INSTRUCTION ON MEDITATION - Lession 4

6.Contemplating the impermanence the body

After some minutes watching your body, you can think of yourself that “this body is impermanent”. Sometimes you should remind yourself this sentence. You have to see the change of body, from young to old, from old to dead, from dead to reducing it to ashes. The Buddha taught that when we contemplate how the body is impermanent we must fully understand its impermanent we must fully understand its impermanence. We only contemplate our own body (not someone else’s) that will be reduced to ashes one day.

After three days, the corpse will be swollen. After ten days, it will be smelt bad and attacked by maggots. After one month, its cells will be decomposed, and its appearnce looks terrible, then nobody dares to come close to it. Fifteen days later, the body will be dry after a period of disintegration. One month after that, it will be reduced to ashes that will be blown away by wind. (you must practice contemplating the impermanence of the body in details throughtout a few months before you practice contemplating breath)

7. Contemplating breath

After you master control of body, contemplation of the impermanent body, you can practice contemplating breath.

You know well when your breath is in or out, but you should not interfere in or control it.

When your breath is in, you know well it’s in.

When your breath is out, you know well it’s out.

When your breath is in and long, you know well it’s in and long

When your breath is out and long, you know well it’s out and long

When your breath is in and short, you know well it’s in and short.

When your breath is out and short, you know well it’s out and short.

It  mean that you know well how long or short your breath is. However, the key point here is that you should know it as it to be. It’s simply you should know it as it is. Sometimes, it’s long, another time it’s short, the other time it’s soft, some other time it’s strong. You need to know it well, but never interfere in.

There are two extremes those you need to avoid:

    • First, you don’t know well how your breath is.
    • Second, you know it well and you interfere in.

 

The golden mean of contemplating breath is that you know it in passivity. You don’t have to control it or interfere in.

(Instruction on meditation of Thay: Thich Chan Quang)