Posted by: Michael Rickicki | 08/22/2019

What Lust?

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148 Lust for a woman mostly comes
From thinking that her body is clean,
But there is nothing clean
In a woman’s body in fact.

149 The mouth is a vessel of foul saliva
And scum between the teeth,
The nose a vessel of snot, slime, and mucus,
The eyes are vessels of tears and other

150 The abdomen and chest is a vessel
Of feces, urine, lungs, liver, and so forth.
Those who through obscuration do not see
A woman this way, lust for her body.

151 Just as some fools desire
An ornamented pot filled with what is unclean,
So ignorant, obscured
Worldly beings desire women.

152 If the world is greatly attached
Even to this ever-so-smelly body
Which should cause loss of attachment,
How can it be led to freedom from desire?

153 Just as pigs are greatly attached
To a site of excrement, urine, and vomit,
So some lustful ones desire
A site of excrement, urine, and vomit.

154 This city of a body with protruding holes
From which impurities emerge
Is called an object of pleasure
By beings who are stupid.

155 Once you yourself have seen the impurities
Of excrement, urine, and so forth,
How could you be attracted
To a body composed of those?

156 Why should you lust desirously for this
While recognizing it as an unclean form
Produced by a seed whose essence is impure,
A mixture of blood and semen?

157 One who lies on this impure mass
Covered by skin moistened
With those fluids, merely lies
On top of a woman’s bladder.

158 If whether beautiful or ugly,
Whether old or young,
All female bodies are unclean,
From what attribute does your lust arise?

159 Just as it is not fit to desire
Filth although it has a good color,
Is very fresh, and has a nice shape,
So is it with a woman’s body.

160 How could the nature of this putrid corpse,
A rotten mass covered outside by skin,
Not be seen when it looks
So very horrible?

161 “The skin is not foul,
It is like a garment.”
Like a hide over a mass of impurities
How could it be clean?

162 A pot though beautiful outside,
Is reviled when filled with impurities.
Why is the body, filled with impurities
And foul by nature, not reviled?

163 If you revile against impurities,
Why not against this body
Which befouls clean scents,
Garlands, food, and drink?

164 Just as one’s own or others’
Impurities are reviled,
Why not revile against one’s own
And others’ unclean bodies?

165 Since your own body is
As unclean as a woman’s,
Is it not suitable to part
From desire for self and other?

166 If you yourself wash this body
Dripping from the nine wounds [The nine orifices are eyes, ears, nostrils, mouth, genitalia, and anus]
And still do not think it unclean,
What use is [religious] instruction for you?

167 Whoever composes poetry
With metaphors elevating this body—
O how shameless! O how stupid!
How embarrassing before [wise]beings!

168 Moreover, these sentient beings—
Obscured by the darkness of ignorance—
Quarrel most over what they desire,
Like dogs for the sake of some dirty thing.

169 There is pleasure when a sore is scratched,
But to be without sores is more pleasurable
Just so, there are pleasures in worldly desires,
But to be without desires is more pleasurable

170 If you analyze thus, even though
You do not achieve freedom from desire,
Because your desire has lessened
You will not lust for women.

-Nagarjuna,- Precious Garland

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Shillelagh Studies

A hub for the music, culture, knowledge, and practice of Irish stick-fighting, past and present.