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Girimānanda Suttaṃ

(A.v.108)

A Discourse to Girimānanda

60. Thus have I heard — at one time the Blessed One was dwelling at Sāvatthi, in Prince Jeta’s grove, in the monastery of Anāthapiṇḍika. Then on that occasion the Venerable Girimānanda was sick, grievously ill, and in great pain. Then the Venerable Ānanda approached the Blessed One, and having approached, he paid homage to the Blessed One and sat down at one side. Sitting at one side, the Venerable Ānanda said to the Blessed One: “Venerable sir, the Venerable Girimānanda is sick, grievously ill, and in great pain. It would be good, venerable sir, if the Blessed One would approach the Venerable Girimānanda out of compassion.”

“If, Ānanda, you relate these ten perceptions to the Venerable Girimānanda it is possible that having heard them his disease will be allayed. [109] What ten? The perception of impermanence, the perception of not-self, the perception of repulsiveness, the perception of danger, the perception of abandoning, the perception of dispassion, the perception of cessation, the perception of disenchantment with the entire world, the perception of dispassion regarding all mental formations, and mindfulness of breathing.

“What, Ānanda, is the perception of impermanence? Here, Ānanda, a monk, having gone to a forest, or the root of a tree, or an empty place, reflects thus: ‘Form is impermanent, feeling is impermanent, perception is impermanent, mental formations are impermanent, consciousness is impermanent.’ Thus he dwells contemplating impermanence in these five aggregates of attachment. This, Ānanda, is called the perception of impermanence. (1)

“What, Ānanda, is the perception of not-self? Here, Ānanda, a monk, having gone to a forest, or the root of a tree, or an empty place, reflects thus: ‘The eye is not-self, forms are not-self, the ear is not-self, sounds are not-self, the nose is not-self, odours are not-self, the tongue is not-self, flavours are not-self, the body is not-self, touches are not-self, the mind is not-self, ideas are not-self.’ Thus he dwells contemplating not-self in these six internal and external sense-bases. This, Ānanda, is called the perception of not-self. (2)

“What, Ānanda, is the perception of repulsiveness? Here, Ānanda, a monk, having gone to a forest, or the root of a tree, or an empty place, considers this body from the bottom of the soles of the feet to the top of the head hairs: ‘There are in this body: head hairs (kesā), body hairs (lomā), nails (nakkhā), teeth (dantā), skin (taco), flesh (maṃsaṃ), sinews (nhāru), bones (aṭṭhi), bone-marrow (aṭṭhimiñjaṃ), kidney (vakkaṃ), heart (hadayaṃ), liver (yakanaṃ), pleural membrane (kilomaka), spleen (pihakaṃ), lungs (papphāsaṃ), intestine (antaṃ), bowels (antaguṇaṃ), stomach (udariyaṃ), undigested food (karīsaṃ), bile (pittaṃ), phlegm (semhaṃ), pus (pubbo), blood (lohitaṃ), sweat (sedo), fat (medo), tears (assu), grease (vasā), saliva (kheḷo), mucus (siṅghāṇikā), synovial fluid (lasikā), urine (mutta).’ Thus he dwells contemplating repulsiveness in this body.¹ This, Ānanda, is called the perception of repulsiveness. (3)

“What, Ānanda, is the perception of danger? Here, Ānanda, a monk, having gone to a forest, or the root of a tree, or an empty place, reflects thus: ‘How much suffering is this body, how much danger? [110] In this body various diseases arise, such as diseases of the eye (cakkhu), hearing (sota), smell (ghāna), tongue (jivhā), body (kāya), head (sīsa), ears (kaṇṇa), mouth (mukha), teeth (danta), lips (oṭṭha), coughs (kāso), asthma (sāso), colds (pināso), burning (ḍāho), fever (jaro), stomach-disease (kucchirogo), dizziness (mucchā), diarrhoea (pakkhandikā), gripes (sūlā), cholera (visūcikā), leprosy (kuṭṭhaṃ), boils (gaṇḍo), eczema (kilāso), tuberculosis (soso), epilepsy (apamāro), ringworm (daddu), itch (kaṇḍu), scabs (kacchu), nail-scratching (nakhasā), scabies (vitacchikā), ailments of the blood or bile, diabetes (madhumeho), cancer (aṃsā), pustules (piḷakā), ulcers (bhagandalā), diseases arising from bile (pittasamuṭṭhānā ābādhā), diseases arising from phlegm (semhasamuṭṭhānā ābādhā), diseases arising from wind (vātasamuṭṭhānā ābādhā), diseases arising from a mix of bodily humours (sannipātikā ābādhā), diseases caused by change of climate (utupariṇāmajā ābādhā), injuries caused by carelessness (visamaparihārajā ābādhā), injuries caused by assault (opakkamikā ābādhā), diseases or injuries caused by the fruition of past kamma (kammavipākajā ābādhā), oppression by cold (sītaṃ), heat (uṇhaṃ), hunger (jighacchā), thirst (pipāsā), faeces (uccāro), and urine (passāvo).’ Thus he dwells contemplating danger in this body.² This, Ānanda, is called the perception of danger. (4)

“What, Ānanda, is the perception of abandoning? Here, Ānanda, a monk, does not give in to thoughts of sensuality, he renounces them, he drives them out, he destroys them, and causes them to perish. He does not give in to thoughts of ill-will, he renounces them, he drives them out, he destroys them, and causes them to perish. He does not give in to thoughts of cruelty, he renounces them, he drives them out, he destroys them, and causes them to perish. He does not give in to unarisen evil unwholesome states, he renounces them, he drives them out, he destroys them, and causes them to perish. This, Ānanda, is called the perception of abandoning. (5)

“What, Ānanda, is the perception of dispassion? Here, Ānanda, having gone to a forest, or the root of a tree, or an empty place, reflects thus: ‘This is peaceful, this is superior, namely the calming of all formations, the relinquishment of all clinging to rebirth, the destruction of craving, dispassion, cessation.’ This, Ānanda, is called the perception of dispassion. (6)

“What, Ānanda, is the perception of cessation? Here, Ānanda, having gone to a forest, or the root of a tree, or an empty place, reflects thus: ‘This is peaceful, [111] this is superior, namely the calming of all formations, the relinquishment of all clinging to rebirth, the destruction of craving, dispassion, cessation.’ This, Ānanda, is called the perception of cessation. (7)

“What, Ānanda, is the perception of not delighting in the entire world? Here, Ānanda, a monk dwells inclining to the relinquishment of attachment to the world, without any remainder. This, Ānanda, is the perception of not delighting in the entire world. (8)

“What, Ānanda, is the perception of dispassion regarding all mental formations? Here, Ānanda, a monk is troubled, ashamed, and disgusted by all mental formations. This, Ānanda, is the perception of dispassion regarding all mental formations. (9)

“What, Ānanda, is mindfulness of breathing? Here, Ānanda, having gone to a forest, or the root of a tree, or an empty place, having sat cross-legged and erect, establishes mindfulness in front. Mindfully he breathes out, mindfully he breathes in.³ Breathing out a long breath he knows, ‘I breathe out a long breath.’ Breathing in a long breath he knows, ‘I breathe in a long breath. Breathing out a short breath he knows, ‘I breathe out a short breath. Breathing in a short breath he knows, ‘I breathe in a short breath.’ ‘Experiencing the entire breath, I will breathe out,’ he trains himself. ‘Experiencing the entire breath, I will breathe in,’ he trains himself. ‘Calming the bodily formations, I will breathe out,’ he trains himself. ‘Calming the bodily formations, I will breathe in,’ he trains himself. ‘Experiencing joy, I will breathe out,’ he trains himself. ‘Experiencing joy, I will breathe in,’ he trains himself. ‘Experiencing bliss, I will breathe out,’ he trains himself. ‘Experiencing bliss, I will breathe in,’ he trains himself. ‘Experiencing mental formations, I will breathe out,’ he trains himself. ‘Experiencing mental formations, I will breathe in,’ he trains himself. ‘Calming mental formations, I will breathe out,’ he trains himself. ‘Calming mental formations, I will breathe in,’ he trains himself. ‘Experiencing the mind, I will breathe out,’ he trains himself. [112] ‘Experiencing the mind, I will breathe in,’ he trains himself. ‘Gladdening the mind, I will breathe out,’ he trains himself. ‘Gladdening the mind, I will breathe in,’ he trains himself. ‘Concentrating the mind, I will breathe out,’ he trains himself. ‘Concentrating the mind, I will breathe in,’ he trains himself. ‘Liberating the mind, I will breathe out,’ he trains himself. ‘Liberating the mind, I will breathe in,’ he trains himself. ‘Contemplating impermanence, I will breathe out,’ he trains himself. ‘Contemplating impermanence, I will breathe in,’ he trains himself. ‘Contemplating dispassion, I will breathe out,’ he trains himself. ‘Contemplating dispassion, I will breathe in,’ he trains himself. ‘Contemplating relinquishment, I will breathe out,’ he trains himself. ‘Contemplating relinquishment, I will breathe in,’ he trains himself. This, Ānanda, is called mindfulness of breathing. (10)

“If, Ānanda, you relate these ten perceptions to the Venerable Girimānanda, it is possible that having heard them, the monk Girimānanda’s disease will be allayed.”

Then the Venerable Ānanda, having learnt these ten perceptions in the presence of the Blessed One, approached the Venerable Girimānanda, having approached him he related these ten perceptions to the Venerable Girimānanda. Having heard these ten perceptions his disease was allayed. From that, the Venerable Girimānanda was cured of his disease. In this way, the Venerable Girimānanda’s disease was eliminated. [113]

Notes:

1. Brain (matthaluṅgaṃ) is often added to this list to complete the 32 body-parts contemplation.

2. Disease (ābādha), oppression, ailment, or injury depending on the context. Some are hard to identify. Bhikkhu Bodhi translates “ḍāho,” as pyrexia and “jaro” as fever, which both mean the same thing, so I translate “ḍāho” as burning as in the PTS dictionary. I could not find the word “aṃsā,” which Bhikkhu Bodhi translates as cancer.

3. The PTS dictionary gives exhale for “assasati,” and inhale for “passasati;” the opposite of the translations given by Bhikkhu Bodhi.