An excerpt from the Autobiography of Luang Pu Juan Kulajeṭṭho (1920-80)
– translated by Thiracitto Bhikkhu (slightly edited)
As a layman around the age of eighteen, being in my "wild phase" so to speak, I fell in love with a particular girl. This girl lived in the same village and was maybe around two years younger than me, which made her sixteen at that time. But to tell you the truth, that certain girl wasn't especially beautiful, just a very normal, basic looking girl, one might say. But what made feelings of attraction and love arise was due to the fact that every single morning this teenage girl would pass by in front of our house. She was on her daily walk towards the nearby forest grove to defecate, as it was normal in rural areas in those days to use the edges of forests and fields to relieve oneself.
So it came to be that I got to see this girl every single morning. After waking up and washing my face, I saw her walking in front of our house. And that girl, except for one piece of cloth wrapped around her waist, didn't wear anything on her upper body, fully exposing her female features. During the first few days however, on seeing her passing our house with her naked breasts, thoughts of love or attraction didn't cross my mind at all.... but alas, seeing it day-in day-out, this quite normal, familiar sight eventually, became - all of a sudden - quite special, and I found myself thinking: "Wow this girl has really beautiful breasts."
Consequently this infatuation born from the attractiveness of her breasts lead me to see the rest of her in the light of beauty - making me fall in love with all of her!
That startled me. I asked myself: "A while ago I didn't perceive her as beautiful at all, feeling no love for her at all! But now I think I love her. What caused that to happen? Why is that?"
I came to the conclusion: "It's because I fell in love with her breasts, which made me see the rest of her, her skin and complexion, also as beautiful - hence, perceiving her beautiful all over and falling in love with her from head to toe."
Pondering this issue back and forth, one day the thought arose: "Mmh, if I love her complete being, seeing her as beautiful all over, then perhaps I should go and check out that girl's pile of shit. I can see if it's also beautiful or not, something lovely, something to be infatuated with!" Thinking like that, I waited for the right occasion to follow her one early morning into the forest thicket where she went to crap. As soon as she finished her business and came out, I went straight in to have a look at her fresh shitpile.
But it so happened that this day a forest pig was quicker than me to the scene. When I arrived, the pig had eaten up the entire shitpile without a trace. Utterly disappointed, I returned home, not having seen anything at all. But the very next day I determined to follow her again. I told myself that this time I had to be quicker than the pig; I could not allow it to eat the shit again. So, the next morning, immediately after the girl had left her usual forest spot, I quickly rushed in from another path, and intercepted the shit-eating pig successfully.
After she finished her business and returned home - totally unaware that someone had secretly been watching her - I finally went in to have a look. What I got to see was a pile of excrement of utmost filthiness. Her faeces was yellowish in colour, swarming with all sorts of parasitic worms, tapeworms, threadworms, some longish, some curled up - swarming all over the place. I stood there staring at it and argued with myself:
"Come on boy,... take it! You like her, don’t you? Saying she is soooo beautiful! You don't want it? You don't love it? But if you love her whole body, you have to love her shit also, man!"
My heart responded: "Aargh....iiiggh! I don't want it!"
"Why don't you want it Boy? Don't you love her? If you truly love her, you have to love her fully, with her shit and all the rest. You can't be choosy here!"
"Iiihg... I cannot love it!"
"You want it now or not? Don't you want to take a bit and love it dearly, or what?
"You want to have a good smell of it, don't you?"
"Ihhh...No, I don't want it!" my heart retorted.
"Come on man, put some of it in your pockets, won't you?"
"Iiiigh....It's so filthy and disgusting!"
"C'mon, take a hand full and shove it in your mouth!"
"Brrrrrr...No, no, no way!"
With every thought my heart rejected the idea. After standing there for a while investigating her faeces I left the forest and headed home. By the time I arrived at my house, I had come to the conclusion that no matter how beautiful, lovely and attractive a body of ours might seem, it also must have this kind of shit in it!
However, to prove if my thinking was correct, I had to check and examine some more faeces, and this time from another girl - just to be sure. This other girl also went to the same forest spot for her daily defecation. I secretly followed her in just the same way and eventually got a look at her pile of excrement. Although her shit didn't show any signs of worms, it was truly repulsive all the same. There was mucus sticking to it, and its general consistency was of a slimy, disgusting and off-putting nature. I really felt repulsed and disenchanted with all of it.
I related this story later to some of my female friends in the village, who, ever since, gave me a new nickname: "Dr. Shit-Inspector".
However, my curious investigations in the field of female excrement gradually reduced the feeling of love and infatuation towards that girl until finally it completely disappeared without remainder.
To be honest, at that time I didn't know how this idea of inspecting female excrement came about, but on reflection from my current view, it is perfectly in line with the Buddha’s Dhamma that I came across in my first Dhamma-book:
One who sees the body as beautiful
Is one lacking in wisdom.
This body contains faeces and such things
- Nothing beautiful from head to toe,
Merely aniccaṁ, dukkhaṁ, anattā.
Commit to wisdom,
Know and see
In light with its reality.