Monday, February 8, 2010

Nothing is permanent.

Question : (Unedited)
I am a student studying buddhism and would like to know what benefits and difficulties might lay buddhists experience in attempting to understand anicca

Hi N,

Anicca is the first of the 3 characteristics of existence which the Buddha revealed. Anicca, Dukkha, and Anatta, which are translated as impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and insubstantiality.

Anicca is a very common trait in life. The most glaring aspect of impermanence in life is death. No being can live forever. Everyone knows it, but many choose to ignore this fact. When we look around us we witness this aspect of impermanence confronting us. The Buddha expounded that all component things are impermanent. Whatever that is impermanent, will cease or expire in no time. Everything in this world is subject to "the arising", "existing for a period" and then "expiring". There is no permanent substance in everything in this world. Everything is in a flux, it comes and ceases.

Knowing this natural phenomenon, we view life as a transient existence. Life becomes more realistic and one is able to flow with the tides of life. One does not become crazy over things, one becomes more willing to let go of one's crazy desires and to reduce one's aversion to the things we hate. We come to realize that we are just insignificant creatures existing just for a very short period of time. There is not much time to waste in hatred and revenge, but to make use of whatever available time we still have, to wise up and lead a harmless, contented, and useful life.

There are deeper aspects of realization of anicca, especially Buddhist meditation, but I think the above comment should be sufficient.

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