Meditation on the Body in Chapter 7 of Saddharmasmṛtyupasthānasūtra

Robert Kritzer
2020 Religions  
Saddharmasmṛtyupasthānasūtra is an Indian Buddhist sutra dating to the first half of the first millennium. Chapter 7 of the sutra consists of a very long meditation on the body, unusual in Buddhist literature for its anatomical, especially osteological, detail. The meditation also includes extensive descriptions of many internal worms as well as the internal winds that destroy the worms at the moment of death. The sutra has several elements not found in other Buddhist texts. For example, the
more » ... For example, the Saddharmasmṛtyupasthānasūtra meditation on the body includes extensive descriptions of things in the external world (e.g., rivers, mountains, flowers) and designates them as the "external body". Most strikingly, the meditation on the body found in Saddharmasmṛtyupasthānasūtra differs from the general scholarly perception of Buddhist meditations on the body in that it does not emphasize impurity or generate repulsion. Instead, the sutra guides the meditator through a dispassionate and "scientific" observation of the body and the world.
doi:10.3390/rel11060283 fatcat:okvnxfwotjdzbbsvbpxjx6u3ha