Meditation on the Impurities of the Body

Asubha Bhāvanā, or Meditation on the Impurities of the Body is the skillful contemplation of the thirty-two impure parts of the body, in their true nature. It is a common misconception that lay people should not meditate on Asubha or the Impurities of the Body as such meditation would destroy family life and life as a lay person. However, this meditation is in fact extremely beneficial to our lives. To understand this, let’s take the example of what doctors and nurses do for a living. They see this repulsive side day in and day out and still manage to have good family lives! Asubha Bhāvanā, gives us insight into the true nature of life since our bodies are always deteriorating and impure in reality. It helps us immensely in recognizing and understanding topics such as impermanence, as well as in controlling lust and attachment towards the human body.

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

  1. Since head hairs on this body are rotting away, smelling, living on a filthy body, and deteriorating, head hairs are disgusting to see and touch.
  2. Since body hairs on this body are rotting away, smelling, living on a filthy body, and deteriorating, body hairs are disgusting to see and touch.
  3. Since nails on this body are rotting away, smelling, living on a filthy body, and deteriorating, nails are disgusting to see and touch.
  4. Since teeth in this body are rotting away, smelling, living in a filthy body, and deteriorating, teeth are disgusting to see and touch.
  5. Since skin on this body is rotting away, smelling, living on a filthy body, and deteriorating, skin is disgusting to see and touch.
  6. Since flesh in this body is rotting away, smelling, living in a filthy body, and deteriorating, flesh is disgusting to see and touch.
  7.  Since sinews in this body are rotting away, smelling, living in a filthy body, and deteriorating, sinews are disgusting to see and touch.
  8. Since bones in this body are rotting away, smelling, living in a filthy body, and deteriorating, Bones are disgusting to see and touch.
  9. Since bone-marrow in this body is rotting away, smelling, living in a filthy body, and deteriorating, bone-marrow is disgusting to see and touch.
  10. Since kidneys in this body are rotting away, smelling, living in a filthy body, and deteriorating, kidneys are disgusting to see and touch.
  11.  Since the heart in this body is rotting away, smelling, living in a filthy body, and deteriorating, the heart is disgusting to see and touch.
  12. Since the liver in this body is rotting away, smelling, living in a filthy body, and deteriorating, the liver is disgusting to see and touch.
  13. Since the diaphragm in this body is rotting away, smelling, living in a filthy body, and deteriorating, the diaphragm is disgusting to see and touch.
  14. Since the spleen in this body is rotting away, smelling, living in a filthy body, and deteriorating, the spleen is disgusting to see and touch.
  15. Since the lungs in this body are rotting away, smelling, living in a filthy body, and deteriorating, the lungs are disgusting to see and touch.
  16. Since the bowels in this body are rotting away, smelling, living in a filthy body, and deteriorating, the bowels are disgusting to see and touch.
  17. Since the small intestines in this body are rotting away, smelling, living in a filthy body, and deteriorating, the small intestines are disgusting to see and touch.
  18. Since the contents of the stomach in this body is rotting away, smelling, living in a filthy body, and deteriorating, the contents of the stomach is disgusting to see and touch.
  19. Since excrement in this body is rotting away, smelling, living in a filthy body, and deteriorating, excrement is disgusting to see and touch.
  20. Since the brain in this body is rotting away, smelling, living in a filthy body, and deteriorating, the brain is disgusting to see and touch.
  21. Since bile in this body is rotting away, smelling, living in a filthy body, and deteriorating, bile is disgusting to see and touch.
  22. Since phlegm in this body is rotting away, smelling, living in a filthy body, and deteriorating, phlegm is disgusting to see and touch.
  23. Since pus in this body is rotting away, smelling, living in a filthy body, and deteriorating, pus is disgusting to see and touch.
  24. Since blood in this body is rotting away, smelling, living in a filthy body, and deteriorating, blood is disgusting to see and touch.
  25.  Since sweat on this body is rotting away, smelling, living on a filthy body, and deteriorating, sweat is disgusting to see and touch.
  26. Since fat in this body is rotting away, smelling, living in a filthy body, and deteriorating, fat is disgusting to see and touch.
  27.  Since tears in this body is rotting away, smelling, living in a filthy body, and deteriorating, tears is disgusting to see and touch.
  28.  Since grease in this body is rotting away, smelling, living in a filthy body, and deteriorating, grease is disgusting to see and touch.
  29.  Since saliva in this body is rotting away, smelling, living in a filthy body, and deteriorating, saliva is disgusting to see and touch.
  30. Since mucus in this body is rotting away, smelling, living in a filthy body, and deteriorating, mucus is disgusting to see and touch.
  31. Since fluid of the joints  in this body is rotting away, smelling, living in a filthy body, and deteriorating, fluid of the joints  is disgusting to see and touch.
  32.  Since urine in this body is rotting away, smelling, living in a filthy body, and deteriorating, urine is disgusting to see and touch.