Four Elements Guided Meditation

Sit in a comfortable position with the mind alert. Slowly reflect on these thoughts…

Pay close attention to your body. In the head, we have hairs and they are like leaves on a tree. They fall when they are ripe. If all of your hair is detached, it will drop on to the earth. Let’s say all of this hair came out from our head and on to our hands. We will not keep it. We will throw it away, and it will gradually decay and transform into soil in the earth. Therefore, hair is something that transforms into soil, and it is pathavi dhātu.

Body-hairs in this body is also like head hairs. they get detached from this body. When all these body hairs are detached from the body, they fall onto earth and decay until they transform into soil. It is like those ripe leaves on a tree falling onto the ground and changing into soil after their deterioration. Nails of this body grow. They get cut at some point. Nails that were cut were thrown away onto the ground. These transform into soil with time, and we don’t even notice it. In this way, nails on these fingers and toes mix with soil in earth and vanish forever. Teeth are also something that transforms into soil. Teeth get decayed when they are still inside our mouths. Teeth rot, decay, and get crushed. Teeth that break from the mouth fall into the ground and decay until they transform into soil. How many teeth of countless people may have fallen onto the ground and transformed into soil? Teeth are something that transforms into soil. They are pathavi dhātu. This skin is also like that. The skin gets scratched. This skin suffers from various things such as injuries, scabies, and eczema. This skin contracts, wrinkles and when we grow old, it rubs off. Someday when this skin falls onto the ground, it will disappear into the soil.

Tendons are also like that. These tendons also fall onto the ground and decay, transform into soil, and vanish someday. We all have bones in our bodies. We all have a skeleton. How many countless skeletons we may have had in our past lives? In each life, we thought the skeleton like what have now is ours. There is a skull inside this head. There are neck-bones inside the neck. There are collar-bones. There are bones inside hands, elbows, and wrists. There are chest-bones, back-bones, waist-bones, thigh-bones, knee-bones, and calf-bones. There are lots of bones inside this body. One day, all these bones will fall onto the ground and decay, transform into soil, and completely vanish. There is bone-marrow inside our bones. This bone-marrow also decays, transform into soil, and vanish together with bones. There will be a day that kidneys also fall into the ground. Then they will decay and transform into the soil. The heart will also decay and mix with the soil. The liver will also fall onto the ground. It will also decay and transform into soil. The lungs expand when we breathe in. They shrink when we breathe out. These also fall onto the earth, decay, and transform into soil. Then, there is the small-intestine in this body. It is like a large, coiled rope. There is also a large-intestine. All of these rot and mix with soil in the earth. They transform into soil by decaying. What we ate leaves our bodies as feces, which also transforms into soil after some time. In this way, all these things have the nature of transforming into soil. They are pathavi dhātu. There are also things in this body that dissolve.

Bile in this body dissolves in water and vanishes. It is āpō dhātu. There is also phlegm in this body. It is a foamy liquid. It also dissolves in water and vanishes. It is āpō dhātu. Pus in this body forms when blood has rotted. It is a yellowish liquid. That pus also dissolves in water and disappears. Pus is also āpō dhātu. There is also blood in this body. Blood also dissolves in water and disappears. Blood is āpō dhātu. In this body, there is a liquid that forms throughout this body, from the head to the soles of the feet. It is called sweat. It also dissolves in water and disappears. Sweat belongs to āpō dhātu. Fat is a sticky thing that comes out with sweat. It also dissolves in water. There are also tears in this body. Tears come out from the eyes and also dissolve in water. Tears are āpō dhātu. In this body, mucus also flows and come out from the nose. Sometimes it comes out suddenly. Mucus also get dissolved. We have saliva in this body which flows. Right now, it doesn’t come out from our mouths because we swallow it and close our mouths. If we do not swallow saliva that flows in the mouth, it will come out. If that is the case, we will have to either wipe it off or wash it away. Also, there isurine in this body. Urine also dissolves in water and vanishes. It is āpō dhātu. These are the things that belong to āpō dhātu. They dissolve in water. All these can be found in this body.

There is also heat in this body. This body is created with that heat. When that heat increases, we sweat and get fever. When food and drink goes inside this body, that heat digests them and helps the body to absorb its nutrient. This happens by tējō dhātu. It is also this tējō dhātu that ages this body. It also deteriorates this body until it get destroyed completely. All these are impermanent things.

Next, this body has things that blow with wind. Air that comes to the throat blows away with wind. Air that comes out from the back also mixes with wind and blows away. Air we breathe in also blows away with wind. Air that we breathe out is of the same nature. This air that we inhale and exhale also blows away with wind. There is also air that moves here and there inside this body. This belong to vāyō dhātu.

So, you can see that these are the things that we have in our body. The things that transform into soil are pathavi dhātu. Things that dissolve are āpō dhātu. Things with the nature of warmth are tējō dhātu. Things that blow are vāyō dhātu. This is what we have. The Buddha taught us to contemplate well the fact that these kinds of things are in this body. He taught us to divide up this body like a butcher that sells cow-meat after he killed a cow and cut its flesh into pieces. That is when we can see the truth of this body. Then the attachment we have will become weakened and disappear.

Index

9 Buddha Qualities, abandon suffering, alms round, anger, animal world, anuttaropurisadammasarati quality, araham quality, Aṅgulimāla Arahant, bad association, bhagava quality, body meditation, buddhanussati meditation, Buddhist etiquette, chanting, compassion, confidence~saddhā, contentment, courage, craving, Culla Kammavibhanga Sutta, cutupapatanana, death, Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, evil deeds, first noble truth, five precepts, Four Noble Truths, friendship, ghost world, giving~dāna, good actions, gratitude, greed, guided meditation, hatred, heaven, hell, iddhi, ignorance, impermanence~anicca, intoxicants, jataka, jealousy, karma, kavi, life of Buddha, lokavidu quality, losing loved ones, loss, loving-kindness~mettā, Maha Satipatthana Sutta, Mangala Sutta, marks of a great man, meditation, merit~puññā, mindfulness~sati, mora paritta, mother, nibbāna, Noble Eightfold Path, noble truth of suffering, non-attachment, ordination, origin of suffering, parents, paritta, patience, pilgrimage, practice, precepts, psychic powers, pujas, punishment, Pāli, rains retreat, relics, retreat, right speech, right view, Sakka God, sammasambuddho quality, samsara, Sangha, Second Noble Truth, Sri Lanka, stress, Sāriputta Arahant, Taking advice, Therigatha, Third Noble Truth, uposatha, Venerable Maha Moggalana, Vesak, vijja, vijjacaranasampanno quality, virtue~sīla, wisdom, Work, worldly conditions, wrong view