Saturday, January 8

Unwell


Two exits, no waiting.

Mood: Sick
Listening to: "Trouble Me" by Natalie Merchant (10,000 Maniacs)
Reading: "How to Draw the Human Figure"

This is an excellent time for reflecting on the suffering inherent in bodies. This body is subject to aging; it has not gone beyond aging. This body is subject to illness; it has not gone beyond illness. And this body is subject to death; it has not gone beyond death.

The Buddha recommended certain reflections to the monks and nuns during times of sickness. In the Nakulapita Sutta, the Buddha said:

"The body is afflicted, weak, & encumbered. For who, looking after this body, would claim even a moment of true health, except through sheer foolishness? So you should train yourself: 'Even though I may be afflicted in body, my mind will be unafflicted.' That is how you should train yourself."

Venerable Sariputta later amplifies:

"There is the case where an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person -- who has no regard for noble ones, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma; who has no regard for men of integrity, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma -- assumes form (the body) to be the self, or the self as possessing form, or form as in the self, or the self as in form. He is seized with the idea that 'I am form' or 'Form is mine.' As he is seized with these ideas, his form changes & alters, and he falls into sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair over its change & alteration."

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