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Viewing images of Corpses online - Dhamma Wheel

Viewing images of Corpses online

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
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bodom
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Viewing images of Corpses online

Postby bodom » Mon Jul 05, 2010 7:27 pm

At times when I am filled with lust I view images of decomposing corpses online. I have found this practice to be extremely helpful in overcoming lust if only for a short while.

There is an endless collection of photos available online of murder victims, suicides and accidents. I know that the purpose of this practice is to develop detachment and not aversion as this practice was recommended by the Buddha in the Satipatthana Sutta. Some modern day teachers like Bhikkhu Bodhi recommend viewing pictures of corpses and attending autopsies.

I sometimes feel guilty viewing these images because if it were my family or friends being depicted I would not be happy others are viewing them. There are certainly site's and people on these site's who glorify death and suffering and I wonder if im creating unwholesome kamma by visiting them. However I really do find viewing these images helps to overcome lust and a stirring appeal to practice, "lest I regret it later".

Thoughts or opinions?

:anjali:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


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http://www.ajahnchah.org/

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Khalil Bodhi
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Re: Viewing images of Corpses online

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Mon Jul 05, 2010 11:02 pm

Hi Bodom,

I completely understand your reservations but I, for one, would rather the images of my deceased loved ones be put to the use that you're making of them than for entertainment or sheer curiosity. Metta and keep up the good work!

Mike
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

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Ben
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Re: Viewing images of Corpses online

Postby Ben » Mon Jul 05, 2010 11:46 pm

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Annapurna
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Re: Viewing images of Corpses online

Postby Annapurna » Tue Jul 06, 2010 7:15 am

Hello, Bodom,

thanks for an interesting topic.

I've seen photographs of bodies too. Let me tell a bit more about this.

When I came across the cruel murder of Sharon Tate, who was over 8 months pregnant at the time and pleaded for the life of her child, I was gravely shocked.

I often contemplated how she must have felt. I do things like that as a meditation.

I try to refine my empathic skills this way, or develop more metta, or eliminate judgments and anger from my mind, and imagine that I am looking through their eyes, breathing through their lungs, feeling their complete life and so forth.

It can be an emotional ordeal, at first, but then you begin to develop a greater ability to withstand the pain and suffering, and you begin to understand their emotions, motivations, their suffering, also their defilements, and then compassion and forgiveness arises.

When I got internet, I googled many things and one of them was also Sharon. I found websites dedicated to her memory, one of them by Debra Tate, her younger sister.

Everything was set up in a beautiful, respectful way, her life being the focus.

And then of course I also came upon websites which displayed the horrible side of her death. I saw crime scene and coroner photos of her, and after studying them in depth, silently wept in front of the screen, because it happened to me that I felt a part of the absolute horror she felt, the pain and suffering of her husband and family, the confusion and fear of friends and the world.

It then occurred to me, that images like this must be horrifying to view for the loved ones of Sharon Tate.

I imagined for a brief moment how I or my brother or worse, how my father would have felt if my mother would have been murdered, and her body would have gotten displayed from each possible angle, for each stranger to view, and I felt anger arising, and the wish to protect her privacy, and my relatives from pain.

I am a little concerned that the intimacy of death is dragged into public view at the expense of those left behind.

The media provide a platform for things that go way beyond what a normal being would ever get to see in their whole life.

I am also concerned about young impressionable minds being overchallenged with gruesome details an older person can 'relativate'.

To come to your questions:

I personally don't feel guilty about the small desires I have in life.

I eat when hungry, and sleep when tired, and so forth, and am trying to get an enourmous schedule of work under control. I never seem to be done when it's time to go to bed.

I find this is keeping me on the right path... :smile:

Don't know if that answers your questions?

Metta,

Anna
http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/

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Re: Viewing images of Corpses online

Postby Sanghamitta » Tue Jul 06, 2010 7:54 am

The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

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Re: Viewing images of Corpses online

Postby Annapurna » Tue Jul 06, 2010 9:26 am

http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/

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Re: Viewing images of Corpses online

Postby Sanghamitta » Tue Jul 06, 2010 9:38 am

Last edited by Sanghamitta on Tue Jul 06, 2010 12:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

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Annapurna
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Re: Viewing images of Corpses online

Postby Annapurna » Tue Jul 06, 2010 9:40 am

If I were there, I most certainly would confront them with this.

From here it would be a bit ridiculous to tell them what to do, right? 8-)
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Re: Viewing images of Corpses online

Postby Sanghamitta » Tue Jul 06, 2010 10:21 am

His sucessors are still having a big impact on the world. His monasteries in the west are among the best places to learn authentic Buddhadhamma. They are inhabited by and run by monks that Ajahn Chah trained, such as Ajahn Sumedho , Ajahn Amaro, and Ajahn Munindo. They did their monastic training under Luang Por Chah and they are very familiar with the photographs I have referred to. None of them appeared to find those pictures anything but conducive to their understanding of certain aspects of Buddhadhamma. I have heard them refer to the impact made by them, on a number of occasions.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

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Ben
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Re: Viewing images of Corpses online

Postby Ben » Tue Jul 06, 2010 10:27 am

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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e: [email protected]..

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Re: Viewing images of Corpses online

Postby Sanghamitta » Tue Jul 06, 2010 10:38 am

A few years ago Ben, one of the most senior lay Buddhists in the UK died. He was in his late eighties and had been associated with Buddhadhamma from almost its earliest days in the UK. When he knew he was dying he requested to die at Amaravati. Ajahn Sumedho agreed to this and eventually he did die there. As a teaching his body was washed and laid out on full display in the shrine room for some time..quite a number of days. During this time the usual number of visitors continued to come to the monastery, which gets large numbers of lay people visiting at at times . Eventually the normal odours of decay began to become a little intrusive and so he was laid to rest. Ajahn Sumedho was fulsome in his praise and considered the lesson that had been made possible by the deceased to be an act of great generosity.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

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Ben
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Re: Viewing images of Corpses online

Postby Ben » Tue Jul 06, 2010 10:44 am

That is inspiring. Thank you for sharing that anecdote, Valerie!
metta

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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mikenz66
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Re: Viewing images of Corpses online

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Jul 06, 2010 10:55 am


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Annapurna
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Re: Viewing images of Corpses online

Postby Annapurna » Tue Jul 06, 2010 10:58 am

http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/

Sanghamitta
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Re: Viewing images of Corpses online

Postby Sanghamitta » Tue Jul 06, 2010 11:01 am

Its not uncommon for death to be seen as an offence to our sense of self. To be even a cause of anger.
The Buddha spoke about it a number of times. Corpse contemplation is very strong medicine, it certainly is not right for everyone . But is is part of every Buddhist culture throughout history.
There are a whole set of practises that are around cemetery contemplations.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

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Annapurna
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Re: Viewing images of Corpses online

Postby Annapurna » Tue Jul 06, 2010 11:09 am

http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/

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jcsuperstar
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Re: Viewing images of Corpses online

Postby jcsuperstar » Tue Jul 06, 2010 11:11 am

Thai people in my experience seem to be very casual about seeing death. far different from here in America. i remember watching the news when i was living in Bangkok and there we were at the scene of some accident, just like on American TV, but then BAM it's the dead body and here comes the wife to see it for the 1st time and crying and it was overwhelming for me, i had never been exposed to anything like this. many Thai people also forward photos of dead bodies from all sorts of sources, once while staying at the temple before i was married my future wife was looking at some rather grotesque corpse photos that other Thai people i knew had passed around, i was kinda grossed out by them but she just looked at me and said "it's just anicca"... i was amazed.
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

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Re: Viewing images of Corpses online

Postby Sanghamitta » Tue Jul 06, 2010 11:22 am

If you don't see why Ajahn Sumedho made the point he made...then that's OK.
If such practices would not lead to a greater understanding for you ..then that's OK.
Clearly for some people, including some people who show themselves to have a depth insight into Buddhadhamma they are a very graphic and useful skillful means.
As I said they are very strong medicine.
They also for some people, cut across some of the image of how Buddhadhamma should be .
I seldom posted on E Sangha but I often read it. I remember this same topic causing great aversion for some people. One of whom even said that if this was what Buddhism was about then she had made a mistake in professing an interest.
The fact is that some practices are not for general use, and in any case should be part of a wider and balanced approach.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

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Ben
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Re: Viewing images of Corpses online

Postby Ben » Tue Jul 06, 2010 11:25 am

Hi JC

I had a similar television moment when I was in India 20 years ago. Between meditation courses I and a few friends got out of the centre for a few days and stayed in a hotel in Nasik. The news came on and they were reporting on an aircrash in Bangalore (I think), and there were bits of bodies and charred corpses on prime time tv. And then the next day I witnessed a funeral procession of a local holy man on an open stretcher and his many thousands of crying devotees on their way down to the ghats.
Incredible!
kind regards

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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Ben
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Re: Viewing images of Corpses online

Postby Ben » Tue Jul 06, 2010 11:31 am

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..


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