Saddharmasmṛtyupasthānasūtra is an Indian Buddhist sutra dating to the first half of the first millennium. Chapter 7 of the sutra consists of a very long meditation on the body, unusual in Buddhist literature for its anatomical, especially osteological, detail. The meditation also includes extensive descriptions of many internal worms as well as the internal winds that destroy the worms at the moment of death. The sutra has several elements not found in other Buddhist texts. For example, the Saddharmasmṛtyupasthānasūtra meditation on the body includes extensive descriptions of things in the external world (e.g., rivers, mountains, flowers) and designates them as the “external body”. Most strikingly, the meditation on the body found in Saddharmasmṛtyupasthānasūtra differs from the general scholarly perception of Buddhist meditations on the body in that it does not emphasize impurity or generate repulsion. Instead, the sutra guides the meditator through a dispassionate and “scientific” observation of the body and the world.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited