Contemplation of the Body
March 01, 2004

People have a lot of resistance to contemplating the body as a topic of meditation. Some of them complain they already have a negative body image so why focus on the negative side of the body? Others say that body contemplation is a way of fostering aversion to the body, which is an unhealthy mental state. Others say they’re not all that attached to their bodies, so why should they have to focus on the body? Or they’ll refer to that story where the Buddha recommended contemplation of the body to some monks and then went off into the forest for a couple of months. The monks got so disgusted with their bodies that they started committing suicide, while others hired assassins to kill themselves off. When the Buddha came out of the forest, he found the community of monks was a lot smaller than it had been before, so he called the remaining monks together and told them to practice breath meditation instead. Some people cite this as proof that contemplation of the body is an unhealthy practice.