How to lose your “appetite”?

To curb desires and lusts, Buddha has taught his monks to meditate on the 32 different body parts (which was the first meditation method taught by the Buddha).

They are as below (in English now or Pali language then/ now):

  • Head hair, Body hair, Nails, Teeth, Skin
    (Kesa, Loma, Nakkha, Danta, Taco)
  • Flesh, Sinews, Bones, Bone Marrow, Kidneys
    (Masam, Naharu, Atthi, Atthiminjam, Vakkam)
  • Heart, Liver, Diaphragm, Spleen, Lungs
    (Hadayam, Yakanam, Kilomakam, Pihakam, Papphasam)
  • Large Intestine, Small Intestine, Stomach, Feces, Brain
    (Antam, Antagunam, Udariam, Kerisam, Mattagunam)
  • Bile, Phlegm, Pus, Blood, Sweat, Fat
    (Pittam, Semhan, Pubbo, Lohitam, Sedo, Medo)
  • Tears, Grease, Saliva, Mucus, Oil of the Joints, Urine
    (Assu, Vasa, Kelo, Singhanika, Lasika, Muttam)

(If you are attracted to someone pleasant to your eyes, if you have lust or desire for sensual pleasure with that person, just imagine all of the above of the person and you will lose your “appetite” for that person!   )

You know, I have always been fascinated by the fact that all of the above body parts have been recited around 424 BC.  How did Buddha learn about them hor?  With his psychic powers arh?

According to Wikipedia, the study of human physiology dates back to at least 420 B.C. and the time of Hippocrates, the father of western medicine.  In India too meh??  Hmmmm… wondering, wondering…

It is interesting to note that much effort has been made of the monks to know and understand the body parts, including watching dead bodies decay at the cemeteries during the Buddha’s time!  Scary?  Ahhhh!!!  

Hence, I will not blame them if they get disgusted with their own bodies, least another person’s body ~ so much so that some had committed suicide ….  

In one of the suttas, 

“….Ānanda said to the Buddha: “The Blessed One spoke to the monks on contemplating the absence of beauty, he praised contemplating the absence of beauty. Having cultivated contemplating the absence of beauty, the monks exceedingly loathed their bodies … to be spoken in full up to … he killed sixty monks. Blessed One, this is the reason and the cause why the monks have come to be few, have come to decrease, have come to disappear.

“May the Blessed One give them another teaching so that, having heard it, the monks will diligently cultivate wisdom and delight in receiving the true Dharma, delight in abiding in the true Dharma…..”

Due to the above suicide episode, the Buddha had introduced the Anapanasati method of meditation   as the main method of meditation and reciting the 32 parts of the body is still one method (but no longer the only meditation method).


Below are related Sutta:
Mahasatipatthana Sutta
Satipatthana Sutta


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