Pay close attention to your body. In the head, we have hairs and they are like leaves on a tree. They fall when they have matured. If all of your hair is detached, it will drop onto the earth. Let’s say all of this hair came out from our heads and onto our hands. We will not keep it. We will throw it away, and it will gradually decay and transform into soil on the earth. Therefore, hair is something that transforms into soil, and it is Paṭhavī Dhātu.
Body hairs in this body are also like scalp hairs. They get detached from this body. When all these body hairs are detached from the body, they fall onto the earth and decay until they transform into soil. It is like those matured leaves on a tree falling onto the ground and changing into soil after their deterioration. It is Paṭhavī Dhātu.
The nails of this body grow. They get cut at some point. Nails that were cut were thrown away onto the ground. These transform into soil with time, and we don’t even notice it. In this way, nails on these fingers and toes mix with soil and earth and vanish forever. It is Paṭhavī Dhātu.
Teeth are also something that transforms into soil. Teeth get decayed when they are still inside our mouths. Teeth rot, decay, and get crushed. Teeth that break from the mouth fall into the ground and decay until they transform into soil. How many teeth of countless people may have fallen onto the ground and transformed into soil? Teeth are something that transforms into soil. They are Paṭhavī Dhātu.
This skin is also like that. The skin gets scratched. This skin suffers from various things such as injuries, scabies, and eczema. This skin contracts, wrinkles, and when we grow old, it rubs off. Someday when this skin falls onto the ground, it will disappear into the soil. It is Paṭhavī Dhātu.
Muscles fall onto the ground, decay, and turn into soil. It is Paṭhavī Dhātu.
Tendons are also like that. These tendons also fall onto the ground and decay, transform into soil, and vanish someday. It is Paṭhavī Dhātu.
We all have bones in our bodies. We all have a skeleton. How many countless skeletons we may have had in our past lives? In each life, we thought the skeleton like what have now is ours. There is a skull inside this head. There are neck-bones inside the neck. There are collar-bones. There are bones inside the hands, elbows, and wrists. There are chest-bones, back-bones, waist-bones, thigh-bones, knee-bones, and calf-bones. There are lots of bones inside this body. One day, all these bones will fall onto the ground, decay, transform into soil, and completely vanish. It is Paṭhavī Dhātu.
There is bone-marrow inside our bones. This bone-marrow also decays, transform into soil and vanish together with bones. It is Paṭhavī Dhātu.
There will be a day when kidneys also fall into the ground. Then, they will decay and transform into the soil. It is Paṭhavī Dhātu.
The heart will also decay and mix with soil. It is Paṭhavī Dhātu.
The liver will also fall onto the ground. It will also decay and transform into soil. It is Paṭhavī Dhātu.
The lungs expand when we breathe in. They shrink when we breathe out. These also fall onto the earth, decay, and transform into soil. It is Paṭhavī Dhātu.
Then, there is the small intestine in this body. It is like a large, coiled rope. There is also the large intestine. All of these rots and mix with soil in the earth. They transform into soil by decaying. It is Paṭhavī Dhātu.
What we ate leaves our bodies as feces, which also transforms into soil after some time. It is Paṭhavī Dhātu.
In this way, all these things have the nature of transforming into soil. They are Paṭhavī Dhātu.
There are also things in this body that dissolve in water.
Bile in this body dissolves in water and vanishes. It is Āpo Dhātu.
There is also phlegm in this body. It is a foamy liquid. It also dissolves in water and vanishes. It is Āpo Dhātu.
Pus in this body forms when blood has rotted. It is a yellowish liquid. That pus also dissolves in water and disappears. Pus is also Āpo Dhātu.
There is also blood in this body. Blood also dissolves in water and disappears. Blood is Āpo Dhātu.
In this body, there is a liquid that forms throughout this body, from the head to the soles of the feet. It is called sweat. It also dissolves in water and disappears. Sweat belongs to Āpo Dhātu.
Fat is a sticky thing that comes out with sweat. It also dissolves in water.
There are also tears in this body. Tears come out from the eyes and also dissolve in water. Tears are Āpo Dhātu.
In this body, mucus also flows and comes out from the nose. Sometimes it comes out suddenly. Mucus also gets dissolved.
We have saliva in this body which flows. Right now, it doesn’t come out from our mouths because we swallow it and close our mouths. If we do not swallow, saliva that flows in the mouth will come out. If that is the case, we will have to either wipe it off or wash it away.
Also, there is urine in this body. Urine also dissolves in water and vanishes. It is āpo dhātu.
These are the things that belong to āpo dhātu. They dissolve in water. All these can be found in this body.
There is also heat in this body. This body is created with that heat.
When that heat increases, we sweat and get fever.
When food and drink go inside this body, that heat digests them and helps the body to absorb its nutrient. This happens due to the Tējo Dhātu.
It is also this Tējo Dhātu that ages this body. It also deteriorates this body until it gets destroyed completely. All these are impermanent things.
Next, this body has things that blow with the wind.
The air that comes out through the throat blows away with the wind. It is Vāyo Dhātu.
The air that comes out from the back also mixes with the wind and blows away. It is Vāyo Dhātu.
The air we breathe in also blows away with the wind. Air that we breathe out is of the same nature. This air that we inhale and exhale also blows away with the wind. It is Vāyo Dhātu.
There is air inside our stomach. It is Vayo Dhatu.
There is also the air that moves here and there inside this body. This belongs to Vāyo Dhātu.
So, you can see that these are the things that we have in our body.
The things that transform into soil are paṭhavī dhātu. Things that dissolve are āpo dhātu. Things with the nature of warmth are tējo dhātu. Airy things are vāyo dhātu.
This is what we have as our body. The Buddha taught us to contemplate well the fact that these kinds of things are in this body. He taught us to divide up this body like a butcher who sells beef after he killed a cow and cut its flesh into pieces. That is when we can see the truth of this body. Then, the attachment we have will weaken and disappear.