Pali text, illustration and English translation of Dhammapada verse 292-293:
yaṃ hi kiccaṃ tadapaviddhaṃ akiccaṃ pana kayirati |
unnalānaṃ pamattānaṃ tesa’ṃ vaḍḍhanti āsavā || 292 ||
yesañ ca susamāraddhā niccaṃ kāyagatā sati |
akiccaṃ te na sevanti kicce sātaccakārino |
satānaṃ sampajānānaṃ atthaṃ gacchanti āsavā || 293 ||
292. What should be done is left undone and done is what should not be done, ever the pollutions grow of those ones proud and heedless.
293. But those who always practise well bodily mindfulness, do never what should not be done and ever do what should be done, for mindful ones, the full-aware, pollutions fade away.
The Story of the Venerables of Bhaddiya
While residing near the town of Bhaddiya, the Buddha spoke these verses, with reference to some monks.
Once, some monks, who were staying in Bhaddiya, made some ornate slippers out of some kinds of reeds and grasses. When the Buddha was told about this, he said, “Venerables, you have entered the Sangha for the sake of attaining arahatta phala. Yet, you are now striving hard only in making slippers and decorating them.”
At the end of the discourse, those monks attained arahatship.
Explanatory Translation (Verse 292)
yaṃ hi kiccaṃ taṃ apaviddhaṃ akiccaṃ pana kayirati
unnaḷānaṃ pamattānaṃ tesaṃ āsavā vaḍḍhanti
yaṃ hi: if something; kiccaṃ [kicca]: should be done; taṃ: that; apaviddhaṃ [apaviddha]: if neglected; akiccaṃ [akicca]: which should not be done; pana kayirati: is really done; unnaḷānaṃ [unnaḷāna]: of those proud; pamattānaṃ [pamattāna]: slothful one’s; tesaṃ [tesa]: their; āsavā: blemishes; vaḍḍhanti: increase
If people do what should not be done, and neglect what should be done, the blemishes of those proud, slothful ones begin to increase.
Explanatory Translation (Verse 293)
yesañ ca kāyagatā sati niccaṃ susamāraddhā
kicce sātaccakārino te akiccaṃ na sevanti
satānaṃ-sampajānnaṃ āsavā atthaṃ gacchanti
yesañ ca: if some one; kāyagatā sati: the meditation with regard to physical reality; niccaṃ [nicca]: always; susamāraddhā: were to practice well; kicce: in what has to be done; sātaccakārino [sātaccakārina]: maintain constant practice; te: he; akiccaṃ [akicca]: which should not be done; na sevanti: does not do; satānaṃ [satāna]: those mindful; sampajānnaṃ [sampajānna]: of those alert in mind; āsavā atthaṃ [attha]: to decline; gacchanti: go
If one were to practice constantly on the mindfulness of physical reality, maintaining steady attention on what has to be done, they will shun what should not be done. The blemishes of those mindful and alert will be eroded.
Commentary and exegetical material (Verse 292-293)
kāyagatāsati bhāvanā: This is called paṭikkūlamanasikāra bhāvanā. This meditation means the comprehension of the constitution of the body and its real nature. According to the Teachings of the Buddha, the body of a being is made up of thirty-two impurities.
These thirty-two impurities are classified into four groups of five, and two groups of six:
(1) Kesā, lomā, nakhā, daṅtā, taco [taca].
(Head hair, body hair, nails, teeth, skin.)
(2) Maṃsaṃ [maṃsa], ṇahāru, aṭṭhi, aṭṭhimiñjā, vakkaṃ [vakka].
(Flesh, sinews, bones, bone marrow, kidneys.)
(3) Hadayaṃ [hadaya], yakinaṃ [yakina], kilomakaṃ [kilomaka], pihakaṃ [pihaka], papphāsaṃ [papphāsa].
(Heart, liver, midriff, spleen, lungs.)
(4) Antaṃ [anta], antagunaṃ [antaguna], udariyaṃ [udariya], karīsaṃ [karīsa], mattalungaṃ [mattalunga].
(Bowels, entrails, gorge, dung, brain.)
(5) Pittaṃ [pitta], semhaṃ [semha], pubbo [pubba], lohitaṃ [lohita], sedo [seda], medo [meda].
(Bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat.)
(6) Assu, vasā, khelo [khela], simghānikā, lasikā, muttaṃ [mutta].
(Tears, grease, spittle, snot, oil of the joints, urine.)
The first group of five impurities, thus classified, should be reflected on from beginning to end and from end to beginning. After that you should reflect on the second group of five impurities from beginning to end and from end to beginning. Thereafter, you should reflect on the impurities of the first and the second group together from the beginning to the end and from the end to the beginning. After having practiced meditation on the third group, also in a similar manner, you should reflect on all the other groups also by reflecting on them in a similar manner.
This meditation should be practiced by the following seven methods:
- vaṇṇato [vaṇṇata]
- saṇṭhānato [saṇṭhānat]
- disāto [disāta]
- okāsato [okāsata]
- paricchedato [paricchedata].
Vacasā means meditation by reflecting on the abovementioned thirtytwo impurities while repeating them verbally.
Manasā means meditation while repeating them mentally.
Vaṇṇato [Vaṇṇata] means meditation by reflecting on such impurities as hair, etc., while determining their colours.
Saṇṭhānato [Saṇṭhānata] means meditation by reflecting on such impurities as hair, etc., while determining their shape.
Disāto [Disāta] means meditation by reflecting on the impurities of the body while determining the situation of the parts as above or below the navel, on the upper or lower side of the body directionally.
Okāsato [Okāsata] means meditation by reflecting on such impurities while determining the place in the body acquired by these parts.
Paricchedato [Paricchedata] means meditation by reflecting on such impurities, each of them taken separately.
kāya-gatā-sati: mindfulness with regard to the body. Sometimes this refers only to the contemplation on the thirty-two parts of the body, and sometimes to all the various meditations comprised under the contemplation of the body (kāyānupassanā), the first of the four foundations of mindfulness (satipaṭṭhāna), consisting partly in concentration (samādhi) exercises, partly in insight (vipassanā) exercises. On the other hand, the cemetery meditations (sīvathikā) mentioned in the first satipaṭṭhāna are nearly the same as the ten contemplations of loathsomeness (asubha-bhāvanā) whereas elsewhere the contemplation on the thirty-two parts of the body is called the reflection on impurity (paṭikkūla-saññā).
The Buddha said, “One thing, O’ monks, developed and repeatedly practiced, leads to the attainment of wisdom. It is the contempla-tion on the body,” the reference is to all exercises mentioned in the first satipaṭṭhāna.
Visuddhimagga gives a detailed description and explanation of the method of developing the contemplation on the thirty-two parts of the body. This exercise can produce the first absorption only (jhāna). The text given in the Satipaṭṭhāna Sutta and elsewhere–but leaving out the brain–runs as follows:
“And further, O monks, the monk contemplates this body from the sole of the foot upwards, and from the top of the hairs downward, with skin stretched over it, and filled with manifold impurities: “This body has hairs of the body, hairs of the head, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, sinews, bones, marrow, kidney, heart, liver, diaphragm, spleen, lungs, intestines, bowels, stomach, excrement, bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, skin, grease, spittle, nasal mucus, oil of the joints, urine and so on.”
Visuddhimagga states: By repeating the words of this exercise one will become well acquainted with the wording, the mind will not rush here and there, the different parts will become distinct and appear like a row of fingers, or a row of hedge-poles. Now, just as one repeats the exercise in words, one should do it also in mind. The repeating in mind forms the condition for the penetration of the characteristic marks. He who thus has examined the parts of the body as to colour, shape, region, locality and limits, and considers them one by one, and not too hurriedly, as something loathsome, to such a one, while contemplating the body, all these things at the same time are appearing distinctly clear. But also when keeping one’s attention fixed outwardly such as to the bodies of other beings, and when all the parts appear distinctly, then all men and animals moving about lose the appearance of living beings and appear like heaps of many different things. And it looks as if those foods and drinks, being taken by them, were being inserted into this heap. Now, while again one is conceiving the idea ‘disgusting!’–omitting in due course several parts–gradually the attainmentconcentration (appanā-samādhi, i.e., the concentration of the jhāna) will be reached. In this connection, the appearing of forms is called the acquired image (uggaha-nimitta), the arising of loathsomeness, however, the counter-image (paṭibhāga-nimitta).