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I am of the nature to age; I have not gone beyond aging.
I am of the nature to sicken; I have not gone beyond sickness.
I am of the nature to die; I have not gone beyond dying.
All that is mine, beloved and pleasing, will become otherwise, will become separated from me.
I am the owner of my kamma, heir to my kamma, born of my kamma, related to my kamma,
abide supported by my kamma.
Whatever kamma I shall do, for good or for ill, of that I will be the heir.
Thus we should frequently recollect.
Ben wrote:Hi Chris
Years ago I had the good fortune to work for a funeral director for a short period of time. I was sent out with another employee to 'pick up business' but in a very short period of time I was doing just about everything bar the administration and meet and greet with the family members. At the end of my three-month employment I was even helping out in the morgue making up bodies for family viewings. At the time I was reminded of the cemetary contemplations within the Satipatthana Sutta and I used the opportunity to make my work part of my practice. I haven't yet had an opportunity to review Buddhagossa's Vissudhimagga or the suttas to verify whether this is the correct approach.
In the interim, I would recommend that you perhaps review the use of observing the characteristic of anicca of vedana. Many of the effects of aging are the increase of unpleasant sensations associated with this or that condition or the loss of this or that function. And for many of us, it is a more visceral and immediate object rather than something than an object that is outside of our own namarupa.
I agree that animal corpses aren't the same as human ones but I don't have the same problem relating to it. This body is not that much different really. I was speaking more of the long term decomposition which is very much as described in the classical meditations on that process. That is more or less the same as I have also noted via my associations with morticians over the years. They have to deal with corpses that are found at various stages, weeks, months or years after the fact. Believe me, a corpse after a couple of weeks is better appreciated from a bit of a distance unless you have a gas mask! That must have been very difficult dealing with mothers who lost their infant children. I know those are strong feelings. My heart goes out to them and to you.Chris wrote:Hello Nathan,
Having had pets and farm animals over the last 25 years, I've seen lots of dead ones - as well as dead native animals and road kill. But I was able to not relate that to "myself".
The corpse of another human being, however, is a different matter. With the babies in birth suites, often the mothers would not give them up for a few days, and one was able to note the colour and smell changes ... which were helpful for the mothers' acceptance of the the reality of what had happened.
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