40 | CR Book XII, Chapter 1


Chapter 1 - The body

Much, however, remains to be done before this can be a-
chieved. The step that liberates from selfhood more
decisively than any other is the rejection of the self
infatuated or narcissistic attachment to the body.
"Within this very body, mortal as it is and only six feet
in length, I do declare to you are the world, and the
origin of the world, and the ceasing of the world, and
likewise the Path that leads to the ceasing thereof."

Special exercises teach how to view this body as
repulsive, disgusting and offensive, whether alive or
dead. As - both potentially and actually - oppressive and
burdensome. To look through the appearance of its vital
unity, and, severing the idea of a being, to dwell on the
unfeeling and impartial physical elements and chemical
processes which compose it, and to which the relation to
my dwarfish "I" is but very external, and thus to regard
it as dust, "as like grass, wood, or wall", as sun energy,
as a stage in the nitrogen cycle etc. When the body is
viewed in its essential functioning, the self feels shame
and horror at the greed-created and greed-creating
conditions it has landed itself into, - precariously
placed between the two skins which develop from the
entoderm and ektoderm respectively; certainly not at
its best there, not at its ease; "enslaved so many ways,
with bolts of bone; that fettered stands, in feet, and
manacled in hands. Here blinded with an eye, and there
deaf with the drumming of an ear."

It is nice to find words with which to convince oth-
ers of the emptiness of all conditioned things. It is
more essential to teach one's own body this lesson.
The skin is won over when its comfort is consistently
disregarded and opposed. The alimentary canal by depri-
vation, by three pariññās, and by a 10-point meditation
on the onerous and disgusting aspects of feeding. The
muscles by clear-sighted awareness of their movements
and reactions. The lungs and respiratory system by
rhythmical and mindful breathing. The sense organs by
quite a number of methods: the self, drawing in all the
senses, and restraining then from their wanted pur-
poses and attractions, persistently checks their insat-
iable desire for sights etc. No stimulus is allowed to
enter, unexamined, the doors of senses or mind. The sen-
se organs are systematically deflected from their app-
ropriate objects, not permitted to become entranced with
either their general appearance or their details. The
fettering reactions that arise in dependence on their
contacts with objects are perceived, overcome, cut