2020 5:17 pm Hi reverends,

I'm a four-precepts lay person with celibacy as the fifth. I've heard that perception of a skeleton when properly cultivated is a suitable subject to prevent lust or delight in forms, I've also heard the story about venerable Tissa saw a skeleton instead of a running woman, but I can't seem to find a super detail instruction in the suttas, the best I can find are these fragments.
https://suttacentral.net/sn46.57/en/sujato wrote: “Mendicants, when the perception of a skeleton is developed and cultivated it’s very fruitful and beneficial. How so? It’s when a mendicant develops the perception of a skeleton together with the awakening factors of mindfulness, investigation of principles, energy, rapture, tranquility, immersion, and equanimity, which rely on seclusion, fading away, and cessation, and ripen as letting go. That’s how the perception of a skeleton, when developed and cultivated, is very fruitful and beneficial.”
https://suttacentral.net/thag1.18/en/sujato wrote: There was an heir of the Buddha,
a monk in Bhesakaḷā forest,
who suffused the entire earth
with the perception of bones.
I think he will quickly
get rid of sensual desire.
Please share suttas, commentaries or sub-commentaries regard to the cultivation of skeleton perception.
Hi friend ,

Perhaps the easiest way that i know to attain the state of skeleton vision is through attending to white kasina meditation . Once your development of white kasina successful you are ready for white skeleton .
You always gain by giving
bodhifollower
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Re: How to properly develop the perception of a skeleton?

Post by bodhifollower »

Feel every bone in your body with your hand. This will take many weeks to accomplish. When you have felt every bone, further refine the practice. Feel every part of every bone. You can also knock on the bones to hear the sound of bone. Note the range of motion of each bone. How does each bone move. Which bone does it connect to? Download pictures of skeletons to look at. Try to feel each bone in your body that is on the pictures. That way you know it's real.
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Re: How to properly develop the perception of a skeleton?

Post by rhinoceroshorn »

salayatananirodha wrote: Sun Jun 14, 2020 6:27 am if you're on facebook i made a secret group for sharing asubha and maranasati meditation objects
:o
I imagine the gore content shared. :jumping: :stirthepot:
Without resistance in all four directions,
content with whatever you get,
enduring troubles with no dismay,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
Sutta Nipāta 1.3 - Khaggavisana Sutta
Image
But if they hit you with a stick...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't hit me with a knife.'..."
"But if they hit you with a knife...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't take my life with a sharp knife.'..."
SN35.88
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rightviewftw
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Re: How to properly develop the perception of a skeleton?

Post by rightviewftw »

I don't know what is the proper way but i keep it simple by visualizing a skeleton basically.

In my experience as one starts to visualize the split open corpse, bloated, maggots, the skeleton and etc, one will develop some go-to-visuals which one can explore and these become the meditation object. It takes some time to develop these but not very long.

One might ie have a fairly vivid visual of a skull in a certain circumstance. One can then develop that visual further by giving it more attention and visualizing the rest of the skeleton. This initial skull-visual remains available for recall on a later occasion.
'Bhikkhus, possessing three qualities, a bhikkhu is practicing the unmistaken way and has laid the groundwork for the destruction of the taints. What three? Here, a bhikkhu guards the doors of the sense faculties, observes moderation in eating, and is intent on wakefulness. He should develop perception of unattractiveness so as to abandon lust... good will so as to abandon ill will... mindfulness of in-&-out breathing so as to cut off distractive thinking... the perception of inconstancy so as to uproot the conceit, 'I am.
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Re: How to properly develop the perception of a skeleton?

Post by frank k »

Some great excerpts from thai forest masters (in ajahn mun tradition) and vimuttimaagga. You'll want to stay away from Visuddhimagga as much as possible.

http://lucid24.org/sted/31asb/book/index.html


As far as EBT sources, AN 6.29 is probably the most detail you'll get.
http://lucid24.org/an/an06/an06-0029/index.html


But there are some crucial workings under the hood you won't pick up on unless you really study it carefully. The order the 6 topics are listed matters -
You can practice skeleton image contemplation using imagination, and that's useful for developing conceptual overcoming of lust for subha nimittas, but what the EBT sutta and the meditation masters are really talking about, is actually seeing an image of your skeleton (or another being's skeleton) with your eyes closed in meditation.

And that ability won't happen unless you really charge up your jhana battery, until you see bright white light that's so bright, it's hard to sleep, and you'll need very little sleep, like 1 to 3 hours a night because you meditate so much.

And most people won't be able to charge up the jhana battery unless they have some proficiency with the first 3 jhanas, though it is possible to open up the divine eye, 3rd eye area without having 3 jhanas. I.e., meditatation can be painful without energy channels opened, but you can open up the third eye.

If you're celibate, meditate correctly, can do jhana, are in reasonable health, you should be able to do this anywhere between 3 months to a few years, depending on your age, health, etc.
www.lucid24.org/sted : ☸Lucid24.org🐘 STED definitions
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Re: How to properly develop the perception of a skeleton?

Post by rhinoceroshorn »

frank k wrote: Thu Sep 03, 2020 1:23 pm Some great excerpts from thai forest masters (in ajahn mun tradition) and vimuttimaagga. You'll want to stay away from Visuddhimagga as much as possible.
:goodpost: :oops:
Without resistance in all four directions,
content with whatever you get,
enduring troubles with no dismay,
wander alone
like a rhinoceros.
Sutta Nipāta 1.3 - Khaggavisana Sutta
Image
But if they hit you with a stick...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't hit me with a knife.'..."
"But if they hit you with a knife...?"
"...I will think, 'These people are very civilized, in that they don't take my life with a sharp knife.'..."
SN35.88
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Mahabrahma
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Re: How to properly develop the perception of a skeleton?

Post by Mahabrahma »

Buddhist Dharma Bone Mala beads are widely available on the internet, and it is possible to get Buddhist Human Bone Mala beads as well. The Malas I have I chant on from time to time, and I feel great Love and Metta in doing so, feeling the honour and respect of where they came from. If you are familiar with any Buddhist Mantra meditations, or you like to do some, it would be helpful to look into getting a 108 bead Bone Mala, in that way you could do powerful meditation on the Buddha while chanting, and also respect the skeletal aspect you are looking for, which would become intrinsic. If you Google "Bone Mala" you will find there are many different websites selling such beads, and you can look for yourself for the kind you are interested in. However, I would only buy from clear Buddhist run websites that are clearly run by Monks or practicing Buddhists who are in line with Temples where the bones have been gotten ethically from charnel grounds and donated bodies, from websites such as www.TibetanSpirit.com .


Here is where I got my beads.
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