WARREN: BUDDHISM IN TRANSLATIONS

423

 

 


 

 

Ī 90. The Body Is an Open Sore

Translated from the Milindapañha (73.24)

Said the king, "Bhante Nāgasena, are they who have retired from the world fond of their bodies?"

"No, your majesty, they who have retired from the world are not fond of their bodies."

"Then why, bhante, do you indulge your body, and lavish attention on it?"

"Pray, your majesty, have you ever at any time been hit in battle by an arrow?"

"Yes, bhante; I have."

"And was the wound, your majesty, anointed with ointment, smeared with oil, and bandaged with a strip of fine cloth?"

"Yes, bhante. It was anointed with ointment, smeared with oil, and bandaged with a strip of fine cloth."

"Pray, your majesty, were you fond of that wound, that you anointed it with ointment, smeared it with oil, and bandaged it with a strip of fine cloth?"

"No, bhante. I was not fond of my wound; but it was in order that my flesh might heal that I anointed it with ointment, smeared it with oil, and bandaged it with a strip of fine cloth."

"In exactly the same way, your majesty, they who have retired from the world are not fond of their bodies; but, without being attached to them, they take care of their bodies in order to advance in the religious life. The body, your majesty, has been likened to a wound by The Blessed One; and, therefore, they who have retired from the world take care of their bodies as though they were wounds, without thereby becoming attached to them. And The Blessed One, your majesty, has spoken as follows:

"'This monstrous wound bath outlets nine,
A damp, wet skin doth clothe it o'er;
At every point this unclean thing
Exudeth nasty, stinking smells.'"

"You are an able man, bhante Nāgasena."

 


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