Name That List, #35

What is this a list of? The answer is below in extended.

  • Floating in a pool
  • Sitting in hot oil
  • Sitting in a room screaming
  • Walking for weeks without lying down, not even to sleep
  • Staying awake for three days
  • Sitting in a box with pythons
  • Sitting in a coffin
  • Sitting next to a rotting corpse
  • Total silence for ten days


These are all meditative paths to Nirvana, as practiced by a variety of Buddhist monks, nuns, and laypeople in Thailand

Source: Rousseau, Bryant. (Aug 30, 2016). "Corpses, Pythons, Sleep Deprivation: Meditation Rituals in Thailand Can Be Intense," New York Times.

I like the idea of achieving enlightenment by sitting and staring at a rotting corpse (aka "corpse meditation"). I could see that becoming the new mindfulness fad among the New Age types. From the article:

The unpleasant sight and overpowering stench of flesh decaying in tropical heat can impart lessons about important Buddhist precepts, like nonattachment to one's body and the impermanence of everything, said Justin McDaniel, a professor of religious studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

The ritual is viewed as a powerful way to learn selflessness, Professor McDaniel said, "and the more selfless you are, the closer you are to nirvana."

The corpse is often that of a child or young adult who has died unexpectedly. A family will donate the body to a temple, hoping something good can come from the tragedy.

The monks see the deceased young people as "representing the best of humanity," Professor McDaniel said. "They're innocent — not so selfish and greedy and ambitious. If something so beautiful can decay, why are you so proud and vain? You're even uglier."

Thanks to Jenny Beatty for contributing the list!
     Posted By: Alex - Thu Dec 29, 2016
     Category: Name That List

I guessed "Performance Art". I wasn't far wrong.
Posted by BMN on 12/29/16 at 07:09 AM
Those activities are a good description of a summer puppy love and fall breakup for me when I was sixteen.
Posted by KDP on 12/29/16 at 08:38 AM
"Sitting in a room screaming"

So I can achieve nirvana simply by being in the office? Hmph.
Posted by A Nonny Mouse on 12/29/16 at 11:08 AM
I sat in a box with Pythons. Monty Pythons. Flying Circus DVDs.
I reached Nirvana by the 2nd DVD.
Posted by Greg on 12/30/16 at 08:09 AM
Sitting next to a stinking corpse. Shall have to try it.
Posted by Joi Cardinal on 12/30/16 at 03:11 PM
It actually did sound like a meditative list to me at the beginning, but then it just got too intense somewhere around the pythons. So, my guess was a fraternity pledge initiation gauntlet.
Posted by Virtual on 12/30/16 at 04:26 PM
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