NatGeo’s Inside the Living Body

NatGeo's Inside the Living Body

This is a National Geographic special that looks deep inside the body of a living person tracing what is happening at various levels from birth to death.

There are some surprising facts along the way: for instance I didn’t know the newly-born baby’s eyes are so undeveloped that they only see in black and white, and nor did I realise that the ageing process was still a mystery to science.

Although this is meant as just a scientific exploration of the body and development, it can also be used for meditations like perception of the unattractive (asubhasaññā), and mindfulness of death (maraṇassati).

On the asubha side we see food being dropped lump-wise into the stomach and also being squeezed between the big and small intestines, and also what organs look like on the inside as they are functioning.

On the death side the film is tracing the maturing and decay of the body, which all comes under jarā (maturing, decay), and its inevitable end when it fails to sustain any further and falls apart.

The thing that struck me about the film, besides the things we get to see, is how it lacks any wisdom context, and so is reduced to simply presenting a complex organism and its functions.

It has often been noted that although many people know much more about the body, about impermanence and so on these days, because of lack of context they do not become any wiser, as you have to bring a perspective to the facts, which is exactly what the Buddha’s teaching is trying to help you do.


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