Verse 41. Without The Mind, Body Is Worthless

Not long alas, and it will lie
this body, here upon the earth.
Discarded, void of consciousness,
useless as a rotten log.

Explanation: Soon, this body, without consciousness, discarded like a decayed worthless log, will lie on the earth.

The Story of Tissa, the Monk with a Stinking Body (Verse 41)

While residing at the Jetavana Monastery, the Buddha spoke this verse, with reference to the monk Tissa.

After taking a meditation topic from the Buddha, monk Tissa was diligently practicing meditation when he was afflicted with a disease. Small boils appeared all over his body and these developed into big sores. When these sores burst, his upper and lower robes became sticky and stained with body fluids, and his body was stinking. For this reason, he was known as Putigattatissa, Tissa the thera with a stinking body.

Now the Buddha never failed to survey the world twice a day. At dawn he surveyed the world, looking from the rim of the world towards the perfumed chamber. Now at this time the Venerable Putigatta Tissa appeared within the net of the Buddha’s sight.

The Buddha, knowing that the monk Tissa was ripe for arahatship, thought to himself, ‘This monk has been abandoned by his associates; at the present time he has no other refuge than me.” Accordingly the Buddha departed from the perfumed chamber, and pretending to be making the rounds of the monastery, went to the hall where the fire was kept. He washed the boiler, placed it on the brazier, waited in the fire-room for the water to boil, and when he knew it was hot, went and took hold of the end of the bed where that monk was lying.

At that time the monks said to the Buddha, ‘Tray depart, Venerable; we will carry him out for you’ So saying, they took up the bed and carried Tissa into the fire-room. The Buddha caused the monks to take Tissa’s upper garment, wash it thoroughly in hot water, and lay it in the sunshine to dry. Then he went, and taking his stand near Tissa, moistened his body with warm water and bathed him.

At the end of his bath his upper garment was dry. The Buddha caused him to be clothed in his upper garment and washed thoroughly his under garment in hot water and laid in the sun to dry. As soon as the water had evaporated from his body, his under garment was dry. Thereupon Tissa put on his under garment and, with body refreshed and mind tranquil, lay down on the bed. The Buddha took his stand at Tissa’s pillow and said to him, “Monk, consciousness will depart from you, your body will become useless and, like a log, will lie on the ground.” At the end of the discourse monk Tissa attained arahatship together with analytical insight, and soon passed away.


Treasury of Truth: Illustrated Dhammapada – 423 Verses

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