Where is “thingness” to be found?

Standard

Why, O mind, do you protect this body,
Claiming it as though it were yourself?
You and it are each a separate entity,
How ever can it be of use to you?

Why not cling, O foolish mind, to something clean, 
A figure carved in wood, or some such thing?
Why do you protect and guard
An unclean engine for the making of impurity?

First with mind’s imagination,
Shed the covering of the skin,
And with the blade of wisdom, strip
The flesh from the bony frame.

And when you have divided all the bones,
And searched right down amid the very marrow,
You should look and ask the question:
Where is “thingness” to be found?

If persisting in the search,
You should find no underlying object,
Why still cherish – and with such desire-
The fleshly form you now possess?

Its filth you cannot eat, O mind;
Its blood likewise is not for you to drink;
Its innars, too, unsuitable to suck-
This body, what then will you make of it?

As second best, it may be indeed kept
As food to feed the vulture and the fox.
The value of this human form
Lies only in the way it is used. 

– Shantideva

I don’t imagine I’ll win over many minds with this post, but it’s not such a terrible idea to get used to. Although, I personally didn’t find the getting used to it part entirely enjoyable. It definitely gives me a different perspective when I look at “myself” in the mirror.

One response »

  1. Isn’t this quite wonderful: “The value of this human form
    Lies only in the way it is used.” Really, there is so much joy and liberation in this teaching. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s