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Friday, August 26, 2005

This Body Is Not Yours

This body is not yours, nor does it belong to others. It should be seen as the product of the whole of history. In regard to it the wise person will reflect on the nature of conditioning, saying: If this comes into being, that will arise; if this does not come into being, that will not arise.

-Samyutta Nikaya

From "Buddha Speaks," edited by Anne Bancroft, 2000. Reprinted by arrangement with Shambhala Publications, Boston,

James's Comment: Indeed and what (if anything) is "ours?" I like Thich Nhat Hanh's comment that "our only possessions are our actions."

-Peace to all beings-

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Shannin said...

I also like that only our actions are our own. I do wonder, though, if we believe that this body is not ours, is that treading dangerously close to the belief that we should not modify our bodies (ie tattoos), like in the teachings of many Christians? I could be way off, but that is just my thought.
I have a bit of difficulty interpreting this still, but your additional comments help. I have never looked into Buddism during my quest to find my religion. I am definitly intrigued.
Thanks for sharing!

Zen Unbound said...


I think that our body not being ours means that we are not the creators of our DNA, or of the basic circumstance of our life.

Adding a tattoo would be an action that one would be responsible for -- but I think that having tattoos or not having tattoos is not a significant thing.

People who strongly believe in karma might disagree with the passage James quotes, believing, because of passages from other sutras, that everything in our life is our responsibility -- either from this life or a prior onw.

Me, I'm not big on karma; I think that chance plays a big part in our fate.

Trev Diesel said...

I love this post and this image, James.

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