Discovery of Metteyya the Awakened One with Awareness Universe(FOAINDMAOAU)
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 116 CLASSICAL LANGUAGES in BUDDHA'S own Words through http://sarvajan.ambedkar.orgat 668, 5A main Road, 8th Cross, HAL 3rd Stage, Punya Bhumi Bengaluru- Magadhi Karnataka State -PRABUDDHA BHARAT
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LESSON 3366 Thu 28 May 2020 Free Online Analytical Insight Net for Discovery of Matteyya Awakened One with Awareness Universe ( FOAINDMAOAU) For The Welfare, Happiness, Peace of All Sentient and Non-Sentient Beings and for them to Attain Eternal Peace as Final Goal. From KUSHINARA NIBBANA BHUMI PAGODA in 116 CLASSICAL LANGUAGES Through http://sarvajan.ambedkar.org At WHITE HOME 668, 5A main Road, 8th Cross, HAL III Stage, Puniya Bhumi Bengaluru Magadhi Karnataka State PRABUDDHA BHARAT Words of the Matteyya Awakened One with Awareness Fear What do Matteyya Awakened One with Awareness quotes teach us about fear? Trade your fear for freedom. “Even death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely.”
Filed under: General, Vinaya Pitaka, Sutta Pitaka, Abhidhamma Pitaka, Tipiṭaka
Posted by: site admin @ 11:31 pm
LESSON 3366 Thu 28 May 2020
Free Online Analytical Insight Net for Discovery of Matteyya Awakened One with Awareness Universe ( FOAINDMAOAU)
For
The Welfare, Happiness, Peace of All Sentient and Non-Sentient Beings and for them to Attain Eternal Peace as Final Goal.
From
KUSHINARA NIBBANA BHUMI PAGODA
in 116 CLASSICAL LANGUAGES
Through
http://sarvajan.ambedkar.org
At
WHITE HOME
668, 5A main Road, 8th Cross, HAL III Stage,
Puniya Bhumi Bengaluru
Magadhi Karnataka State
PRABUDDHA BHARAT

Words of the Matteyya Awakened One with Awareness

Fear What do Matteyya Awakened One with Awareness
quotes teach us about fear?

Trade your fear for freedom.

“Even death is
not to be feared by one who has lived wisely.”

“The whole secret of
existence is to have no fear.

Never fear what will become of you, depend
on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you freed.”

“When one
has the feeling of dislike for evil, when one feels tranquil, one finds
pleasure in listening to good teachings; when one has these feelings and
appreciates them, one is free of fear.

”Pain is a Gift
Instead of avoiding it,
Learn to embrace it.
Without pain,
there is no growth

what is gained by practicing concentration.reply is, “Nothing!”

“However ,
what is lost is
Anger,Anxiety,Depression,Insecurity,Fear of Old Age and Death.

”The
right to life, meaningless without the right to livelihood, has been
suspended by invoking the Disaster Management Act which does not empower
the kind of sweeping restrictions now in place

anicca

These three basic facts of all existence are:

Impermanence or Change (anicca)
Suffering or Unsatisfactoriness (dukkha)
Not-self or Insubstantiality (anattaa).

The Fact of Impermanence

Words of the Matteyya Awakened One with Awareness

The
perceiving of impermanence, bhikkhus, developed and frequently
practiced, removes all sensual passion, removes all passion for material
existence, removes all passion for becoming, removes all ignorance,
removes and abolishes all conceit of “I am.”

Just
as in the autumn a farmer, plowing with a large plow, cuts through all
the spreading rootlets as he plows; in the same way, bhikkhus, the
perceiving of impermanence, developed and frequently practiced, removes
all sensual passion… removes and abolishes all conceit of “I am.”

— SN 22.102

It
would be better, bhikkhus, if an uninstructed ordinary person regarded
this body, made of the four great elements, as himself rather than the
mind. For what reason? This body is seen to continue for a year, for two
years, five years, ten years, twenty years, fifty years, a hundred
years, and even more. But of that which is called mind, is called
thought, is called consciousness, one moment arises and ceases as
another continually both day and night.

— SN 12.61

Aniccaa vata sa”nkhaaraa — uppaada vaya dhammino
Uppajjitvaa nirujjhanti — tesa.m vuupasamo sukho.

— Mahaa-Parinibbaana Sutta (DN 16)[1]

The Matteyya Awakened One with Awareness explains:

The
five aggregates, monks, are anicca, impermanent; whatever is
impermanent, that is dukkha, unsatisfactory; whatever is dukkha, that is
without attaa, self. What is without self, that is not mine, that I am
not, that is not my self. Thus should it be seen by perfect wisdom
(sammappa~n~naaya) as it really is. Who sees by perfect wisdom, as it
really is, his mind, not grasping, is detached from taints; he is
liberated.

— SN 22.45

The
Matteyya Awakened One with Awareness gives five very striking similes
to illustrate the ephemeral nature of the five aggregates. He compares
material form to a lump of foam, feeling to a bubble, perception to a
mirage, mental formations to a plantain trunk (which is pithless,
without heartwood), and consciousness to an illusion, and asks: “What
essence, monks, could there be in a lump of foam, in a bubble, in a
mirage, in a plantain trunk, in an illusion?”

Continuing, the Matteyya Awakened One with Awareness says:

Whatever
material form there be: whether past, future, or present; internal or
external; gross or subtle; low or lofty; far or near; that material form
the monk sees, meditates upon, examines with systematic attention, he
thus seeing, meditating upon, and examining with systematic attention,
would find it empty, he would find it insubstantial and without essence.
What essence, monks, could there be in material form?

The Matteyya Awakened One with Awareness speaks in the same manner of the remaining aggregates and asks:

What essence, monks, could there be in feeling, in perception, in mental formations and in consciousness?

— SN 22.95

Thus
we see that a more advanced range of thought comes with the analysis of
the five aggregates. It is at this stage that right understanding known
as insight (vipassanaa) begins to work. It is through this insight that
the true nature of the aggregates is grasped and seen in the light of
the three characteristics (ti-lakkhana), namely: impermanence,
unsatisfactoriness, and no-self.

It
is not only the five aggregates that are impermanent, unsatisfactory,
and without self, but the causes and conditions that produce the
aggregates are also impermanent, unsatisfactory, and without self.
This point the Matteyya Awakened One with Awareness makes very clear:

Material
form, feeling, perception, mental formations and consciousness, monks,
are impermanent (anicca). Whatever causes and conditions there are for
the arising of these aggregates, they, too, are impermanent. How monks,
could aggregates arisen from what is impermanent, be permanent?

Material
form… and consciousness, monks, are unsatisfactory (dukkha); whatever
causes and conditions there are for the arising of these aggregates,
they too are unsatisfactory. How, monks, could aggregates arise from
what is unsatisfactory be pleasant or pleasurable?

Material
form… and consciousness, monks, are without a self (anattaa);
whatever causes and conditions there are for the arising of these
aggregates, they, too are without self. How, monks, could aggregates
arise from what is without self be self (attaa)?

The
instructed noble disciple (sutavaa ariyasaavako), monks, seeing thus
becomes dispassionate towards material form, feeling, perception, mental
formations and consciousness: Through dispassion he is detached;
through detachment he is liberated; in liberation the knowledge comes to
be that he is liberated, and he understands: Destroyed is birth, lived
is the life of purity, done is what was to be done, there is no more of
this to come [meaning that there is no more continuity of the
aggregates, that is, no more becoming or rebirth].

— SN 22.7-9, abridged

The
Matteyya Awakened One with Awareness speaks of three kinds of illusion
or perversions (vipallaasa, Skt. viparyaasa) that grip man’s mind,
namely: the illusions of perception, thought, and view (sa~n~naa
vipallaasa; citta vipallaasa; di.t.thi vipallaasa).[2] Now when a man is
caught up in these illusions he perceives, thinks, and views
incorrectly.

He
perceives permanence in the impermanent; satisfactoriness in the
unsatisfactory (ease and happiness in suffering); self in what is not
self (a soul in the soulless); beauty in the repulsive.

He
thinks and views in the same erroneous manner. Thus each illusion works
in four ways (AN 4.49), and leads man astray, clouds his vision, and
confuses him. This is due to unwise reflections, to unsystematic
attention (ayoniso manasikaara). Right understanding (or insight
meditation — vipassanaa) alone removes these illusions and helps man to
cognize the real nature that underlies all appearance. It is only when
man comes out of this cloud of illusions and perversions that he shines
with true wisdom like the full moon that emerges brilliant from behind a
black cloud.

The
aggregates of mind and body, being ever subject to cause and effect, as
we saw above, pass through the inconceivably rapid moments of arising,
presently existing, and ceasing (uppaada, .thiti, bha”nga), just as the
unending waves of the sea or as a river in flood sweeps to a climax and
subsides. Indeed, human life is compared to a mountain stream that flows
and rushes on, changing incessantly (AN 7.70) “nadisoto viya,” like a
flowing stream.

Heraclitus,
that renowned Greek philosopher, was the first Western writer to speak
about the fluid nature of things. He taught the Panta Rhei doctrine, the
flux theory, at Athens, and one wonders if that teaching was
transmitted to him from India.

“There
is no static being,” says Heraclitus, “no unchanging substratum.
Change, movement, is Lord of the Universe. Everything is in a state of
becoming, of continual flux (Panta Rhei).”

He
continues: “You cannot step twice into the same river; for fresh waters
are ever flowing in upon you.” Nevertheless one who understands the
root of the Dhamma would go a step further and say: The same man cannot
step twice into the same river; for the so called man who is only a
conflux of mind and body, never remains the same for two consecutive
moments.”[3]

It
is said that through insight meditation (vipassanaa) one sees things as
they really are (yathaabhuutam) and not as they appear to be. Viewing
things as they really are implies, as we discussed above, seeing the
impermanent, unsatisfactory, and no-self nature of all conditioned and
component things. To such a meditative disciple of the Matteyya Awakened
One with Awareness the “world” is not the external or the empirical
world, but the human body with its consciousness. It is the world of the
five aggregates of clinging (pa~nca upaadaanakkhandaa). It is this that
he tries to understand as impermanent, unsatisfactory, and without self
or soul. It is to this world of body and mind that the Matteyya
Awakened One with Awareness referred to when he said to Mogharaaja,
“Ever mindful, Mogharaaja, see the world as void (su~n~na); having given
up the notion of a self [underlying it] — so may one overcome death
(Maara); The King of Death sees not one who thus knows the world” (Sutta
Nipaata).

“Material body is not self, feeling is
not self, perception is not self, mental formations are not self,
consciousness is not self. Then what self do selfless deeds affect?”

The
Matteyya Awakened One with Awareness, reading the thought of the monk’s
mind, said, “The question was beside the point” and made the monk
understand the impermanent, unsatisfactory, and non-self nature of the
aggregates.

“It
is wrong to say that the doer of the deed is the same as the one who
experiences its results. It is equally wrong to say that the doer of the
deed and the one who experiences its results are two different
persons,”[4] for the simple reason that what we call life is a flow of
psychic and physical processes or energies, arising and ceasing
constantly; it is not possible to say that the doer himself experiences
results because he is changing now, every moment of his life; but at the
same time you must not forget the fact that the continuity of life that
is the continuance of experience, the procession of events is not lost;
it continues without a gap. The child is not the same as an adolescent,
the adolescent is not the same as the adult, they are neither the same
nor totally different persons (na ca so na ca a~n~no, — Milinda Pa~nho).
There is only a flow of bodily and mental processes.

There
are three types of teachers, the first one teaches that the ego or the
self is real now as well as in the future (here and hereafter); the
second one teaches that the ego is real only in this life, not in the
future; the third one teaches that the concept of an ego is an illusion:
it is not real either in this life or in the hereafter.

The
first one is the eternalist (sassatavaadi); the second one is the
annihilationist (ucchedavaadi); the third one is the Matteyya Awakened
One with Awareness who teaches the middle way of avoiding the extremes
of eternalism and annihilationism. (Here the middle way is the doctrine
of dependent arising, or causal conditioning — Paticca Samuppaada).

..He
then hears the Perfect One expounding the teaching for the removal of
all grounds for “views,” of all prejudices, obsessions, dogmas, and
biases, for the stilling of all processes, for the relinquishment of all
substrata of existence, for the extirpation of craving, for dispassion,
cessation, extinction. He then thinks, “I shall be annihilated, I shall
be destroyed! No longer shall I exist!” Hence he grieves, is depressed
and laments; beating his breast, he weeps, and dejection befalls him.
Thus, bhikkhus, is there anxiety about realities.

— MN 22

To this, the only authentic answer is:

Since
in this very life a tathaagata (in this case generally understood as a
human being in the widest sense) is not to be regarded as existing in
truth, in reality, is it proper for you to assert: “as I understand the
doctrine taught by the Exalted One, insofar as a bhikkhu has destroyed
the aasavas [life’s “intoxicants” or passions] he is broken up and
perishes when body is broken up, he exists not after death.”?

— SN 22.85

For
the categorical relation of mind and matter (or “name and form,” naamaa
ruupam, as implied in the foregoing formulation), the following
statement of the Matteyya Awakened One with Awareness is the most
adequate and also the best-known in connection with our subject:

It
would be better, bhikkhus, for the unlearned worldling to regard this
body, built up of the four elements, as his self rather than the mind.
For it is evident that this body may last for a year, for two years, for
three, four, five or ten years… or even for a hundred years and more.
But that which is called thought, or mind, or consciousness,
continuously, during day and night, arises as one thing, and passes away
as another thing.

— SN 12.61

According
to the Matteyya Awakened One with Awareness, the person reaping the
fruits of good and bad actions (in a future life) is neither the same
one who has committed these actions nor a different one. The same
principle applies to the structural identification of a person in any
other respect and circumstance, in the stream of one single physical
life.

The
Buddhist refutation of both these extremes finds classical expression in
the following words of the Matteyya Awakened One with Awareness:

This
world, O Kaccaayana, generally proceeds on a duality, of the “it is”
and the “it is not.” But, O Kaccaayana, whoever perceives in truth and
wisdom how things originate in the world, for him there is no “it is
not” in this world. Whoever, Kaccaayana, perceives in truth and wisdom
how things pass away in the world, for him there is no “it is” in this
world.

— SN 12.15

What
is that duality? It is eye, which is impermanent, changing,
becoming-other, and visible objects, which are impermanent, changing,
and becoming-other: such is the transient, fugitive duality [of
eye-cum-visible objects], which is impermanent, changing, and
becoming-other. Eye-consciousness too is impermanent. For how could
eye-consciousness arisen by depending on an impermanent condition be
permanent? The coincidence, concurrence, and confluence of these three
factors which is called contact and those other mental phenomena arising
as a result are also impermanent. (The same formula is applied to the
other sense-organs and the consciousnesses named after them.)

— SN 35.93

It is in view of the impermanence and insubstantiality of consciousness that Matteyya Awakened One with Awareness has declared:

Better
were it bhikkhus that the uneducated many-folk should conceive this
four-element-made body, rather than citta, to be soul. And why? The body
is seen to persist for a year, for two, three, four, five, ten or
twenty years, for a generation, even for a hundred years or even for
longer, while that which is called consciousness, that is mind, that is
intelligence, arises as one thing, ceases as another, both by day and
night.

— SN 12.61


“Do
you see, O bhikkhus, such a soul-theory in the acceptance of which,
there would not arise grief, lamentation, suffering, distress, and
tribulation?”

“Certainly not, Sir.”

“Good,
O bhikkhus, I too, O bhikkhus, do not see a soul-theory, in the
acceptance of which there would not arise grief, lamentation, suffering,
distress, and tribulation.”

— MN 22

There
is no single treatise on the characteristic of impermanence either in
the Tipi.taka or its commentaries, and so we shall have to bring
together passages from a number of sources. We may also bear in mind
that the Buddha does not confine descriptions of a general nature such
as this to the observed alone, but extends them to include the observer,
regarded as actively committed in the world he observes and acting on
it as it acts on him, so long as craving and ignorance remain
unabolished. “That in the world by which one perceives the world
[loka-sa~n~nii] and conceives concepts about the world [loka-maanii] is
called ‘the world’ in the Ariyas’s Discipline. And what is it in the
world with which one does that? It is with the eye, ear, nose, tongue,
body, and mind” (SN 35.116/vol. iv, 95). That same world “is being worn
away [lujjhati], that is why it is called ‘world’ [loka]” (SN 35.82/vol.
iv, 52). That impermanence is not only appropriate to all of any arisen
situation but also to the totality of all arisen situations:

“Bhikkhu,
there is no materiality whatever… feeling… perception…
formations… consciousness whatever that is permanent, everlasting,
eternal, not subject to change, that will last as long as eternity.”

Then
the Blessed One took a small piece of cowdung in his hand he told the
bhikkhu: “Bhikkhu, if even that much of permanent, everlasting, eternal
individual selfhood [attabhaava], not subject to change could be found,
then this living of a life of purity [brahmacariya] could not be
described as for the complete exhaustion of suffering [dukkhakkhaya].”

— SN 22.96/vol. iii, 144

And again:

“Bhikkhus,
I do not dispute with the world [the ‘world’ in the sense of other
people], the world disputes with me: no one who proclaims the True Idea
[dhamma] disputes with anyone in the world. What wise men in the world
say there is not [natthi], that I too say there is not; and what wise
men in the world say there is [atthi], that I too say there is… Wise
men in the world say there is no permanent, everlasting, eternal
materiality not subject to change, and I too say there is none. [And
likewise with the other four categories.] Wise men in the world say that
there is impermanent materiality that is unpleasant and the subject to
change, and I too say there is that.”

— SN 22.94/vol. iii, 138-9

The Matteyya Awakened One with Awareness’s last words were:

Handa
daani bhikkhave aamantayaami vo: vayadhammaa sa”nkhaaraa, appamaadena
sampaadetha — Indeed, bhikkhus, I declare to you: All formations are
subject to dissolution; attain perfection through diligence.

— DN 16/vol. ii, 156

A little earlier he had said:

Has
it not already been repeatedly said by me that there is separation,
division, and parting from all that is dear and beloved? How could it be
that what is born, come to being, formed and is liable to fall, should
not fall? That is not possible.

— DN 16/vol. ii, 144

There are, besides these, countless passages where this exhortation is variously developed, from which only a few can be chosen.

Bhikkhus, when a man sees as impermanent the eye [and the rest], which is impermanent, then he has right view.

— SN 35.155/vol. iv, 142

Bhikkhus,
formations are impermanent, they are not lasting, they provide no real
comfort; so much so that that is enough for a man to become
dispassionate, for his lust to fade out, and for him to be liberated.

— AN 7.62/vol. iv, 100

What
is perception of impermanence? Here, Aananda, a bhikkhu, gone to the
forest or to the root of a tree or to a room that is void, considers
thus: “Materiality is impermanent, feeling… perception…
formations… consciousness is impermanent.” He abides contemplating in
this way impermanence in the five “categories affected by clinging.”

AN 10.60/vol. v, 109

What
is perception of impermanence in the world of all [all the world]?
Here, Aananda, a bhikkhu is humiliated, ashamed, and disgusted with
respect to all formations.

— AN 10.60/vol v, 111

Perception
of impermanence should be maintained in being for the elimination of
the conceit “I am,” since perception of not-self becomes established in
one who perceives impermanence, and it is perception of not-self that
arrives at the elimination of the conceit “I am,” which is extinction
[nibbaana] here and now.

— Ud. Iv, 1/p.37

And
how is perception of impermanence maintained in being and developed so
that all lust for sensual desires [kaama], for materiality [ruupa], and
for being [bhava], and also all ignorance are ended and so that all
kinds of the conceit “I am” are abolished? “Such is materiality, such
its origin, such its disappearance; such is feeling,…, perception,…
formations,… consciousness, such its origin, such its disappearance.”

— SN 22.102/vol. iii, 156-7

Here,
bhikkhus, feelings… perceptions… thoughts [vitakka] are known to
him as they arise, known as they appear present, known as they
disappear. Maintenance of this kind of concentration in being conduces
to mindfulness and full awareness… Here a bhikkhu abides contemplating
rise and fall in the five categories affected by clinging thus: “Such
is materiality, such its origin, such its disappearance, [and so with
the other four].” Maintenance of this kind of concentration conduces to
the exhaustion of taints [aasava].

— DN 33/vol. iii, 223

When
a man abides thus mindful and fully aware, diligent, ardent, and
self-controlled, then if a pleasant feeling arises in him, he
understands “This pleasant feeling has arisen in me; but that is
dependent not independent. Dependent on what? Dependent on this body.
But this body is impermanent, formed, and dependently originated. Now
how could pleasant feeling, arisen dependent on an impermanent, formed,
dependently arisen body, be permanent? In the body and in feeling he
abides contemplating impermanence and fall and fading and cessation and
relinquishment. As he does so, his underlying tendency to lust for the
body and for pleasant feeling is abandoned.” Similarly, when he
contemplates unpleasant feeling, his underlying tendency to resistance
[pa.tigha] to the body and unpleasant feeling is abandoned; and when he
contemplates neither-unpleasant-nor-pleasant feeling his underlying tendency to ignorance of the body and of that feeling is abandoned.

— SN 36.7/vol. iv, 211-2

When
a bhikkhu abides much with his mind fortified by perception of
impermanence, his mind retreats, retracts, and recoils from gain, honor,
and renown, and does not reach out to it, just as a cock’s feather or
strip of sinew thrown on a fire retreats, retracts, and recoils and does
not reach out to it.

— AN 7.46/vol. iv, 51

When
a bhikkhu sees six rewards it should be enough for him to establish
unlimitedly perception of impermanence in all formations. What six? “All
formations will seem to me insubstantial; and my mind will find no
relish in the world of all [all the world]; and my mind will emerge from
the world of all [from all the world]; and my mind will incline towards
extinction; and my fetters will come to be abandoned; and I shall be
endowed with the supreme state of a recluse.”

— AN 6.102/vol. iii, 443

When
a man abides contemplating impermanence in the bases for contact [the
eye and the rest], the outcome is that awareness of repulsiveness in
contact is established in him; and when he abides contemplating rise and
fall in the five categories affected by clinging, the outcome is that
awareness of repulsiveness in clinging is established in him.

— AN 5.30/vol. iii, 32

Fruitful
as the act of giving is… yet it is still more fruitful to go with
confident heart for refuge to the Buddha, the Dhamma and of the Sa”ngha
and undertake the five precepts of virtue… Fruitful as that is… yet
it is still more fruitful to maintain loving-kindness in being for only
as long as the milking of a cow… Fruitful as that is… yet it is
still more fruitful to maintain perception of impermanence in being for
only as long as the snapping of a finger.

— AN 9.20/vol. 392-6 abbr.

Better a single day of life perceiving how things rise and fall than to live out a century yet not perceive their rise and fall.

— Dhp 113

It is impossible that a person with right view should see any formation as permanent.

— MN 115/vol. iii, 64

Lastly, a Sutta passage emphasizes a special relation with faith (saddhaa).

Materiality
[and the rest] is impermanent, changing, becoming other. Whoever
decides about, places his faith in, these dhammas in this way is called
mature in faith [saddhaanusaari]. He has alighted upon the certainty of
rightness… Whoever has a liking to meditate by test of experiment with
understanding upon these dhammas is called mature in the true idea
[dhammaanusaari]. He has alighted upon the certainty of rightness…
Whoever has a liking to meditate by test of experiment with
understanding upon these dhammas is called mature in the true idea
[dhammaanusaari]. He has alighted upon the certainty of rightness…

— SN 25.1-10/vol. iii, 225 f.

The Matteyya Awakened One with Awareness replied, “Any such river can be halted


with the dam of mindfulness. This is why he called mindfulness the flood


stopper. With wisdom you can close the flood gates.”










Undertake



work while staying indoors, have to do our work and we have to take


care of the society. Sleep and get up early morning. Follow the curfew


then the work of All Aboriginal Awakened Societies can be done. Train


the parents to teach their children to wash their clothes, take bath and


iron their clothes.
We

can practice concentration  in different postures of the body with our

family members in smaller groups of five-seven within families.

We



have to remember Voice of All Aboriginal Awakened Societies in spirit.


Educate them in English and own mother tongue and also all the 116


classical languages of the world using https://translate.google.com.














Matteyya Awakened One with Awareness teachings on










When the Matteyya Awakened One with Awareness was asked















“Chaos is inherent in all compounded things. Strive on with diligence.”





“To be idle is a short road to death and to be diligent is a way of life; foolish people are idle, wise people are diligent.”

“I never see what has been done; I only see what remains to be done.”






“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”






“It



is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the



victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by



demons, heaven or hell.”





“It is better to travel well than to arrive.”





“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.”





“The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows.”





“There



is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates



people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up



pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a



sword that kills.”





“Thousands



of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the



candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being



shared.”





“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.”





“What we think, we become.“





Thoughts and ideas go further through action.





“A jug fills drop by drop.”



“An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea.”

“Hatred does not cease through hatred at any time. Hatred ceases through compassion.



This is an unalterable law.”







“Have compassion for all beings, rich and poor alike; each has their suffering. Some suffer too much, others too little.”



“Holding on to anger is



like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else;




you are the one who gets burned.”



“In a controversy the



instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth, and



have begun striving for ourselves.”





“Teach



this triple truth to all: A generous mind, kind speech, and a life of



service and compassion are the things which renew humanity.”





“To understand everything is to forgive everything.”







“You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.”

Health


A healthy mind and body empower us for life.





“Every human being is the author of his own health or disease.”



“Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.”



“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the



past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in



the present moment wisely and earnestly.”



“To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to



bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own



mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Awakenment



with Awareness and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him.”





“To keep the body in good health is a duty … otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.”



“Without health life is not life; it is only a state of languor and suffering an image of death.”

Life and Living


Life is a journey and wisdom is the North Star.





“He



who experiences the unity of life sees his own Self in all beings, and



all beings in his own Self, and looks on everything with an impartial




eye.”



“Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life.”



“Just as treasures are



uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds, and wisdom



appears from a pure and peaceful mind. To walk safely through the maze



of human life, one needs the light of wisdom and the guidance of




virtue.”



“Life is suffering.”

“The foot feels the foot when it feels the ground with bare foot.”





“There has to be evil so that good can prove its purity above it.”



“To live a pure unselfish life, one must count nothing as one’s own in the midst of abundance.”



“When you realize how perfect everything is you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky.”







“You cannot travel the path until you have become the path itself.”





“Your work is to discover your work and then with all your mind to give yourself to it.”

Compassion,Connection, and Unity


We have an impact, and we’re worth it.





“All



things appear and disappear because of the concurrence of causes and




conditions. Nothing ever exists entirely alone; everything is in



relation to everything else.”





“Ambition is like compassion, impatient both of delays and rivals.”





“Unity can only be manifested by the Binary. Unity itself and the idea of Unity are already two.”





“You



can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more



deserving of your compassion and affection than you are yourself, and



that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as



anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.”





 Mind, Thought, and Thinking

Our thoughts shape us, and the world around us.





“All wrong-doing arises because of mind. If mind is transformed can wrong-doing remain?”





“An



insincere and evil friend is more to be feared than a wild beast; a



wild beast may wound your body, but an evil friend will wound your



mind.”



“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no



matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your




own common sense.”



“He is able who thinks he is able.”





“It is a man’s own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways.”

“The mind is everything. What you think you become.”




“Those who are free of resentful thoughts surely find peace.”



“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.”







Personal Development

Master yourself.




“Do not overrate what you have received, nor envy others. He who envies others does not obtain peace of mind.”



“The virtues, like the Muses, are always seen in groups. A good principle was never found solitary in any breast.”



“To conquer oneself is a greater task than conquering others.”





“Virtue is persecuted more by the wicked than it is loved by the good.”



“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.”

Self-Reliance


Don’t let yourself down.




“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.”



“Work out your own salvation. Do not depend on others.”

Speech


Choose your words carefully.





“A



dog is not considered a good dog because he is a good barker. A man is



not considered a good man because he is a good talker.”


“Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.”

“The tongue like a sharp knife … Kills without drawing blood.”


“The wise ones fashioned speech with their thought, sifting it as grain is sifted through a sieve.”



“Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill.”

Truth


It’s all around us.


“In



the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create




distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.”

“There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.”



“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.”










Current World Population

COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic Recovered:2,498,730

Last updated: May 28, 2020, 04:33 GMT







56,962,487 Births this year
160,466 Births today

23,914,216 Deaths this year

67,367 Deaths today

while World 23,914,216 Deaths this year COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic Recovered:2,498,730










Coronavirus Cases:5,792,253 Deaths 357,467

All are Happy, Well, and Secure having calm, quiet, alert, attentive that is Wisdom and
equanimity mind not reacting to good and bad thoughts
with a clear understanding that everything is changing!



Countries and territories without any cases of COVID-19



  • 1. Comoros,
  • 2. North Korea, 
  • 3. Yemen,
  • 4. The Federated States of Micronesia,
  • 5. Kiribati,
  • 6. Solomon Islands,
  • 7. The Cook Islands,
  • 8. Micronesia,
  • 9. Tonga,
  • 10. The Marshall Islands Palau,
  • 11. American Samoa, 
  • 12. South Georgia
  •  13. South Sandwich Islands.
  • 14.Saint Helena.

    Europe

    15. Aland Islands
    16.Svalbard

  • 17. Jan Mayen Islands


  • 18. Latin America

    19.Africa

    20.British Indian Ocean Territory


    21.French Southern Territories
    22.Lesotho

  • 23.Oceania

  • 24.Christmas Island
    25. Cocos (Keeling) Islands

  • 26. Heard Island

  • 27. McDonald Islands

    28. Niue
    29. Norfolk Island
    30. Pitcairn
    31. Solomon Islands
    Tokelau
    United States Minor Outlying Islands
    Wallis and Futuna Islands

  • Tajikistan,
  • Turkmenistan,
  • Tuvalu,
  • Vanuatu



Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

1. Dasa raja dhamma

2. kusala.

3. Kuutadanta Sutta dana
4. priyavacana

 5. artha cariya

 6. samanatmata

7. Samyutta Nikayaarya

” or

“ariyasammutideva
8. Agganna Sutta
9. Majjima Nikaya
10. arya” or “ariya
11.sammutideva
12. Digha Nikaya
13. Maha Sudassana

14. Dittadhammikatthasamvattanika-dhamma

15. Canon Sutta

16. Pali Canon and Suttapitaka

17. Iddhipada

18. Lokiyadhamma and Lokuttaradhamma
19. Brahmavihàra
20. Sangahavatthu
21. Nathakaranadhamma
22. Saraniyadhamma

23. Adhipateyya Dithadhammikattha
24. dukkha
25. anicca
26. anatta
Samsara
Cakkamatti Sihananda Sutta,
Kutadanta Sutta
Chandagati
Dosagati
Mohagati
Bhayagati
Yoniso manasikara
BrahmavihàraSangahavatthu
Nathakaranadhamma
SaraniyadhammaAdhipateyya
Dithadhammikattha
Mara
Law of Kamma
Vasettha Sutta in Majjhima Nikaya

Ambattha Sutta in Digha Nikaya

Assamedha

Sassamedha


Naramedha

Purisamedha


Sammapasa

Vajapeyya

Niraggala

Sila

Samadhi

Panna

Samma-sankappa

Sigalovada Sutta

Brahmajala Sutta

Digha Nikaya (Mahaparinibbana-sutta
dhammamahamatras

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30. Pitcairn

Friends

clouds mountains GIF by Joanie Lemercier
Life on Pitcairn Island - home of the descendants of the mutineers from HMS Bounty
Redfern Natural History Productions
75.5K subscribers
Watch
the three-part Britain’s Treasure Islands documentary series on BBC
FOUR, starting Tue 12 Apr 2016 21:00. (repeated Wed 13 Apr 2016 20:00).
Pitcairn
Island was settled by the descendants of the mutineers who commandeered
the HMS Bounty in 1789. Today, the community on Pitcairn consists of
around 50 people who have fascinating history, culture and customs. In
this film, we visit Pitcairn Island to meet the islanders and discover
life on one of the world’s most remote inhabited islands.
Please
note: although complementary to the BBC FOUR series, the 40 short
mini-documentaries are not commissioned or editorially overseen by BBC.
BRITAIN’S TREASURE ISLANDS - MINI-DOCUMENTARIES
Introduction
Overview of the UK Overseas Territories https://youtu.be/gl9As81DiDE
Filming the Britain’s Treasure Islands TV documentary series https://youtu.be/W2_yNNE-mCw
Stewart McPherson’s lecture at the Royal Geographical Society https://youtu.be/xOt93lM2F2I
Mini-documentaries about each of the UK Overseas Territories
Ascension Island – wildlife and heritage https://youtu.be/XpLeHUCuY8c
Saint Helena – wildlife and heritage https://youtu.be/qIsI6paJYZs
Tristan da Cunha – wildlife and heritage https://youtu.be/Fspkfxcrfwc
Falkland Islands – wildlife and heritage https://youtu.be/DzOIb4D8SQE
South Georgia – wildlife and heritage https://youtu.be/oHZUibDpWuk
British Antarctic Territory – wildlife and heritage https://youtu.be/_V88voefIQk
British Indian Ocean Territory – wildlife and heritage https://youtu.be/nnDKVZQhCbI
Pitcairn Islands – wildlife and heritage https://youtu.be/yJZQyhx13AA
Bermuda – wildlife and heritage https://youtu.be/oIxF74vcfzM
Cayman Islands – wildlife and heritage https://youtu.be/TrSetBtLAB8
British Virgin Islands – wildlife and heritage https://youtu.be/z1lvLLG1Csg
Montserrat – wildlife and heritage https://youtu.be/BFnetjV8W2c
Anguilla – wildlife and heritage https://youtu.be/Bf3E6pD1nHM
Turks and Caicos Islands – wildlife and heritage https://youtu.be/JR_vLHHCO10
Akrotiri and Dhekelia – wildlife and heritage https://youtu.be/t4vqTl3EozM
Gibraltar – wildlife and heritage https://youtu.be/F4ueaYy9TRM
Mini-documentaries about specific subjects on particular UK Overseas Territories
Ascension Island – natives and aliens https://youtu.be/F0xMAIFgPg4
Ascension Island – supplying the garrison https://youtu.be/8BUDEUwx0hE
Saint Helena – wirebird conservation https://youtu.be/dlXg5zrBIlA
Saint Helena – plant conservation https://youtu.be/bL-pAsNHLdY
Life on Tristan da Cunha – the World’s Most Remote Inhabited Island https://youtu.be/n4ElF8awm90
Tristan da Cunha – the Monster Mice of Gough Island https://youtu.be/wT14Q7pZJzo
Falkland Islands – Jimmy the ex-whaler https://youtu.be/alaCe4LbWyo
British Indian Ocean Territory – coconut crabs https://youtu.be/JCkNSWz-IDc
British Indian Ocean Territory – seabirds https://youtu.be/quksfCDxbGE
British Indian Ocean Territory – underwater https://youtu.be/cTJd_WW_NHI
Pitcairn Islands – Henderson Island’s wildlife https://youtu.be/6jK3As_VAjc
Life on Pitcairn Island – home of the descendants of the mutineers from HMS Bounty https://youtu.be/vPZHzfRXzjA
Mini-documentaries about systematic wildlife groups across all of the UK Overseas Territories
Terrestrial Invertebrates of the UK Overseas Territories https://youtu.be/16AuBMsI_GY
Amphibians and Reptiles of the UK Overseas Territories https://youtu.be/JrFeLvyJ0Io
Plants of the UK Overseas Territories https://youtu.be/JimYKMzLaqY
Mammals of the UK Overseas Territories https://youtu.be/lnthUbLaBFk
Birds of the UK Overseas Territories https://youtu.be/A0irRRrUbKk
Marine Life of the UK Overseas Territories https://youtu.be/Bu5TydBKFFo
Overview mini-documentaries
Conservation Lessons of the UKOTs https://youtu.be/8VIK87Gd134
Islands of Evolution https://youtu.be/dP7nFXkOg48
Overview of the Britain’s Treasure Islands book https://youtu.be/OYgKyuC3xVY
Shipping 5,000 books to all UK secondary schools COMING SOON
Overview of Britain’s Treasure Islands TV documentary series https://youtu.be/ynR40R50Unc
Category
Travel & Events
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family dynamics, maximizing the
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25. anicca
The Four Thoughts–Impermanence

Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
237K subscribers
In
this short teaching, Mingyur Rinpoche discusses the second of the four
common foundational practices, also called the four thoughts. These
practices help us understand our true nature and develop wisdom that can
end suffering. They aid in seeing and ending our negative habitual
patterns. The second thought, impermanence, helps to make our mind less
rigid and fixed as we realize that everything in the world is always
changing.

This video includes subtitle captions in English, German, and Spanish.

You can discuss this teaching in the Monthly Teachings Forum of learning.tergar.org under the topic The Four Thoughts – Impermanence.
Video length: 5 Minutes
Reflection Questions

How might realizing that things are not as fixed and permanent as we think help us to be happier?
Have you found meditation on impermanence to be helpful in your life, and if so, how?

To
learn more about meditation or about Mingyur Rinpoche and his
teachings, please visit the Tergar Meditation Community online at
http://learning.tergar.org.

The Three Basic Facts of Existence
I. Impermanence (Anicca)
with a preface by
Nyanaponika Thera
© 2006
See also The Three Basic Facts of Existence III: Egolessness (Anattaa), The Wheel Publication No. 202/203/204
Contents

Preface
Motto
Words of the Buddha
The Fact of Impermanence (Piyadassi Thera)
Aniccam: The Buddhist Theory of Impermanence (Bhikkhu Ñanajivako)
A Walk in the Woods (Phra Khantipalo)
The Buddhist Doctrine of Anicca (Impermanence) (Y. Karunadasa)
Anicca (Impermanence) According to Theravada (Bhikkhu Ñanamoli)

Preface

If
we contemplate even a minute sector of the vast range of life, we are
faced with such a tremendous variety of life’s manifestations that it
defeats description. And yet three basic statements can be made that are
valid for all animate existence, from the microbe up to the creative
mind of a human genius. These features common to all life were first
found and formulated over 2500 years ago by the Buddha, who was rightly
called “Knower of the Worlds” (loka-vidu). They are the Three
Characteristics (ti-lakkha.na)
of all that is conditioned, i.e., dependently arisen. In English
renderings, they are also sometimes called Signs, Signata, or Marks.

anicca

These three basic facts of all existence are:

Impermanence or Change (anicca)
Suffering or Unsatisfactoriness (dukkha)
Not-self or Insubstantiality (anattaa).

The
first and the third apply to inanimate existence as well, while the
second (suffering) is, of course, only an experience of the animate. The
inanimate, however, can be, and very often is, a cause of suffering for
living beings: for instance, a falling stone may cause injury or loss
of property may cause mental pain. In that sense, the three are common
to all that is conditioned, even to what is below or beyond the normal
range of human perception.

Existence
can be understood only if these three basic facts are comprehended, and
this not only logically, but in confrontation with one’s own
experience. Insight-wisdom (vipassanaa-pa~n~naa) which is the ultimate
liberating factor in Buddhism, consists just of this experience of the
three characteristics applied to one’s own bodily and mental processes,
and deepened and matured in meditation.

To
“see things as they really are” means seeing them consistently in the
light of the three characteristics. Ignorance of these three, or
self-deception about them, is by itself a potent cause for suffering —
by knitting, as it were, the net of false hopes, of unrealistic and
harmful desires, of false ideologies, false values and aims of life, in
which man is caught. Ignoring or distorting these three basic facts can
only lead to frustration, disappointment, and despair.

Hence,
from a positive as well as a negative angle, this teaching on the Three
Basic Facts of Existence is of such vital importance that it was
thought desirable to add here more material to those brief expositions
that had already appeared in this series.

Beginning
with the present volume on Impermanence, each of the Three
Characteristics will receive separate treatment by different authors and
from different angles, with a great variety of approach.

Each
of these three publications will be concluded by an essay of the late
Venerable Ñanamoli Thera, in which all important canonical source
material on the respective Characteristic is collected, systematized,
and discussed. These tersely written articles merit close study and will
be found very helpful in the analytical as well as meditative approach
to the subject. Regrettably, the premature death of the venerable author
prevented him from writing a fourth article planned by him, which was
to deal with the interrelation of the Three Characteristics.

These
three articles of the Venerable Ñanamoli were originally written for
the Encyclopaedia of Buddhism, and the first one, on Anicca, appeared in
Volume I, p. 657ff., of that work. For kind permission to reproduce
these articles, the Buddhist Publication Society is much obliged to the
Editor-in-Chief of the Encyclopaedia, Dr. G. P. Malalasekera, and to the
publishers, the Department of Cultural Affairs, Colombo.

— Nyanaponika.
Motto

Whatever IS will be WAS.

— Bhikkhu Ñanamoli

The
decisively characteristic thing about this world is its transience. In
this sense, centuries have no advantage over the present moment. Thus
the continuity of transience cannot give any consolation; the fact that
life blossoms among ruins proves not so much the tenacity of life as
that of death.

— Franz Kafka

The Fact of Impermanence

Words of the Matteyya Awakened One with Awareness

The
perceiving of impermanence, bhikkhus, developed and frequently
practiced, removes all sensual passion, removes all passion for material
existence, removes all passion for becoming, removes all ignorance,
removes and abolishes all conceit of “I am.”

Just
as in the autumn a farmer, plowing with a large plow, cuts through all
the spreading rootlets as he plows; in the same way, bhikkhus, the
perceiving of impermanence, developed and frequently practiced, removes
all sensual passion… removes and abolishes all conceit of “I am.”

— SN 22.102

It
would be better, bhikkhus, if an uninstructed ordinary person regarded
this body, made of the four great elements, as himself rather than the
mind. For what reason? This body is seen to continue for a year, for two
years, five years, ten years, twenty years, fifty years, a hundred
years, and even more. But of that which is called mind, is called
thought, is called consciousness, one moment arises and ceases as
another continually both day and night.

— SN 12.61

The Fact of Impermanence
by Piyadassi Thera

“Impermanent,
subject to change, are component things. Strive on with heedfulness!”
This was the final admonition of the Buddha Gotama to his disciples.

And when the Buddha had passed away, Sakka, the chief of the deities, uttered the following:

Impermanent are all component things,
They arise and cease, that is their nature:
They come into being and pass away,
Release from them is bliss supreme.

Aniccaa vata sa”nkhaaraa — uppaada vaya dhammino
Uppajjitvaa nirujjhanti — tesa.m vuupasamo sukho.

— Mahaa-Parinibbaana Sutta (DN 16)[1]

Even
up to present times, at every Buddhist funeral in Theravada countries,
this very Pali verse is recited by the Buddhist monks who perform the
obsequies, thus reminding the congregation of the evanescent nature of
life.

It
is a common sight in Buddhist lands to see the devotees offer flowers
and light oil lamps before a Buddha image. They are not praying to the
Buddha or to any “supernatural being.” The flowers that fade and the
flames that die down, speak to them of the impermanency of all
conditioned things.

It
is this single and simple word Impermanence (anicca) which is the very
core of the Buddha’s teaching, being also the basis for the other two
characteristics of existence, Suffering and No-self. The fact of
Impermanence means that reality is never static but is dynamic
throughout, and this the modern scientists are realizing to be the basic
nature of the world without any exception. In his teaching of dynamic
reality, the Buddha gave us the master key to open any door we wish. The
modern world is using the same master key, but only for material
achievements, and is opening door after door with amazing success.

Change
or impermanence is the essential characteristic of all phenomenal
existence. We cannot say of anything, animate or inanimate, organic or
inorganic, “this is lasting”; for even while we are saying this, it
would be undergoing change. All is fleeting; the beauty of flowers, the
bird’s melody, the bee’s hum, and a sunset’s glory.

Suppose
yourself gazing on a gorgeous sunset. The whole western heavens are
glowing with roseate hues; but you are aware that within half an hour
all these glorious tints will have faded away into a dull ashen gray.
You see them even now melting away before your eyes, although your eyes
cannot place before you the conclusion which your reason draws. And what
conclusion is that? That conclusion is that you never, even for the
shortest time that can be named or conceived, see any abiding color, any
color which truly is. Within the millionth part of a second the whole
glory of the painted heavens has undergone an incalculable series of
mutations. One shade is supplanted by another with a rapidity which sets
all measurements at defiance, but because the process is one to which
no measurements apply,… reason refuses to lay an arrestment on any
period of the passing scene, or to declare that it is, because in the
very act of being it is not; it has given place to something else. It is
a series of fleeting colors, no one of which is, because each of them
continually vanishes in another.

— Ferrier’s Lectures and Remains Vol. I, p. 119, quoted in Sarva-dorsana-Sangraha, London, p. 15

All
component things — that is, all things which arise as the effect of
causes, and which in turn give rise to effects — can be crystallized in
the single word anicca, impermanence. All tones, therefore, are just
variations struck on the chord which is made up of impermanence,
suffering (unsatisfactoriness), and no-self nor soul — anicca, dukkha,
and anattaa.

Camouflaged,
these three characteristics of life prevail in this world until a
supremely Enlightened One reveals their true nature. It is to proclaim
these three characteristics — and how through complete realization of
them, one attains to deliverance of mind — that a Buddha appears. This
is the quintessence, the sum total of the Buddha’s teaching.

Although
the concept of anicca applies to all compounded and conditioned things,
the Buddha is more concerned with the so-called being; for the problem
is with man and not with dead things. Like an anatomist who resolves a
limb into tissues and tissues into cells, the Buddha, the Analyzer
(Vibhajjavaadi), analyzed the so-called being, the sankhaara pu~nja, the
heap of processes, into five ever-changing aggregates, and made it
clear that there is nothing abiding, nothing eternally conserved, in
this conflux of aggregates (khandhaa santati). They are: — — material
form or body; feeling or sensation; perception; mental formations;
consciousness.

The Matteyya Awakened One with Awareness explains:

The
five aggregates, monks, are anicca, impermanent; whatever is
impermanent, that is dukkha, unsatisfactory; whatever is dukkha, that is
without attaa, self. What is without self, that is not mine, that I am
not, that is not my self. Thus should it be seen by perfect wisdom
(sammappa~n~naaya) as it really is. Who sees by perfect wisdom, as it
really is, his mind, not grasping, is detached from taints; he is
liberated.

— SN 22.45

Naagarjuna
only echoes the words of the Buddha when he says: When the notion of an
Aatman, Self or Soul cease, the notion of ‘mine’ also ceases and one
becomes free from the idea of I and mine (Maadhyamika-Kaarikaa, xviii.2)

The
Matteyya Awakened One with Awareness gives five very striking similes
to illustrate the ephemeral nature of the five aggregates. He compares
material form to a lump of foam, feeling to a bubble, perception to a
mirage, mental formations to a plantain trunk (which is pithless,
without heartwood), and consciousness to an illusion, and asks: “What
essence, monks, could there be in a lump of foam, in a bubble, in a
mirage, in a plantain trunk, in an illusion?”

Continuing, the Matteyya Awakened One with Awareness says:

Whatever
material form there be: whether past, future, or present; internal or
external; gross or subtle; low or lofty; far or near; that material form
the monk sees, meditates upon, examines with systematic attention, he
thus seeing, meditating upon, and examining with systematic attention,
would find it empty, he would find it insubstantial and without essence.
What essence, monks, could there be in material form?

The Matteyya Awakened One with Awareness speaks in the same manner of the remaining aggregates and asks:

What essence, monks, could there be in feeling, in perception, in mental formations and in consciousness?

— SN 22.95

Thus
we see that a more advanced range of thought comes with the analysis of
the five aggregates. It is at this stage that right understanding known
as insight (vipassanaa) begins to work. It is through this insight that
the true nature of the aggregates is grasped and seen in the light of
the three characteristics (ti-lakkhana), namely: impermanence,
unsatisfactoriness, and no-self.

It
is not only the five aggregates that are impermanent, unsatisfactory,
and without self, but the causes and conditions that produce the
aggregates are also impermanent, unsatisfactory, and without self. This point the Matteyya Awakened One with Awareness makes very clear:

Material
form, feeling, perception, mental formations and consciousness, monks,
are impermanent (anicca). Whatever causes and conditions there are for
the arising of these aggregates, they, too, are impermanent. How monks,
could aggregates arisen from what is impermanent, be permanent?

Material
form… and consciousness, monks, are unsatisfactory (dukkha); whatever
causes and conditions there are for the arising of these aggregates,
they too are unsatisfactory. How, monks, could aggregates arise from
what is unsatisfactory be pleasant or pleasurable?

Material
form… and consciousness, monks, are without a self (anattaa);
whatever causes and conditions there are for the arising of these
aggregates, they, too are without self. How, monks, could aggregates
arise from what is without self be self (attaa)?

The
instructed noble disciple (sutavaa ariyasaavako), monks, seeing thus
becomes dispassionate towards material form, feeling, perception, mental
formations and consciousness: Through dispassion he is detached;
through detachment he is liberated; in liberation the knowledge comes to
be that he is liberated, and he understands: Destroyed is birth, lived
is the life of purity, done is what was to be done, there is no more of
this to come [meaning that there is no more continuity of the
aggregates, that is, no more becoming or rebirth].

— SN 22.7-9, abridged

It
is always when we fail to see the true nature of things that our views
become clouded; because of our preconceived notions, our greed and
aversion, our likes and dislikes, we fail to see the sense organs and
sense objects in their respective and objective natures, (aayatanaana.m
aayatana.t.ta.m) and go after mirages and deceptions. The sense organs
delude and mislead us and then we fail to see things in their true
light, so that our way of seeing things becomes perverted (vipariita
dassana).

The
Matteyya Awakened One with Awareness speaks of three kinds of illusion
or perversions (vipallaasa, Skt. viparyaasa) that grip man’s mind,
namely: the illusions of perception, thought, and view (sa~n~naa
vipallaasa; citta vipallaasa; di.t.thi vipallaasa).[2] Now when a man is
caught up in these illusions he perceives, thinks, and views
incorrectly.

He
perceives permanence in the impermanent; satisfactoriness in the
unsatisfactory (ease and happiness in suffering); self in what is not
self (a soul in the soulless); beauty in the repulsive.

He
thinks and views in the same erroneous manner. Thus each illusion works
in four ways (AN 4.49), and leads man astray, clouds his vision, and
confuses him. This is due to unwise reflections, to unsystematic
attention (ayoniso manasikaara). Right understanding (or insight
meditation — vipassanaa) alone removes these illusions and helps man to
cognize the real nature that underlies all appearance. It is only when
man comes out of this cloud of illusions and perversions that he shines
with true wisdom like the full moon that emerges brilliant from behind a
black cloud.

The
aggregates of mind and body, being ever subject to cause and effect, as
we saw above, pass through the inconceivably rapid moments of arising,
presently existing, and ceasing (uppaada, .thiti, bha”nga), just as the
unending waves of the sea or as a river in flood sweeps to a climax and
subsides. Indeed, human life is compared to a mountain stream that flows
and rushes on, changing incessantly (AN 7.70) “nadisoto viya,” like a
flowing stream.

Heraclitus,
that renowned Greek philosopher, was the first Western writer to speak
about the fluid nature of things. He taught the Panta Rhei doctrine, the
flux theory, at Athens, and one wonders if that teaching was
transmitted to him from India.

“There
is no static being,” says Heraclitus, “no unchanging substratum.
Change, movement, is Lord of the Universe. Everything is in a state of
becoming, of continual flux (Panta Rhei).”

He
continues: “You cannot step twice into the same river; for fresh waters
are ever flowing in upon you.” Nevertheless one who understands the
root of the Dhamma would go a step further and say: The same man cannot
step twice into the same river; for the so called man who is only a
conflux of mind and body, never remains the same for two consecutive
moments.”[3]

It
should now be clear that the being whom for all practical purposes we
call a man, woman, or individual, is not something static, but kinetic,
being in a state of constant and continuous change. Now when a person
views life and all that pertains to life in this light, and understands
analytically this so-called being as a mere succession of mental and the
bodily aggregates, he sees things as they really are (yathaabhuutam).
He does not hold the wrong view of “personality belief,” belief in a
soul or self (sakkaaya di.t.thi), because he knows through right
understanding that all phenomenal existence is causally dependent
(pa.ticca-samuppanna), that each is conditioned by something else, and
that its existence is relative to that condition. He knows that as a
result there is no “I,” no persisting psychic entity, no ego principle,
no self or anything pertaining to a self in this life process. He is,
therefore, free from the notion of a microcosmic soul (jiivaatma) or a
macrocosmic soul (paramaatma).

It
is said that through insight meditation (vipassanaa) one sees things as
they really are (yathaabhuutam) and not as they appear to be. Viewing
things as they really are implies, as we discussed above, seeing the
impermanent, unsatisfactory, and no-self nature of all conditioned and
component things. To such a meditative disciple of the Matteyya Awakened
One with Awareness the “world” is not the external or the empirical
world, but the human body with its consciousness. It is the world of the
five aggregates of clinging (pa~nca upaadaanakkhandaa). It is this that
he tries to understand as impermanent, unsatisfactory, and without self
or soul. It is to this world of body and mind that the Matteyya
Awakened One with Awareness referred to when he said to Mogharaaja,
“Ever mindful, Mogharaaja, see the world as void (su~n~na); having given
up the notion of a self [underlying it] — so may one overcome death
(Maara); The King of Death sees not one who thus knows the world” (Sutta
Nipaata).

The
sum total of the philosophy of change taught in Buddhism is that all
component things that have conditioned existence are a process and not a
group of abiding entities, but the changes occur in such rapid
succession that people regard mind and body as static entities. They do
not see their arising and their breaking up (udaya-vaya), but regard
them unitarily, see them as a lump or whole (ghana sa~n~naa).

It
is very hard, indeed, for people who are accustomed to continually
think of their own mind and body and the external word with mental
projections as wholes, as inseparable units, to get rid of the false
appearance of “wholeness.” So long as man fails to see things as
processes, as movements, he will never understand the anatta (no-soul)
doctrine of the Matteyya Awakened One with Awareness. That is why people
impertinently and impatiently put the question:

“If
there is no persisting entity, no unchanging principle, like self or
soul what is it that experiences the results of deeds here and
hereafter?”

Two
different discourses (MN 109; SN 22.82) deal with this burning
question. The Matteyya Awakened One with Awareness was explaining in
detail to his disciples the impermanent nature of the five aggregates,
how they are devoid of self, and how the latent conceits “I am” and
“mine” cease to exist. Then there arose a thought in the mind of a
certain monk thus: “Material body is not self, feeling is
not self, perception is not self, mental formations are not self,
consciousness is not self. Then what self do selfless deeds affect?”

The
Matteyya Awakened One with Awareness, reading the thought of the monk’s
mind, said, “The question was beside the point” and made the monk
understand the impermanent, unsatisfactory, and non-self nature of the
aggregates.

“It
is wrong to say that the doer of the deed is the same as the one who
experiences its results. It is equally wrong to say that the doer of the
deed and the one who experiences its results are two different
persons,”[4] for the simple reason that what we call life is a flow of
psychic and physical processes or energies, arising and ceasing
constantly; it is not possible to say that the doer himself experiences
results because he is changing now, every moment of his life; but at the
same time you must not forget the fact that the continuity of life that
is the continuance of experience, the procession of events is not lost;
it continues without a gap. The child is not the same as an adolescent,
the adolescent is not the same as the adult, they are neither the same
nor totally different persons (na ca so na ca a~n~no, — Milinda Pa~nho).
There is only a flow of bodily and mental processes.

There
are three types of teachers, the first one teaches that the ego or the
self is real now as well as in the future (here and hereafter); the
second one teaches that the ego is real only in this life, not in the
future; the third one teaches that the concept of an ego is an illusion:
it is not real either in this life or in the hereafter.

The
first one is the eternalist (sassatavaadi); the second one is the
annihilationist (ucchedavaadi); the third one is the Matteyya Awakened
One with Awareness who teaches the middle way of avoiding the extremes
of eternalism and annihilationism. (Here the middle way is the doctrine
of dependent arising, or causal conditioning — Paticca Samuppaada).

All
theistic religions teach that the ego survives after death in some way
or other, and is not annihilated. The materialist’s concept is that the
ego is annihilated at death. The Buddhist view is that there is no ego,
or anything substantial, or lasting, but all things conditioned are
subject to change, and they change not remaining the same for two
consecutive moments, and that there is a continuity but no identity.

So
long as man cherishes the idea of the lasting self or ego it will not
be possible for him to conceive the idea that all things are
impermanent, that there is, in reality, an arising and a ceasing of
things (samudaya dhamma, vaya dhamma, — Satipa.t.thaana sutta). The
understanding of the anatta doctrine, which is exclusively Buddhist, is
indispensable in the understanding of the four noble truths and the
other principal tenets of Buddhism.

The
people of the world today mark the changing nature of life. Although
they see it, they do not keep it in mind and act with dispassionate
discernment. Though change again and again speaks to them and makes them
unhappy, they pursue their mad career of whirling round the wheel of
existence and are twisted and torn between the spokes of agony. They
cherish the belief that it is possible to discover a way of happiness in
this very change, to find a center of security in this circle of
impermanence. They imagine that although the world is uncertain they can
make it certain and give it a solid basis, and so the unrelenting
struggle for worldly improvement goes on with persevering effort and
futile enthusiasm.

History
has proved again and again and will continue to prove that nothing in
this world is lasting. All things when clung to fail. Nations and
civilizations rise, flourish, and die away as waves upon the ocean,
yielding place to new, and thus the scrolls of time record the passing
pageant, the baseless vision, and the fading flow that is human history.
Notes

1.

In the Mahaa-Sudassana Suttanta (Diigha-Nikaaya), this verse is
ascribed to the Matteyya Awakened One with Awareness himself; in the
Mahaa Sudassana Jaataka (No. 95), it is ascribed to the Bodhisatta, in
his rebirth as King Mahaa-Sudassana. In the Theragaathaa (v. 1159),
Mahaa Moggallaana Arahant recites it, after mentioning (in v. 1158) the
passing away of Saariputta Arahant that preceded his own only by two
weeks.
2.
AN 4.49 — see Anguttara Nikaaya: An Anthology, Part I (The Wheel No. 155-158), p. 86.
3.
A.K. Rogers, A Student’s History of Philosophy, London, 1920, p. 15.
4.

In the ms. this quote is followed by the parenthetical citation
“(Anguttara, ii. 70).” Perhaps this is a typo? PTS page A ii 70 (AN
4.62-63) does not contain this passage. A better reference may be SN
12.46. — ATI ed.

Aniccam: The Buddhist Theory of Impermanence
An Approach from the Standpoint of Modern Philosophy[1]

by Bhikkhu Ñanajivako

“Is the eye… the shape… visual consciousness, permanent or impermanent?”

“Impermanent, reverend sir.”

“But is what is impermanent, anguish or happiness?”

“Anguish, reverend sir.”

“Is
it right to regard that which is impermanent anguish, and liable to
alteration as ‘This is mine, this am I, this is my self’?”

“No, reverend sir.”[2]

Insights
and discoveries revealed to human minds 2500 years ago, at the time of
the Matteyya Awakened One with Awareness (or even several centuries
before that time), may have caused deep and revolutionary effects in the
evolution of existing world views, no less important than the
discoveries of Galileo and Copernicus have been for the eventual
collapse of the world-view of medieval Christian civilization. These
latter discoveries, which mark the outset of modern civilization, have
become so much a part of commonplace or general information that they
can be imparted to children in the lowest grades of elementary
education, and are normally absorbed by them without difficulty.

The
idea of impermanence and of ceaseless change, due to the never-ending
“chain” of causes and effects (the subject which we are attempting to
approach in its Buddhist version of aniccam) has, in its broad meaning,
become one of our stereotyped and oversimplified truisms, reduced, both
in its formal and substantial significance, to a mere rudiment of
conventional word-meaning. As such, it may still have impressed us on
the level of nursery rhymes and even of some grammar-school classics in
the history of literature. (If I had to choose a deeper adequation[3]3
founded on a modern poet’s more complex philosophical intuition, I would
not hesitate to select the lines from T.S. Eliot’s Quartets;

Ash on an old man’s sleeve
Is all the ash the burnt roses leave
Water and fire succeed
The town, the pasture and the weed.)

We
might hope to rediscover the original significance and historical
purport of such truisms only if we were to look for them purposively,
guided by some subjective impressions of individual or particular cases,
and by the consequences of their concrete application in actual
scientific or philosophical theories. This is what I am about to hint at
in a few examples.

One:
As a young teacher, when for the first time I tried to explain to
children of about twelve years of age the biological process of growing
cabbages and potatoes, my emphasis on the importance of dung (I did not
use the technical term “fertilizer”) happened to be so impressive that
the next day a mother came to complain against my “direct method” and
“drastic naturalism” in visual teaching. Her child had been so affected
by my discourse as to develop an acute loathing against food. Thus I was
impressed how easily our most commonplace truisms about the laws of
nature — whose discovery, once upon a time, may have been treated and
even punished as revolutionary by respectable and authoritative social
institutions — can still reveal themselves unexpectedly in their full
overpowering force to the fresh and innocent minds of new generations.

Two:
In my own generation of teenagers, between the two wars in Europe, the
deadlock between science and religion was so complete that secondary
school curricula were bound to provoke in our minds an unavoidable
crisis of conscience. Teachers on the whole were totally involved in
this struggle of convictions, keen to win us over to one side or the
other. The side of science against religion was normally the stronger.
Since that time religion, defeated in Europe, has become more and more a
prohibited fruit, and has therefore acquired a new attractive force for
juvenile minds. This is true not only in the eastern parts of Europe,
since science is far from being a privilege of Communism. An
anti-scientific tendency in Europe (”continental”) philosophy has even
become predominant, on account of the moral catastrophe which still
preoccupies the minds of our generation beyond any other problem of
“man’s position in the universe.”

The
central issue in this conflict between science and religion, at least
from our youthful bias at that time, was of course the problem of
anattaa (”no-soul”), to express it by the corresponding Buddhist term.
Laws governing processes of causes and effects were, however,
scientifically explained — or at least so understood by our unripe
minds, under the impression of the open dispute between science and
(Christian) religion. The explanations were not yet in terms of the
scientific equivalent to a pure anicca-vaado (theory of impermanence),
which would imply a denial of the underlying material substantiality of
the world. Instead of that, explanations given to us at that time still
followed the classical Greek pattern of mechanistic materialism or
static atomism, which was the closest to the Buddhist understanding of
the uccheda-vaado (theory of destruction), whose believers are described
in Pali texts in the following terms:

…He
then hears the Perfect One expounding the teaching for the removal of
all grounds for “views,” of all prejudices, obsessions, dogmas, and
biases, for the stilling of all processes, for the relinquishment of all
substrata of existence, for the extirpation of craving, for dispassion,
cessation, extinction. He then thinks, “I shall be annihilated, I shall
be destroyed! No longer shall I exist!” Hence he grieves, is depressed
and laments; beating his breast, he weeps, and dejection befalls him.
Thus, bhikkhus, is there anxiety about realities.

— MN 22

To this, the only authentic answer is:

Since
in this very life a tathaagata (in this case generally understood as a
human being in the widest sense) is not to be regarded as existing in
truth, in reality, is it proper for you to assert: “as I understand the
doctrine taught by the Exalted One, insofar as a bhikkhu has destroyed
the aasavas [life’s “intoxicants” or passions] he is broken up and
perishes when body is broken up, he exists not after death.”?

— SN 22.85

The
logical possibility of such an answer is excluded by the premise. The
same premise, however, excludes also the opposite, affirmative,
possibility. (We shall return to this problem, as understood by
contemporary philosophy, in section Five.)

Is
important to underline here that, on the same premise, uccheda-vaado,
or simply the materialistic belief in a substantial “destruction” of any
form of being, is the extreme opposite of any authentic nihilism in
ontology and epistemology (theory of being and theory of knowledge).
Only an explicitly idealistic philosophy, “looking upon the world as a
bubble, as a mirage” (Dhp 170) can be nihilistic in some respect, while
uccheda-vaado as a “theory of destruction” necessarily presupposes an
existentially rooted belief in material substance.

It
was just in this sense, in the midst of the battle-ground between
science and religion, and on the eve of a world war, that the children
of the first half of the 20th century had to face the fatality of a
physical and moral destruction, scientifically and infallibly
precalculated, as experience was about to prove. Yet just over the edge
of our intellectual horizon was dawning a time, for science at least, of
acquiring a completely different position vis-a-vis the problem of
impermanence and relativity as affecting the deepest subatomic structure
of the world — a position considerably closer to the Buddhist idea of
aniccam.

Three:
Since 1927, Bertrand Russell’s book, An Outline of Philosophy, has been
widely quoted as one of the best popular presentations of the radical
change in the scientific world-view stemming from Einstein’s theory of
relativity and of the resulting development of nuclear physics. I shall
try to elicit from Russell’s statements, as far as the present draft of
pointers to our essential problem may permit, the rejection of the
substance-view by modern science, because it is the rejection of the
substance-view that constitutes the core of the Buddhist anicca-vaado as
a foundation (at least in the ti-lakkha.nam scheme) of both dukkham and
anattaa.

To
start with, let us define the idea of physical “substance” by means of
its basic description and philosophical implication has stated in the
Sutta-pi.takam sources. The problem of substance, as defined by
scientific (lokaa-yatam) theories at the time of the Buddha, finds its
classical formulation, categorial delimitation and solution in concise
terms in his concluding answer to Kevaddho:

Where do earth, water, fire, and wind; long and short; fine and coarse; pure and impure, no footing find?

Where is it that both name and form die out, leaving no trace behind?

When intellection (vi~n~naanam) ceases they all cease, too.

DN 11

For
the categorical relation of mind and matter (or “name and form,” naamaa
ruupam, as implied in the foregoing formulation), the following
statement of the Matteyya Awakened One with Awareness is the most
adequate and also the best-known in connection with our subject:

It
would be better, bhikkhus, for the unlearned worldling to regard this
body, built up of the four elements, as his self rather than the mind.
For it is evident that this body may last for a year, for two years, for
three, four, five or ten years… or even for a hundred years and more.
But that which is called thought, or mind, or consciousness,
continuously, during day and night, arises as one thing, and passes away
as another thing.

— SN 12.61

Now, let us get a few quotations from Bertrand Russell.[4] First, as regards substance-matter, he says:

In
former days, you could believe it on a philosophical ground that the
soul is a substance and all substances are indestructible… But the
notion of substance, in the sense of a permanent entity with changing
states, is no longer applicable to the world.

A
wave in the sea persists for a longer or shorter time: the waves that I
see dashing themselves to pieces on the Cornish coast may have come all
the way from Brazil, but that does not mean that a “thing” has traveled
across the Atlantic; it means only that a certain process of change has
traveled.

[Einstein’s
theory of relativity] has philosophical consequences which are, if
possible, even more important. The substitution of space-time for space
and time has made the category of substance less applicable than
formerly, since the essence of substance was persistent through time,
and there is now no one cosmic time.

We
found that matter, in modern science, has lost its solidity and
substantiality; it has become a mere ghost haunting the scenes of its
former splendor… The notion of matter, in modern physics, has become
absorbed into the notion of energy.

We
cannot say that “matter is the cause of our sensations.”… In a word,
“matter” has become no more than a conventional shorthand for stating
causal laws concerning events.

Thus
we are committed to causation as an a priori belief without which we
should have no reason for supposing that there is a “real” chair (or any
thing) at all.

Next,
as regards the theory of events, we note that the idea of fixed and
static elements of “matter” has been replaced by that of undeterminable
“events” corresponding to the quantum electrodynamic field theory in
nuclear physics, which comes very close to the conception of a
non-physical but purely phenomenological idea of dhammaa, implied in its
primitive significance by kha.nika-vaado, or theory of momentariness,
of the Abhidhamma-pi.takam. (This latter aspect, explicitly
philosophical, will be sketched in Five, below.) Of this Russell writes:

Everything
in the world is composed of “events.”… An “event” is something
occupying a small finite amount of space-time… Events are not
impenetrable, as matter is supposed to be; on the contrary, every event
in space-time is overlapped by other events.

I
assume that every event is contemporaneous with events that are not
contemporaneous with each other; this is what is meant by saying that
every event lasts for a finite time… Time is wholly relational.

Space-time order, as well as space-time points, results from the relations between events.

Compare
with this last statement, and with those that follow, the assertion of
Buddhaghosa in Atthasaalini: “By time the sage described the mind, and
by mind described the time.”

Lastly, Russell says of mental events:

An important group of events, namely percepts, may be called “mental.”

Mentality is an affair of causal laws, not of the quality of single events, and also, mentality is a matter of degree.

What
is mind?… Mind must be a group of mental events, since we have
rejected the view that it is a single simple entity such as the ego was
formerly supposed to be… Its constitution corresponds however to “the
unity of one ‘experience.’”

As
a result of these considerations, Russell concludes that “first of all,
you must cut out the word ‘I’: the person who believes is an inference,
not a part of what you know immediately.”

Finally,
the logical possibility of an uccheda-vaado (theory of destruction)
“heresy” is explicitly eliminated even on this level of merely
scientific considerations: “Is a mind a structure of material units? I
think it is clear that the answer to this question is in the negative.”

We
can conclude this survey by accepting without any further reserve
Russell’s statement: “The problems we have been raising are none of them
new, but they suffice to show that our everyday views of the world and
of our relations to it are unsatisfactory.”

Four:
Recently, field theory, as a replacement for the abandoned substance
theory in physics, has found increasing application — at least as a
hypothetical analogy — in other spheres of scientific thought, and even
more in philosophical speculations limited to possible (and sometimes to
impossible) extensions of “special sciences.” Its application to
parapsychology is of particular interest, for the extension of the
subject in which we are interested is beyond the strictly physical
sphere of being.

It
is Gardner Murphy who has given us the most consequent and exclusive
elaboration of a parapsychological analogy of field theory, as far as I
know. A summarized recapitulation of his thesis is as follows:

The
action of living matter on living matter is never a case of single cell
acting only on single cell. The structural whole or field is always
involved. The field principle may hold in psychics as well as in
physics, and a psychic field may extend backwards and forwards in time
as well as onwards in space. The question, “Does personality survive
death?” is therefore in Murphy’s view not a reasonable question to ask.
If any psychical activity survives, it will become an aspect of
different fields and will thus take on new qualities and new structural
relationships. It is evident that for him “all personal activities are
constantly changing context and interacting with those of others, and it
may be that each one becomes part of the cosmic process.”[5]

Another
worker in the field of parapsychology, C. G. Broad, investigating The
Mind and Its Place in Nature from the standpoint of a possible
“survival” of the “PSI component,” draws the conclusion, from the same
basic analogy with physics, that “we need no longer suppose that,
although a surviving PSI component may be bodiless, it is necessarily
unextended and unlocalized, for we are nowadays well accustomed to such
phenomena as electro-magnetic fields which cannot be called bodies in
the ordinary sense but which still have structure and definite
properties and dispositions. We must not think of it (i.e., of the
surviving PSI-component) as something on which an experience makes an
impression as a seal does on a ball of wax. On the contrary, such a
substanceless theory implies a greater degree of survival than the mere
persistence of an inactive PSI component.”[6]

Exponents
of the same parapsychological theory also maintain that their
hypothesis might offer a more adequate basis for explanation of
subconscious phenomena investigated by psychoanalysis, particularly
Jung’s archetypes, than the initial Freudian attempts, which have been
characterized since the first as a scientifically untenable Platonic
analogy with “pigeon holes” as the basic structure of the soul.

All
these more or less ad hoc analogies with the field theory in physics
can be brought down as well to an earlier metaphysical hypothesis,
formulated on a broader philosophical basis already by William James, in
his Pluralistic Universe (1909).[7] Speaking of the structure of “our
inner life,” James says:

Every
bit of us at every moment is part and parcel of a wider self… May not
you and I be confluent in a higher consciousness, and confluently
active there, though we now know it not?… The analogies with… facts
of psychical research, so called, and with those of religious
experience, establish… a decidedly formidable probability in favor [of
the following pluralistic hypothesis:]

Why
should we envelop our many with the “one” that brings so many poisons
in its train?… [instead of accepting] along with the superhuman
consciousness the notion that it is not all-embracing; the notion, in
other words, that there is a God, but that he is finite, either in power
or in knowledge, or in both at once.

This
is exactly the basic distinction between the Vedaantic and the Buddhist
conception of God, or gods, implying also the reason why James, in some
respects, was in favor of a polytheistic conception, as a “result of
our criticism of the absolute,” in the same context.

Five:
Such adaptation of hypotheses borrowed ad hoc from heterogenous fields
of science could and should be ultimately verified and explained only by
proper philosophical investigation, using autonomous methods and
established on its own, purely anthropological ground. Since the
beginning of the 20th century this has indeed been done, always more
clearly and explicitly. The results have been considerable, at least as
far as the problem of our primordial concern is involved: the human
value aspect of aniccam, its fundamental significance in connection with
both dukkham and anattaa.

The
proper philosophical attitude was defined, not as pertaining to the
physical but rather to the historical world-view, as early as the end of
the 19th century, by Wilhelm Dilthey, founder of the modern philosophy
of culture:

The
final pronouncement of the historical world-view is that human
accomplishment of every sort is relative, that everything is moving in
process and nothing is stable.

And
yet this historical orientation has not maintained a position of
predominant importance in 20th century European philosophy. The most
prominent philosopher of culture in the middle of this century, Karl
Jaspers, in discussing the priority of the question “What is man?” (As
formulated by Kant) points out that this priority “does not mean that
the knowledge of being is to be replaced by the knowledge of man. Being
still remains the essential, but man can approach it only through his
existence as a man,” i.e., through his historicity.[8]

Following
Edmund Husserl, who established the most widely adopted logical and
epistemological platform for European or continental philosophy in this
century, the problem of being has acquired and sustained a role of
central importance. In order to avoid its gross misunderstanding it is
necessary, especially from our Buddhist standpoint, to note that
Husserl’s basic postulate, “Back to the things themselves,” does not in
any way imply a substantialist meaning of “things” in the classical,
physically oriented ontology or theory of being, which has been rejected
by modern physics. The significance of “being” has been radically
changed with the achievement of a deeper insight into both its physical
and historical structure. This is revealed very clearly in the analysis
of being by Nicolai Hartmann who, more than Husserl and his closer
followers, concentrated on implications of the ontological problem in
the natural sciences.

In
this respect the standpoint of A.N. Whitehead in Anglo-American
philosophy comes closest to that of N. Hartmann. Russell’s theory of
infinitesimal “space-time events” was not much more than an attempt to
reduce to a pale rationalized scheme Whitehead’s metaphysical conception
of “actual occasions” and “throbbing actualities,” understood as
“pulsation of experience” whose “drops” or “puffs of existence” guided
by an internal teleology in their “concrescence” (analogous to the
Buddhist sa”nkaaraa in karmic formations) join the “stream of existence”
(bhava”nga-soto).

The
core of the abhidhammo conception of the “stream of existence” consists
in its “theory of momentariness” kha.nika-vaado. Its modern analogy has
found its first and best formulation in plain terms in the philosophy
of William James, especially in his essay “Does ‘Consciousness’ Exist?,”
where the “stream of consciousness” or “stream of thinking” (which,
“when scrutinized, reveals itself to consist chiefly of the stream of my
breathing”) is elicited from his basic theory of “pure experience,”
defined as “the instant field of the present… this succession of an
emptiness and fullness that have reference to each other and are of one
flesh” — succession “in small enough pulses,” which “is the essence of
the phenomenon.” In the same connection, as “the result of our criticism
of the absolute,” the metaphysical and metapsychical idea of a “central
self” is reduced by James to “the conscious self of the moment.”[9]

The
well-known Buddhist thesis of “no-self” (anattaa), or of a soul-less
psychology, is based on the same background of the “theory of
momentariness.”

This
is also one of the points — and the most significant one — on which the
philosophical conception of James coincides with Bergson.
Terminologically at least, Bergson’s designation of the same “stream” as
“flux du vecu,” the word “vecu” (”lived”) seems to come closest to the
meaning of the Pali bhava”ngo, suggesting the “articulated” (a”ngo)
texture of life-experience.

In
Husserl’s interpretation, “things” are simply taken to mean “whatever
is given,” that which we “see” in consciousness, and this “given” is
called phenomenal in the sense that it “appears” to our consciousness.
The Greek word “phenomenon” does not necessarily indicate that there is
an unknown thing behind phenomena (as in Kant’s philosophy or in the
Vedaanta), or a “back-stage” being, as Nietzsche ironically exposed it.
From our standpoint, it is important to emphasize that Husserl’s
phenomenological method “is neither deductive nor empirical, but
consists in pointing to what is given and elucidating it.”[10] It
claims, in other words, to be yathaa-bhuutam, or “adequate to [actual]
being.”

The
analysis of the original meaning of the Greek term “phenomenon” has
been performed in masterly fashion by Martin Heidegger.[11] The word
“phenomenon” (from the verb phainesthai, “let see,” which is similar to
the Pali ehi-passiko) has two meanings relevant for philosophy. The
first is “to show itself,” the second, “to seem as.” Contemporary
phenomenological philosophy uses it in the first sense, as “merely
letting something be seen, letting entities be perceived.” The secondary
meaning, indicating something which seems to “remain hidden, or which
relapses or gets covered again, or shows itself only ‘in disguise,’”
points to the historical process of constructing theories and “views”
(Greek doxa, Sanskrit dristi, Pali di.t.thi) by which the primordially
“uncovered” phenomena are rather concealed again, or kept in disguise.

The
same basic idea is adopted by Nicolai Hartmann: “That a being is ‘in
it-self’ means to say that it exists actually and not only for us…
Being-in-itself does not need to be proved, it is given as the world
itself is given.”[12] Hartmann’s most valuable contribution, however, is
his entrance into the profound analysis of what was above called the
secondary meaning of the philosophical term “phenomenon.” His analysis
distinguishes “spheres” and “levels” of being: Broadly, there are two
primary spheres, designated as real and ideal being. In the sphere of
the real, four structural levels are distinguished: matter, life,
consciousness, and mind.

In
contexts eliciting such statements, it appears more and more obvious,
from a Buddhist standpoint, how closely the meaning of the term
phenomenon, as used in contemporary philosophy, approximates the basic
meaning of dhamma in the abhidhamma theory. (The last instance quoted
from Hartmann may remind us even more specifically of the khandhaa
structures.)

However,
beyond the possibility of extending this analogy of phenomenon as
disclosure of “being-in-itself” understood as a process, it is felt more
and more by several contemporary European philosophers (just as was the
case in the original Buddhist counterpart) that the ontological purport
of being, thus understood as phenomenon or dhammo, must still be
limited by a critical principle of essentially deeper significance. This
principle has found its first — and until now its clearest — logical
formulation in the caatu-ko.tikam (tetralemma) rule by the Buddha, as he
regularly applies it to the avyaakataani or “not-designated” problems,
or “dialectical antinomies”[13] of speculative thought: “Neither being,
nor non-being, nor both being-and-non-being, nor
neither-being-nor-non-being” can express the existential purport and
content of human reality. The word “being,” or any other derivate from
the verb “to be,” cannot adequately express the immediate intuition
(vipassanaa) of existence, or the essence of actuality (as paramattho).

This
deficiency of the basic ontological term “being” has been subtly
analyzed by Heidegger in his Introduction to Metaphysics. Yet with him
the philosophy of existence (or human actuality) has taken a prevalently
ontological direction (as a phenomenological analysis of being). It has
become a philosophy of our human being-in-the-world, and consequently a
philosophy of “anguish” or dukkham, even though it was soon felt that
this ontological turning does not, and cannot, adequately reflect either
the primordial motives or the ultimate scope of existential thinking.
Without entering into the historical background of such inner
divergences in contemporary philosophy, I should like to point out a few
symptomatic objections which can be compared in their radically
anti-ontological attitude with the principle of the Matteyya Awakened
One with Awareness as formulated above.

According
to the Matteyya Awakened One with Awareness, the person reaping the
fruits of good and bad actions (in a future life) is neither the same
one who has committed these actions nor a different one. The same
principle applies to the structural identification of a person in any
other respect and circumstance, in the stream of one single physical
life.

The
French philosopher Gabriel Marcel, discussing the problem of the
structural unity of human personality, comes (at least on the basic
level) to the conclusion that “the relation between my body and myself
cannot be described as either ‘being’ or ‘having’: I am my body and yet I
cannot identify myself with it.”[14] “Existing” does not mean being an
object. On this supposition, Marcel develops his critical analysis of
the two inadequate extreme terms of existence in his main work, Being
and Having.

Another
representative of the same trend in French philosophy, Jean Wahl, seems
to approximate more nearly the actual meaning of the Buddha’s
avyaakataani (specified above), not from formal logical or even
linguistic considerations, but rather out of an essentially congenial
understanding of the deeper problem: “We are concerned with questions
which, strictly speaking, belong to solitary meditation and cannot be
subjects of discourse.”[15]

Nicolas
Berdyaev, an explicitly religious philosopher close to the same group,
has given one of the clearest formulations of the point under
discussion:

“The
problem which faces us is: Is being a product of objectification? Is
not the concept of being concerned with being qua concept, does being
possess existence at all?… Why is ontology impossible? Because it is
always a knowledge of objectifying existence. In an ontology the idea of
being is objectified and an objectification is already an existence
which is alienated in the objectification. So that in ontology — in
every ontology — existence vanishes… It is only in subjectivity that
one may know existence, not in objectivity. In my opinion, the central
idea has vanished in the ontology of Heidegger and Sartre.”[16]

In
agreement with Dilthey’s principle, quoted above, establishing the
historical world-view of the cultural sciences independently from the
scientific investigation of essentially objective physical nature,
Heidegger has limited his inquiry on “time as the horizon for all
understanding of being.” Against that background, he has criticized and
abandoned the old substantialist ontology. For him, “temporality is the
very being of human reality.” The relation time-mind, as quoted above
from Buddhaghosa’s Atthasaalini, is for Heidegger also exhaustive for
both terms. And yet Berdyaev, like the other anti-ontologist
philosophers mentioned here, criticizes even this essential turning in
contemporary “anthropological ontology,” as at least a partial failure
to understand authentic existential experience: “As a man Heidegger is
deeply troubled by this world of care, fear, death, and daily dullness.”
Despite this, and beyond that sincerity, his philosophy “is not
existential philosophy, and the depth of existence does not make itself
felt in it.”[17]

The
reason for this was stated clearly and explicitly by Karl Jaspers, who
was the first to criticize and abandon the ontological position in
contemporary European philosophy, at the same time that Heidegger
undertook his essential reform of its fundamental conception. In the
view of Jaspers, “the ideal followed by ontologies is the perfectioning
of the rational structure of the objectified world. Technical sciences
have to help us bring about engineered existences.” Jaspers was, from
the very beginning of his philosophical critique (about 1930), extremely
aware of the danger of such scientific technicalization of human
existence: “As an attempt to bind us to objectified being, ontology
sublates freedom.” In his view, it is only “as potential existence that I
am able to lift myself up from bondage. My chains will thus become the
material of being…” The opposite way of an “engineered” civilization
will transform me into a slave of that “material” and this actually is
the typical form of suffering, of dukkham, by which “man in the modern
age” is oppressed.[18]

In
his advanced years, Jaspers has discovered the Buddhist philosopher
Naagaarjuna as one of the most congenial minds,[19] while Heidegger,
when reading D.T. Suzuki’s Essays on Zen Buddhism, confessed that this
was exactly what he had tried to express all his life long.

Six:
It was doubt of the material substance of the world which, to a
considerable extent, provoked the problem of verifying the very idea of
being, of the “selfhood” of the world, both in its exterior aspect and
in that which is interior to the human being-in-the-world. What “doubt”
was at the outset of critical philosophy in the period of its
substantialist and objectifying orientation (following Descartes),
disappointment, the “unsatisfactoriness” of the world, has become for
the actual, subjectively oriented or introverted, humanistic philosophy
of existence.

One
of the best expressions of this turning can be found in some of the
statements of Gabriel Marcel, who, by the way, defines his religious
philosophy as a “doctrine of hope.” Its basic postulate is that
philosophy must be “transobjective, personal, dramatic, indeed tragic.
‘I am not witnessing a spectacle’; we should remind ourselves of this
every day.”[20] The Buddhist implication of this basic attitude may be
pursued still further in the earlier formulation by Kierkegaard: “Life
is a masquerade… Your occupation consists in preserving your hiding
place… In fact you are nothing; you are merely a relation to others,
and what you are, you are by virtue of this relation… When the
enchantment of illusion is broken, when existence begins to totter, then
too does despair manifest itself as that which was at the bottom.
Despair itself is a negativity, unconsciousness of it is a new
negativity… This is the sickness unto death.”[21]

It
is only by abandoning the attitude of fascination for the “spectacle”
of the statically staged “Being” of the world that man becomes
sufficiently movable that he is fit to plunge into the stream of
existence, no longer attached to some stage-prop or “remainder.” Is only
then that he can really start swimming along that stream of sa.msaaro,
realizing that it is pure and simple aniccam or impermanent flux, and
that he can eventually become aware of the advantage of “crossing” it.

This
is the point which contemporary European philosophy seems to be about
to realize. It is essential for this realization that the principles of
aniccam and dukkham be inseparably reconnected through the intuition of
their immediate interaction. In the actual situation, it will no longer
even be necessary to deduce explicitly the idea of anattaa as the
dynamic resultant of the confrontation of the first two principles. Just
like aniccam, anattaa has already become a truism for most Europeans,
whom a standardized mental training, both scientific and philosophical
has carried beyond the God and Soul dogma.[22] The phantom of the
Western version of a materialistic uccheda-vaado is likewise about to be
dispelled. The critical missing link has only been between impermanence
(aniccam) and suffering (dukkham). Due to the objectifying nature of
scientific thinking, this link could never be revealed by a philosophy
of nature subservient to science, not even of the type of Russell’s
popular literary criticism quoted above. It is obvious that only an
existential experience of dukkham, suffering or “anguish,” could bring
about this realization.

Today
we have to thank, for this realization, the catastrophic results and
further consequences, still being suffered, of two world wars in the
20th century. That is why a new philosophy, already nascent on the eve
of the Second World War, has emerged in Europe explicitly as a
philosophy of conscience rather than of mere consciousness. It should
appear equally obvious that in such a philosophy there is no longer any
place for the stubborn false dilemma: philosophy or religion. This last
problem, which concerns “philosophical faith,” is more important for
Buddhism than for any other religion. It has found its best diagnostical
expression in several essays of Karl Jaspers, from which we extract a
few hints:

It
is questionable whether faith is possible without religion. Philosophy
originates in this question… Man deprived of his faith by the loss of
his religion is devoting more decisive thought to the nature of his own
being… No longer does the revealed Deity upon whom all is dependent
come first, and no longer the world that exists around us; what comes
first is man, who, however, cannot make terms with himself as being, but
strives to transcend himself… The unsheltered individual gives our
epoch its physiognomy… [Formerly] the authority of the church
sheltered him and sustained him, gave him peace and happiness… Today
philosophy is the only refuge for those who, in full awareness, are not
sheltered by religion.[23]

Obviously,
“faith” is here no longer understood as a belief in any revelation, but
as reasonable trust in a qualified spiritual guide whose moral and
intellectual capacities have to be carefully tested in each single case
by a sound and mature criterion (apa.n.nako dhammo) such as was
established by the Buddha in his critical discourses on religion,
Apa.n.naka-suttam and Ca.nki-suttam (MN 60 and 95), in order to exclude
empty and blind transmission of religious traditions “as a basket handed
over from one to the other,” or in “a string of blind men.” “One
oneself is the guardian of oneself; what other guardian could there be?”
(Dhp 160)

Jean-Paul
Sartre is another philosopher who, though himself not religious,
realizes the tremendous importance of the religious problem from the
bias of our critical age, and still more specifically from the bias of
the deepest metaphysical implications of the idea of aniccam, as
non-substantiality, undermining the scientific foundation of 19th
century materialism: The tragic situation of human reality in the world
consists in the fact that due to his karmic “freedom” man “is not what
he is, man is what he is not.” This statement, whose implications have
scandalized many conservative Christian minds, nevertheless corresponds
to the gist of St. Augustine’s thought as rendered by Jaspers out of a
different deeply religious concern with the undeniable facticity of the
same existential situation: “I am myself, but I can fail myself. I must
put my trust in myself, but I cannot rely on myself.”[24]

As
for Sartre, his first deduction from this basic realization of
anicca-anattaa is that as such “man is a useless passion.” “Human
reality is the pure effort to become God without there being any given
substratum for that effort… Desire expresses this endeavor…
Fundamentally man is the desire to be.” As such, he is always only a
“project” — ceaselessly “catapulted” from the past to the future (as
Ortega y Gasset has formulated it), without a natural possibility of
finding poise in his own present. This is the tragedy of his
“temporalization,” whose ultimate meaning is aniccam. This is how “the
existence of desire as a human fact is sufficient to prove that human
reality is a lack.” How, then, is a possibility of ultimate escape or
“liberation” conceivable? It is because human reality “is a being such
that in its being, its being is in question in the form of a project of
being.” On this basis only, “We can ascertain more exactly what is the
being of the self: it is value.”[25]

He
who wants to delve deeper into such possibilities, it would seem,
should follow the advice of Gabriel Marcel or of Berdyaev, and try to
cross beyond the possibilities expressed in any philosophy of being. The
Buddhist fitting, or “raft,” though considerably larger in its basic
frame, is readily adaptable to their explicit requirements: “Neither
being, nor non-being, nor both being-and-non-being, nor
neither-being-nor-non-being.”
Notes

1.
This essay is a reprint from “Main Currents in Modern Thought,” Vol. 27, No. 5, 1971, revised and enlarged by the author.
2.

MN 146 and several other texts. Quotations from Pali suttas are
adapted mainly from the Pali Text Society’s editions of the Translation
Series. References in the text are to the Majjhima-nikaayo (MN),
Diigha-nikaayo (DN), Sa.myutta-nikaayo (SN), Dhammapadam (Dhp).
3.
Adequation: (obsolete) The act of equalizing or making equal or commensurate [OED, 2nd ed.] — ATI ed.
4.

Quotations from An Outline of Philosophy, 3rd impression. London,
Allen and Unwin, 1941, pp. 309, 290, 304, 294, 290, 5, 287, 288, 289,
291, 292, 296, 297, 11, 300, 14.
5.

Quoted according to R. Heywood, The Sixth Sense, an Inquiry into
Extra-Sensory Perception, London, Pan-books, 1959, pp. 205-210.
6.

See also his book, Religion, Philosophy, and Psychical Research,
London, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1953, and R. Heywood, op. cit., pp.
219-222.
7.

The following quotations are from Classic American Philosophers,
General Editor M.H. Fisch, New York, Applenton-Century-Crofts, 1951, pp.
163, 164.
8.
K. Jaspers, The Great Philosophers, ed. By R. Hart-Davis, London, 1962, p. 320.
9.
Quotations from Classic American Philosophers, op. cit., pp. 160, 155, 161, 163 n.
10.
Cf. I.M. Bochenski, Contemporary European Philosophy, Univ. of California Press, 1961, p. 136 (also for bibliography).
11.

The English translation of his main work, Being and Time, was
published by Harper, New York, 1962. My references are from the 7th
German ed., Tübingen, M. Niemeyer Verlag, 1953, pp. 28 ff.
12.
Cf. Bochenski, op. cit., p. 215.
13.

An astonishingly close analogy between the formulation of the four
antinomies of the dialectical reason by Kant and the same basic
structure of the four groups of “views” (di.t.thi) in the
Brahma-jaala-suttam (DN 1) has been singled out in my papers,
“Dependence of punar-bhava on karma in Buddhist philosophy,” and “My
Approach to Indian Philosophy,” in Indian Philosophical Annuals, vols. I
and II, 1965, 1966, under my lay name Chedomil Velyachich.
14.
Cf. Bochenski, op. cit., p. 183.
15.
Jean Wahl, A Short History of Existentialism, N.Y., The Philosophical Library, 1949, p. 2.
16.

N. Berdyaev, The Beginning and the End, Harper Torchbooks, 1957, p.
92. See also discussion contained in J. Wahl’s book (note 15, above).
17.
Op. cit., pp. 116 f.
18.

K. Jaspers, Philosophie, 2nd ed. Berlin, Springer, 1948, pp. 814,
813. Man in the Modern Age is the title of one of Jaspers’ books in
English translation (London, 1959).
19.

In his history of The Great Philosophers, the chapter on Naagaarjuna
is not included in the selection quoted above (note 8) in English
translation.
20.
Cf. Bochenski, op. cit., p. 183.
21.

Cf. A Kierkegaard Anthology, edited by R. Bretall, Princeton Univ.
Press, 1951, p. 99 (from Either-Or) and p. 346 (from The Sickness Unto
Death).
22.

Cf. Julian Huxley, Religion without Revelation, London, Watts, 1967,
an analysis characteristic for the necessary elimination of elements
which an up-to-date definition of religion should not any longer
postulate as essential.
23.
Man in the Modern Age, p. 142 ff., and The Great Philosophers, p. 221.
24.
Cf. The Great Philosophers, p. 200.
25.
J.-P. Sartre. Being and Nothingness, London, Methuen, 1966, pp. 615, 576, 565, 87, 92.

A Walk in the Woods
by Phra Khantipalo

Come
with me for a walk in the woods. It is hot, silent, and nearly midday
but there are patches of shade here and there where we may sit. Around
us trees of forty years are only twenty feet high, so great is the
struggle to survive. Many die young and never mature. You can see their
young skeletons being relentlessly devoured by the termites. Taller
trees are scattered here and there, battered survivors of a continuous
fight for life. Many of their limbs have been torn off in sudden monsoon
squalls, or else they have rotted away by fungus and disease and
finally fallen off. You see that “sawdust” about this tree? Its top will
soon fall as some grub is eating away its heartwood. Look over there at
that young tree all askew — its roots have been attacked by some
predator and so it has been blown over. And there, do you see that large
tree, its bark covered with mud-plaster? The termites are under that
gnawing away its green wood and when they succeed in ringing it all
round then, in a single day, all its leaves will turn yellow and sixty
years of growth comes to an end.

Above
us, young leaves of translucent green match their brilliance against
the startling blue sky. Even these young tender leaves are full of
holes, delicacies for the great beetles that bumble about in the evening
air. Lower down these trees, the more mature leaves are ragged and lend
to the forest a threadbare look. Though they must be tough still it
seems they are the food of some insect. Here and there you can see at
the base of branches and round the lower parts of the trees yellow
leaves hanging, stiffly awaiting, as it were, the executioner who will
come as a breath of wind and bring them down. Parted, they are disjoined
forever — one changing process from another changing process. They fall
with a crash among the undergrowth. There they join hundreds of
thousands which fell before them and litter all the ground with a
crackly layer of decay. But they do not just decay slowly at their own
speed. Their decay is quickened by a myriad of ants, termites, worms,
and funguses, all ready for food and fighting to get it, a fearsome
underground jungle in miniature.

A
bird calls and is still. Far away the bells on the necks of the
water-buffalo at work in the rice-fields jingle. Insects drone by. You
see, insects are always either looking for food or avoiding becoming the
food of others. A breeze sways the trees and a huge round wasps’ nest
at the top of a slender sapling looks most insecure. Danger! Flies hum
and buzz, perching on a bamboo swinging in constant motion. Cicadas
tick, click, and whir far and near as though they were counting the
seconds of their own — and everyone else’s — lives. Seconds and minutes
fly into days and months towards death. A ground lizard darts for its
prey, catches it and chews the living insect with great relish. Another
death in this round where death goes unremarked because it is
everywhere.

Ants
swarm everywhere in lines, parties or armies, in all shapes and sizes,
according to their species. They play a great part in the change of this
forest for they are the scavengers. They have only to scent death and
they will be there ready to undertake the dismemberment of the corpse.
Sometimes it is still alive. No decay is uninteresting to them, it is
their livelihood and they are always busy for beings never cease
decaying and dying.

Spiders
too are found in great variety, all of them ready to pounce on and bite
to death unwary small creatures that become entangled in their
shimmering webs. They hang them, iridescent in the sunlight everywhere
and it is a wonder that anything can fly and yet escape them. But even
spiders do not escape death, usually from the stings of their enemies,
the hunting wasps. Though the swaying bough of bamboo is most graceful
it has been marked as part of this menacing world by a spider’s web hung
among its leaves. And bamboos are cut down by men for their usefulness.
Everything, the beautiful and the ugly is subject to impermanence.

Clouds
pass across the sky bringing coolness to us here below. Their shapes
change from minute to minute. Not even one second the same. They look
very solid yet we know how insubstantial they are. They are just like
this present time… changing… changing…

Look
over here in the forest, a pile of ashes and a few burnt-out logs
rotting away, and look: here is another older heap nearly dispersed. And
other piles are round about with occasional carved wooden posts set in
the ground, all smoldering. What are they? These mark the ends of men
and women. This forest at the back of the Wat[1] is used for cremation.
Some days, if you go in the late afternoon you will find a group of
villagers, and a very simple open-topped coffin. Everyone can see the
body there clothed as he or she died and looking, as corpses do unless
interfered with, quite repulsive. The day of cremation is the day on
which the person died, or the very next day at the latest. Change sets
in fast and hideously in a body kept in the hot countries. A big pile of
logs has been made and without ceremony and with no pretentious
solemnity the coffin is hoisted on top. Bhikkhus having viewed the
corpse are then asked to chant and some gifts are given and dedicated
for the good of the dead man. Then without more ado paraffin is splashed
over the pile and it is set alight. Some stay to see it burn. You can
soon see the body roasting through the flames when the thin-walled
coffin has burnt out… until amidst the embers there are only some
charred pieces of bone… “Aniccaa vata sankaaraa…”

Now
the sun, “the eye of the day,” has changed his position, or we have
changed ours and our short walk in the woods is nearly over. What have
we seen that does not pass away? Even though I may say that I look out
of the windows of my hut every day and see the same trees, how near to
truth is this? How can the trees be the same? They are steadily changing
they are unstable and certain to come to an end in one way or another.
They have had a beginning and they must have an end.

And
what about this “I” who sees these trees, the forest, the burning
ground and so on? Permanent or impermanent? Everyone can answer this
question, for we have seen the answer in the forest. When “I” feel
depressed and look at the trees they seem stark, ugly moth-eaten
specimens. But when “I” am glad and look upon them, see, how beautiful
they are! If, while on our walk, we looked only at the impermanence “out
there,” now is the time to bring the lesson home to the heart.
Everything that I am is impermanent, unstable, sure to change and
deteriorate.

If
impermanence meant change all the time towards better and happier
states how excellent our world would be! But impermanence is allied with
deterioration. All compounds break down, all made things fall to
pieces, all conditioned things pass away with the passing of those
conditions. Everything and everybody — that includes you and me —
deteriorates, ages, decays, breaks up, and passes away. And we, living
in the forest of desires, are entirely composed of the impermanent. Yet
our desire impels us not to see this, though impermanence stares us in
the face from every single thing around. And it confronts us when we
look within — mind and body, arising and passing away.

So
don’t turn on the TV, go to the pictures, read a book, seize some food,
or a hundred other distractions just to avoid seeing this. This is the
one thing really worth seeing, for one who fully sees it in himself is
Free.

— The Jewel Forest Monastery
Sakhon Nakorn, Siam
Notes

1.
Wat is the Thai word for a Buddhist monastery.

The Buddhist Doctrine of Anicca (Impermanence)
by Y. Karunadasa, Ph.D. (London)

The
Buddhist doctrine of anicca, the transitoriness of all phenomena, finds
classical expression in the oft-recurrent formula: Sabbe sankhaaraa
aniccaa, and in the more popular statement: Aniccaa vata sankhaaraa.
Both these formulas amount to saying that all conditioned things or
phenomenal processes, mental as well as material, that go to make up the
sa.msaaric plane of existence are transient or impermanent. This law of
impermanence is not the result of any kind of metaphysical inquiry or
of any mystical intuition. It is a straightforward judgment arrived at
by investigation and analysis, and as such its basis is entirely
empirical.

It
is in fact for the purpose of showing the insubstantiality and
impermanence of the world of experience that Buddhism analyzes it into a
multiplicity of basic factors. The earliest attempts at explaining this
situation are represented in the analysis into five khandas, twelve
aayatanas, and eighteen dhaatus. In the Abhidhamma we get the most
detailed analysis into eighty one basic elements, which are introduced
by the technical term, dhammaa. These are the basic factors into which
the empiric individuality in relation to the external world is
ultimately analyzed. They purport to show that there does not exist a
“unity,” “substance,” “atta,” or “jiiva.” In the ultimate analysis the
so-called unity is a complex of factors, “one” is really “many.” This
applies to both mind and matter equally. In the case of living beings
there is no soul or self which is immortal, while in the case of things
in general there is no essence which is ever-perduring.

These
basic factors, according to Buddhism, do not imply an absolute unity
(ekatta). They are not fractions of a whole, but a number of co-ordinate
ultimates. Although real they are not permanent. Nor are they mutually
unconnected. As such they do not imply a theory of absolute separateness
(puthutta) either. A good example of this kind of world-view is that of
Pakudha Kaccaayana, who seeks to explain the composition of the world
with reference to seven eternally existing and mutually unconnected
substances. This reduces the world to a concatenation of separate and
discrete entities, with no inter-connection, with no inter-dependence.
The Buddhist view of existence does not amount to such an extreme, for
according to Buddhism the basic factors are inter-connected with laws of
causation and conditionality. Thus the Buddhist doctrine of
impermanence is based both on analysis and synthesis. It is through
analysis that the empirical world is reduced to a multiplicity of basic
factors, and it is through causality that they are again synthesized.

That
existence does not consist of an eternal substance, mental or material,
but is composed of a variety of constantly changing factors is the
conclusion that can be drawn from the analysis into khandhas, aayatanas,
dhaatus, and dhammas. On the impermanence of the five khandhas that
make up the empiric individuality, we find this statement in the
Sa.myuttanikaaya: “There is no materiality whatever, O monks, no
feeling, no perception, no formations, no consciousness whatever that is
permanent, ever-lasting, eternal, changeless, identically abiding for
ever.” Then the Blessed One took a bit of cowdung in his hand and he
spoke to the monks: “Monks, if even that much of permanent,
ever-lasting, eternal, changeless individual selfhood [attabhaava],
identically abiding for ever, could be found, then this living of a life
of purity [brahmacariya] for the complete eradication of Ill
[dukkhakkhaya] would not be feasible” (SN 22.96).

What
is revolutionary about the Buddhist doctrine of impermanence is that it
is extended to include everything, including consciousness, which is
usually taken to be permanent, as the soul or as one of its qualities.
The Majjhima Nikaaya records how Bhikkhu Saati misunderstood Buddha’s
teaching to mean that consciousness is a permanent entity, which passes
from one existence to another, like the niraasraya vi~n~naana of the
Upanisads. This led the Buddha to formulate the well-known principle:
A~n~natra paccayaa natthi vi~n~naanassa sambhavo — There is no arising
of consciousness without reference to a condition. This is further
explained to mean that consciousness comes into being (sambhoti) in
dependence on a duality.

What
is that duality? It is eye, which is impermanent, changing,
becoming-other, and visible objects, which are impermanent, changing,
and becoming-other: such is the transient, fugitive duality [of
eye-cum-visible objects], which is impermanent, changing, and
becoming-other. Eye-consciousness too is impermanent. For how could
eye-consciousness arisen by depending on an impermanent condition be
permanent? The coincidence, concurrence, and confluence of these three
factors which is called contact and those other mental phenomena arising
as a result are also impermanent. (The same formula is applied to the
other sense-organs and the consciousnesses named after them.)

— SN 35.93

It is in view of the impermanence and insubstantiality of consciousness that Matteyya Awakened One with Awareness has declared:

Better
were it bhikkhus that the uneducated many-folk should conceive this
four-element-made body, rather than citta, to be soul. And why? The body
is seen to persist for a year, for two, three, four, five, ten or
twenty years, for a generation, even for a hundred years or even for
longer, while that which is called consciousness, that is mind, that is
intelligence, arises as one thing, ceases as another, both by day and
night.

— SN 12.61

Because
of its acceptance of this law of universal impermanence, Buddhism
stands in direct opposition to sassatavaada or eternalism, which usually
goes hand in hand with aatmavaada, i.e., belief in some kind of
immortal soul. The Brahmajaala Sutta of the Diighanikaaya alone refers
to more than ten varieties of eternalism, only to refute them as
misconceptions of the true nature of the empirical world. But this
refutation of eternalism does not lead to the acceptance, on the part of
Buddhism, of the other extreme, namely ucchedavaada or annihilationism,
which usually goes hand in hand with materialism. The
Buddhist refutation of both these extremes finds classical expression in
the following words of the Matteyya Awakened One with Awareness:

This
world, O Kaccaayana, generally proceeds on a duality, of the “it is”
and the “it is not.” But, O Kaccaayana, whoever perceives in truth and
wisdom how things originate in the world, for him there is no “it is
not” in this world. Whoever, Kaccaayana, perceives in truth and wisdom
how things pass away in the world, for him there is no “it is” in this
world.

— SN 12.15

This
statement of the Buddha refers to the duality (dvayataa) of existence
(atthitaa) and non-existence (natthitaa). These are the two theories of
eternalism and annihilationism which find expression in many forms in
various types of religion and philosophy. The former implies belief in a
permanent and changeless substance or entity, whether it is conceived
as a plurality of individual souls as in Jainism, or as a monistic
world-soul as in Vedaanta, or as a deity of some kind as in most of the
theistic religions. The latter, on the other hand, implies a belief in
the temporary existence of separate souls or personalities which are
entirely destroyed or dissolved after death. A good example of this kind
of philosophy is the one advocated by Ajita Kesakambali which finds
mention in the Saama~n~naphala Sutta.

In
contrast, according to Buddhism, everything is the product of
antecedent causes and therefore of dependent origination
(pa.ticca-samuppanna). These causes themselves are not ever-lasting and
static, but simply antecedent aspects of the same ceaseless becoming.
Every event is the result of a concatenation of dynamic processes
(sankhaara). Neither Being nor non-Being is the truth. There is only
Becoming, happening by way of cause, continuity without identity,
persistence without a persistent substance. “He who discerns origin by
way of cause he discerns the Dhamma, he who discerns the Dhamma he
discerns origin by way of cause.”

Thus
by accepting the theory of causation and conditionality, Buddhism
avoids the two extremes of sabba.m atthi (everything is) and sabba.m
natthi (everything is not) and advocates sabba.m bhavati, “everything
becomes,” i.e., happens by way of cause and effect. It is also because
of this theory that Buddhism could avoid the two extremes of niyativaada
(determinism) and ahetu-appaccaya-vaada (indeterminism). According to
the former everything is absolutely pre-determined, according to the
latter everything happens without reference to any cause or condition.
According to both there is no room for free will and as such moral
responsibility gets completely ruled out. By its theory of causation
Buddhism avoids both extremes and establishes free will and moral
responsibility.

The
second basic characteristic of the world of experience, namely dukkha
(unsatisfactoriness) is but a logical corollary arising from this law of
universal impermanence. For the impermanent nature of everything can
but lead to one inescapable conclusion: As everything is impermanent,
they cannot be made the basis of permanent happiness. Whatever is
transient is by that very fact unsatisfactory — yad anicca.m ta.m
dukkha.m. Since every form of sa.msaaric existence is impermanent, it is
also characterized by unsatisfactoriness. Thus the premise: “sabbe
sankhaaraa aniccaa” leads to the conclusion: “sabbe sankhaaraa dukkhaa.”

As
indicative of a general characteristic of phenomena, the term dukkha
should not be understood in a narrower sense to mean only pain,
suffering, misery, or sorrow. As a philosophical term it has a wider
connotation, as wide as that of the term anicca. In this wider sense, it
includes deeper ideas such as imperfection, unrest, conflict, in short,
unsatisfactoriness. This is precisely why even the states of jhaana,
resulting from the practice of higher meditation and which free from
suffering as ordinarily understood, are also included in dukkha. This is
also why the characterization dukkha is extended even to matter
(ruupa). The Visuddhi-magga of Buddhaghosa recognizes these wider
implications of the term when it explains it as three-fold, namely
dukkha-dukkha (dukkha as suffering), vipari.naama-dukkha (dukkha as
change), and sankhaara-dukkha (dukkha as conditioned state).

As
a direct and necessary corollary of this fact of dukkha, we come to the
third basic characteristic of all phenomena, namely anatta, which finds
expression in the well-known statement: Sabbe dhammaa anattaa. For the
unsatisfactory nature of everything should lead to this important
conclusion: If everything is characterized by unsatisfactoriness,
nothing can be identified as the self or as a permanent soul (attaa).
What is dukkha (by that very fact) is also anatta. What is not the self
cannot be considered as I am (ahan ti), as mine (maman ti), or as I am
that (asmii ti).

According
to Buddhism the idea of self or soul is not only a false and imaginary
belief, with no corresponding objective reality, but is also harmful
from an ethical point of view. For it produces such harmful thoughts of
I, me, and mine, selfish desires, attachments, and all other unwholesome
states of mind (akusalaa dhammaa). It could also be a misery in disguise to one who accepts it as true:

“Do
you see, O bhikkhus, such a soul-theory in the acceptance of which,
there would not arise grief, lamentation, suffering, distress, and
tribulation?”

“Certainly not, Sir.”

“Good,
O bhikkhus, I too, O bhikkhus, do not see a soul-theory, in the
acceptance of which there would not arise grief, lamentation, suffering,
distress, and tribulation.”

— MN 22

This
brings into relief the close connection between the Buddhist doctrine
of impermanence and Buddhist ethics: If the world of experience is
impermanent, by that very fact it cannot be made the basis of permanent
happiness. What is not permanent (anicca) and therefore what is
characterized by unsatisfactoriness (dukkha) cannot be considered as the
self (anatta). And what is not the self (atta) cannot be considered as
one’s own (saka) or as a haven of security (taa.na).
For the things that one gets attached to are constantly changing. Hence
attachment to them would only lead to unrest and sorrow. But when one
knows things as they truly are (yathaabhuuta.m), i.e., as anicca,
dukkha, and anatta, one ceases to get agitated by them, one ceases to
take refuge in them. Just as attachment to things is to get fettered by
them, even so detachment from them is to get freed from them. Thus in
the context of Buddhist ethics, the perception of impermanence is only a
preliminary step to the eradication of all cravings, which in turn has
the attainment of Nibbaana as its final goal.

It
will thus be seen that the Buddhist doctrine of anicca, on which is
also based the doctrine of dukkha and anatta, can rightly be called the
very foundation of the whole edifice of Buddhist philosophy and ethics.
This explains why the Buddha has declared that the very perception of
this fact, namely that whatever comes into existence is also subject to
dissolution (ya.m ki~nci samudaya-dhamma.m sabba.m ta.m nirodhadhamma.m)
is indeed the very arising of the stainless Eye of the Doctrine
(dhamma-cakkhu).
The Theory of Momentariness

The
Buddhist doctrine of impermanence, as explained in the canonical texts,
does really amount to a theory of momentariness, in the sense that
everything is in a state of constant flux. This becomes clear from a
passage in the Anguttara Nikaaya (AN 3.47), where the three
sankhata-lakkha.nas (the characteristics of that which is compounded)
are explained. Here it is said that that which is sankhata (compounded)
has three fundamental characteristics, namely uppaada (origination),
vaya (dissolution), and .thitassa a~n~nathatta (otherwiseness of that
which is existing). From this it follows that the Buddhist doctrine of
change should not be understood in the ordinary sense that something
arises, exists for some time in a more or less static form, and
dissolves. On the contrary, the third characteristic, i.e., .thitassa
a~n~nathatta shows that between its arising and cessation, a thing is
all the time changing, with no static phase in between. Thus the
Buddhist doctrine of change does really amount to a theory of universal
flux.

As
far as the application of this theory of change is concerned, there is
nothing to suggest that early Buddhism had made any distinction between
mind and matter. However, some schools of Buddhism, notably the
Mahaasaanghikas, Vaatsiiputriyas, and Sammitiiyas, while recognizing the
momentary duration of mental elements, assigned a relative permanence
to matter. Others, such as the Sarvaastivaadins, Mahiisaasakas, and
Sautraantikas objected to introducing any such distinction and declared
that all elements of existence, mental as well as material, are of
momentary duration, of instantaneous being.
The Theory of Moment (ksa.na-vaada)

In
the various schools of Buddhism the early Buddhist doctrine of change
came to be explained on the basis of a formulated theory of moments.
This theory is based on the three sankhata-lakkha.nas which we referred
to earlier. It is in fact on the interpretation of the third sankhata-lakkha.na,
namely .thitassa a~n~nathatta that the different schools of Buddhism
differ widely, as if to justify the very meaning conveyed by these two
words.

The
Vaibhaasika School of Buddhism interpret sthityanyathaatva (= .thitassa
a~n~nathatta) as jarataa, postulate another characteristic called
sthiti, and thus increase the number of sankhata-lakkha.nas to four: (i)
jaati (origination), (ii) sthitii (existence), (iii) jarataa (decay),
(iv) anityataa (extinction). All elements, mental as well as material,
characterised by them are sa.mskrta (= sankhata). Only aakaasa (space)
and Nirvaana escape from their inexorable sway. At every moment (ksa.na)
all mental and material elements are affected by them. A moment is
defined as the time during which the four characteristics accomplish
their operation. The Vaibhaasikas also maintain that these
characteristics are not only distinct from, but also as real as the
things which they characterize — showing thereby a strong predilection
to naive realism. And in keeping with this theory, it is also claimed
that they are in turn characterized by secondary characteristics
(anulaksa.nas).

The
Sautraantika School of Buddhism does not agree with this interpretation
of the Vaibhaasikas. In their view, the four characteristics apply not
to one but to a series of momentary elements: “The series itself is
called sthiti (subsistence), its origin is called jaati, its cessation
is vyaya, and the difference in its preceding and succeeding moments is
called sthityanyathaatva” (Abhidharmakosa, III, 78). A momentary
element, so they argue, cannot have a phase called sthiti or jarataa,
for whatever that originates has no time to subsist or decay but to
perish. They also point out that these four characteristics are mere
designations with no objective reality. They criticize the recognition
of secondary characteristics on the ground that this would lead to the
fallacy of infinite regress (anavasthaa). For if the four
characteristics require a set of secondary characteristics to account
for their origination, etc., then these secondary characteristics will
in turn require another set of secondary characteristics to account for
their origination, etc., and in this manner the process could be
stretched indefinitely. This problem does not arise — so runs the
argument — if the characteristics are not recognized as real as the
things they characterize.

How
the Theravaadins developed the doctrine of impermanence, and how they
interpreted the sankhata-lakkha.nas could be understood clearly when the
subject is unfolded against this background.

The
most striking feature of the Theravada theory is that the fact of
momentariness is explained in quite a different way: Each dhamma
(element of existence) has three moments, namely uppaadakkha.na, the moment of origination; .thitikkha.na, the moment of subsistence; and bhangakkha.na,
the moment of cessation. These three moments do not correspond to three
different dhammas. On the contrary, they represent three phases — the
nascent, the static, and cessant — of one “momentary” dhamma. Hence the
statement that dhammas are momentary means that a given dhamma has three
momentary phases or stages. It arises in the first moment, subsists in
the second moment, and perishes in the third moment.

Like
the Sautraantikas, the Theravaadins too accept the fact that a
momentary dhamma has no phase called jarataa or decay. According to the
argument of both schools, the attribution of jarataa, which implies some
kind of change or transformation, to a momentary dhamma is to accept
pari.naamavaada, according to which the essence, the substance remains
the same while its modes undergo change. Change, as it came to be
finally defined in the schools of Buddhist logic, is not the
transformation of one and the same dhamma from one stage to another, but
the replacement of one momentary dhamma by another. The following
argument in the Abhidharmakosa, which is directed against the
Vaibhaasikas who admit jarataa of one momentary dhamma, clarifies this
situation: “But how can you speak of jarataa or change in respect of one
momentary dhamma? What is called jarataa or change is the
transformation or dissimilarity between two stages. Is it possible to
say that a dharma becomes different from itself. If it remains unchanged
it cannot be another. If it is transformed it is not the same.
Therefore the transformation of one dhamma is not possible”
(Abhidharmakosa, III, 56).

Hence
the Sautraantikas and the Theravaadins apply the characteristic of
jarataa only to a series of momentary dhammas. In their opinion what is
called jarataa is the difference between the preceding and the
succeeding moments of a series. There is, however, this difference to be
noted: Unlike the Sautraantikas, the Theravaadins do not deny the
static phase (.thiti) of a momentary dhamma. The Theravada argument in
support of their accepting the static phase is as follows: It is true
that a dhamma that originates should also cease to exist. But before it
could cease to exist, there should be at least a moment when it turns
towards its own cessation (nirodhaabhimukhaavatthaa). It is this moment
when a dhamma is facing its own cessation that we call the static phase.
The logic of this argument is that a dhamma that arises cannot cease to
exist at the same time, for otherwise existence and non-existence would
become co-existent!

One
logical development of this theory of moments is the denial of motion.
For, if all the elements of existence are of momentary duration, they
have no time to move. In the case of momentary elements, wherever
appearance takes place there itself takes place disappearance
(yatraivotpattih tatraiva vinaasah). In keeping with this theory, motion
is given a new definition. According to this definition, motion has to
be understood, not as the movement of one material element from one
locus in space to another (desaantara-sa.mkraant), but as the appearance
of momentary elements in adjacent locations (desaantarotpatti),
creating a false picture of movement. The best example given in this
case is the light of the lamp. The so-called light of the lamp, it is
argued, is nothing but a common designation given to an uninterrupted
production of a series of flashing points. When the production changes
place one says that the light has changed. But in reality other flames
have appeared in another place.
Anicca (Impermanence)
According to Theravada
by Bhikkhu Ñanamoli

According to the Theravada, anicca is the first of what are often called in Buddhist literature the “Three Characteristics” (ti-lakkha.na) or the “General Characteristics” (saama~n~na-lakkha.na). Anicca is usually treated as the basis for the other two, though anattaa, the third, is sometimes founded on dukkha alone.

The normal English equivalent for anicca is “impermanent.”
Derivations

The
adjective anicca (impermanent) is derived in modern etymology from the
negative prefix a- plus nicca (permanent: cf. Vedic Sanskrit nitya from
prefix ni- meaning “onward, downward”). The Paramatthama~njuusaa
(commentary to the Visuddhimagga) and also the Poraana-Tiikaa (one of
the three commentaries to the Abhidhammatthasa”ngaha) agree that
“Because it denies everlastingness, it is not permanent, thus it is
impermanent” (na niccan ti anicca.m: VisA. 125). The Vibhaavinii-Tikaa
and Sankhepava.n.nanaa (the other two commentaries to the Abhs.) prefer a
derivation from the negative prefix an- plus root i to go: “Cannot be
gone to, is un-approachable, as a permanent, everlasting state, thus it
is impermanent” (… na iccam, anupagantabban ti aniccam).
Definitions

Principal
definitions given in the Sutta Pi.taka are as follows. “‘Impermanent,
impermanent’ it is said, Lord. What is impermanent?” — “Materiality
[ruupa] is impermanent, Raadha, and so are feeling [vedanaa] and
perception [sa~n~naa] and formations [sankhaara] and consciousness
[vi~n~naa.na]” (SN 23.1).
This statement is summarized by a Canonical commentary thus: “What is
impermanent? The five categories [khandha] are impermanent. In what
sense impermanent? Impermanent in the sense of rise and fall
[udaya-vaya]” (Ps. Aanaapaanakathaa/vol. i, 230). Again, “All is
impermanent. And what is the all that is impermanent? The eye is
impermanent, visual objects [ruupaa]… eye-consciousness… eye contact
[cakku-samphassa]… whatever is felt [vedayita] as pleasant or
unpleasant or neither-unpleasant-nor-pleasant, born of eye-contact
is impermanent. [Likewise with the ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind]”
(SN 35.43/vol. iv, 28) or, quite succinctly, “All formations are
impermanent” (MN 35/vol. i, 230) and “Whatever is subject to origination
[samudaya] is subject to cessation [nirodha]” (MN 56/vol. i, 380). The
Canonical commentary adds “Materiality [etc.] is impermanent in the
sense of exhaustion [khaya]” (Ps. ~Naa.nakathaa/vol. i, 37).

For
reasons given below, impermanence in strict Abhidhamma treatment
appears, along with continuity (santati), etc., only as one of the
secondary (derivative) constituents of the materiality category (see
e.g., Dhs. & 645), of which the commentary says “Impermanence of
materiality has the characteristic of complete break-up. Its nature is
to make instances of materiality subside. It is manifested as their
exhaustion and fall. Its footing is materiality that is completely
breaking up” (Vis. Ch. XIV/p.450). A section of the Vibha”nga, however,
which does not follow the strict Abhidhamma method, extends impermanence
to the highest kinds of heavenly existence, beyond those with
fine-materiality (ruupa) to the immaterial (aruupa) where there is
perception only of infinity of space, infinity of consciousness,
nothingness, or reduced perception of nothingness
(Dhammahadaya-Vibha”nga).

The
commentaries of Acariya Buddhaghosa elaborate the Sutta definitions
further, distinguishing between “the impermanent and the characteristic
of impermanence. The five categories are the impermanent. Why? Because
their essence is to rise and fall and change, and because, after having
been, they are not. But the characteristic of impermanence is their
state of rise and fall and alternation, or it is their
mode-transformation [aakaara-vikaara] called non-being after having
been” (Vis. Ch. XXI/p. 640); again “The eye [etc.,] can be known as
impermanent in the sense of its non-being after having been; and it is
impermanent for four reasons as well; because it has rise and fall,
because it changes, because it is temporary, and because it denies
permanence” (VbhA. 41; cf. MA. ad, MN 22/vol. ii, 113), and “Since its
destiny is non-being and since it abandons its natural essence because
of the transmission [of personal continuity] to a new state of being [on
rebirth], it is ’subject to change,’ which is simply synonymous with
its impermanence” (VbhA. 49).
Treatment in the Suttas and Commentaries

Having
dealt with derivations and definitions, we can now turn to the Suttas
and commentaries again in order to see how this subject is handled
there; for in this article we shall be mainly concerned with quotations,
leaving discussion to other articles.

But
at this point, it is convenient to approach the doctrine of
impermanence first from the point of view of it as a description of what
actually is (yathaa-bhuuta), leaving till later the point of view of it
as a basis for evaluation and judgment, which is the reason and
justification for the description.

Impermanence
is observable empirically and is objectively and publicly evident,
always if looked for, and from time to time forcing itself upon our
notice. Externally it is found in the inconstancy of “things,” which
extends even to the periodical description of world-systems (see e.g.,
MN 28; SN 15.20; AN 7.62); and in one self it can be observed, for
instance, in the body’s inadequacy (aadiinava) because it ages, is prone
to sickness, dies, and gradually decays after death (see MN 13); life
is short (AN 7.70). But “it would be better for an untaught ordinary man
to treat as self [attaa] this body, which is constructed upon the four
great entities [mahaa-bhuuta], then cognizance [citta]. Why? Because
this body can last one year, two years,… even a hundred years; but
what is called ‘cognizance’ and ‘mind’ [mano] and ‘consciousness’ [vi~n~naa.na]
rises and ceases differently through night and day, just as a monkey
ranging through a forest seizes a branch, and, letting that go, seizes
another” (SN 12.61/vol. ii, 94.5).

Nevertheless
observance of empirical impermanence might not alone suffice for the
radical position accorded by the Buddha to this characteristic. This is
established, however, by discovery, through reasoned attention, of a
regular structure in the subjective-objective process of its occurrence:
“This body [for example] is impermanent, it is formed [sa.nkhata], and
it is dependently-arisen [pa.ticca-samuppanna]” (SN 36.7/vol. iv, 211;
cf. SN 22.21/vol. iii, 24). Here, in fact, three aspects are
distinguished, three necessary and interlocking constituents of
impermanence, namely (1) change, (2) formation (as “this, not that,”
without which no change could be perceived), and (3) a recognizable
pattern in a changing process (also called “specific conditionality”
(idapaccayataa), which pattern is set out in the formula of dependent
origination (pa.ticca-samuppaada). We shall take these three aspects in
order.
(1)

There
is no single treatise on the characteristic of impermanence either in
the Tipi.taka or its commentaries, and so we shall have to bring
together passages from a number of sources. We may also bear in mind
that the Buddha does not confine descriptions of a general nature such
as this to the observed alone, but extends them to include the observer,
regarded as actively committed in the world he observes and acting on
it as it acts on him, so long as craving and ignorance remain
unabolished. “That in the world by which one perceives the world
[loka-sa~n~nii] and conceives concepts about the world [loka-maanii] is
called ‘the world’ in the Ariyas’s Discipline. And what is it in the
world with which one does that? It is with the eye, ear, nose, tongue,
body, and mind” (SN 35.116/vol. iv, 95). That same world “is being worn
away [lujjhati], that is why it is called ‘world’ [loka]” (SN 35.82/vol.
iv, 52). That impermanence is not only appropriate to all of any arisen
situation but also to the totality of all arisen situations:

“Bhikkhu,
there is no materiality whatever… feeling… perception…
formations… consciousness whatever that is permanent, everlasting,
eternal, not subject to change, that will last as long as eternity.”

Then
the Blessed One took a small piece of cowdung in his hand he told the
bhikkhu: “Bhikkhu, if even that much of permanent, everlasting, eternal
individual selfhood [attabhaava], not subject to change could be found,
then this living of a life of purity [brahmacariya] could not be
described as for the complete exhaustion of suffering [dukkhakkhaya].”

— SN 22.96/vol. iii, 144

And again:

“Bhikkhus,
I do not dispute with the world [the ‘world’ in the sense of other
people], the world disputes with me: no one who proclaims the True Idea
[dhamma] disputes with anyone in the world. What wise men in the world
say there is not [natthi], that I too say there is not; and what wise
men in the world say there is [atthi], that I too say there is… Wise
men in the world say there is no permanent, everlasting, eternal
materiality not subject to change, and I too say there is none. [And
likewise with the other four categories.] Wise men in the world say that
there is impermanent materiality that is unpleasant and the subject to
change, and I too say there is that.”

— SN 22.94/vol. iii, 138-9

Impermanence, it is pointed out in the commentaries, is not always evident unless looked for.

The
characteristic of impermanence does not become apparent because, when
rise and fall are not given attention, it is concealed by continuity…
However, when continuity is disrupted by discerning rise and fall, the
characteristic of impermanence becomes apparent in its true nature.”

— Vis. Ch. xxi/p. 640

“When
continuity is disrupted” means when continuity is exposed by
observation of the perpetual alteration of dhammas as they go on
occurring in succession. For it is not through dhammas’ connectedness
that the characteristic of impermanence becomes apparent to one who
rightly observes rise and fall, but rather the characteristic becomes
properly evident through their disconnectedness, [regarded] as if they
were iron darts.”

— VisA. 824
(2)

This
leads us to the second of the three aspects, that of the formation
mentioned above; for to be impermanent is to have a beginning and an
end, to have rise and fall. “Bhikkhus, there are three formed
characteristics of the formed: arising is evident and fall is evident
and the alteration of what is present [.thitassa a~n~nathattam] is
evident” (AN 3.47/vol. i, 152). And one who possesses the Five Factors
of Endeavor [padhaaniya”nga] “has understanding, possesses understanding
[pa~n~naa] extending to rise and disappearance” (DN 33/ vol. iii, 237).

Acariya
Buddhaghosa makes use of the empirically observable in order to arrive
at the radical concept of rise and fall. A cup gets broken (VbhA. 49);
the asoka tree’s shoot can be seen to change in the course of a few days
from pale to dark red and then through brown to green leaves, which
eventually turn yellow, wither, and fall to the ground (Vis. Ch. xx/p.
625). The illustration of a lighted lamp is also used; where it goes to
when its oil and wick are used up no one knows… But that is crudely
put; for the flame in each third portion of the wick as it gradually
burns away ceases there without reaching the other parts… That is
crudely put too; for the flame in each inch, in each half-inch, in each
thread, in each strand, will cease without reaching the other strands;
but no flame can appear without a strand (Vis. Ch. xx/p. 622). By
regarding seeming stability in ever shorter periods and minuter detail, a
momentary view is arrived at. Anything whatever, first analyzed into a
five-category situation, is then regarded as arising anew in each moment
(kha.na) and immediately
dissolving, “like sesamum seeds crackling when put into a hot pan” (Vis.
Ch. xx/pp. 622, 626). This is further developed in the commentary to
the Visuddhimagga:

Formed
[sa”nkhata] dhammas’ arising by means of cause and condition, their
coming to be after not being, their acquisition of individuality
[attabhaava], is their rise. Their instantaneous cessation and
exhaustion when arisen is their fall. Their other state through aging is
their alteration. For just as when the occasion [avatthaa] of arising
dissolves and the occasion of dissolution [bha”nga] succeeds it, there
is no break in the basis [vatthu] on the occasion facing dissolution, in
other words, presence [.thiti], which is what the term of common usage
‘aging’ refers to, so too it is necessary that the aging of a single
dhamma is meant, which is what is called ‘momentary [instantaneous]
aging.’ And there must, without reservation, be no break in the basis
between the occasions of arising and dissolution, otherwise it follows
that one [thing] arises and another dissolves.

— VisA. 280

Acariya
Buddhaghosa, though not identifying being with being-perceived rejects
the notion of any underlying substance — any hypostasis, personal or
impersonal — thus:

[One
contemplating rise and fall] understands that there is no heap or store
of unarisen mentality-materiality [naama-ruupa] [existing] prior to its
arising. When it arises, it does not come from any heap or store; and
when it ceases, it does not go in any direction. There is nowhere any
depository in the way of a heap or store, prior to its arising, of the
sound that arises when a lute is played, nor does it come from any store
when it arises, nor does it go in any direction when it has ceased [cf.
SN 35.205/vol. iv, 197], but on the contrary, not having been, it is
brought into being by depending on the lute, the lute’s soundboard, and a
man’s appropriate effort, and immaterial [aruupa] dhammas come to be
[with the aid of specific conditions], and having been, they vanish.

— Vis. Ch. xx/p. 630

The
transience and perpetual renewal of dhammas is compared in the same
work (Ch. xx/p. 633) to dewdrops at sunrise, a bubble on water, a line
drawn on water (AN 4.37), a mustard seed on an awl’s point, and a
lightning flash (Mahaa Niddesa p. 42), and they are as coreless
(nissaara) as a conjuring trick (SN 22.95/vol. iii, 142), a mirage (Dhp
46), a dream (Sn 4.6/v. 807), a whirling firebrand’s circle (alaata
cakka), a goblin city (gandhabba-nagara), froth (Dhp 46), a plantain
trunk (SN 22.95/vol. iii, 141), and so on.

Before leaving the aspect of rise and fall, the question of the extent (addhaana) of the moment (kha.na), as conceived in the commentaries, must be examined (The Abhidhamma mentions the kha.na
without specifying any duration). A Sutta cited above gave “arising,
fall, and alteration of what is present” as three characteristics of
anything formed. In the commentaries this is restated as “rise,
presence, and dissolution” (uppaada-.thiti-bha”nga; see e.g., Vis. Ch.
xx/p. 615), which are each also called “[sub-] moments” (kha.na). These sub-moments are discussed in the Vibha”nga commentary:

To
what extent does materiality last? And to what extent the [mental]
immaterial? Materiality is heavy to change and slow to cease; the
immaterial is light to change and quick to cease. Sixteen cognizances
arise and cease while [one instance of] materiality lasts; but that
ceases with the seventeenth cognizance. It is like when a man wanting to
knock down some fruit hits a branch with a mallet, and when fruits and
leaves are loosed from their stems simultaneously; and of those the
fruits fall first to the ground because they are heavier, the leaves
later because they are lighter. So too, just as the leaves and fruits
are loosed simultaneously from their stems with the blow of the mallet,
there is simultaneous manifestation of materiality and immaterial
dhammas at the moment of relinking [pa.tisandhi] at rebirth… And
although there is this difference between them, materiality cannot occur
without the immaterial nor can the immaterial without materiality: they
are commensurate. Here is a simile: there is a man with short legs and a
man with long legs; as they journey along together, while long-legs
takes one step short-legs takes sixteen steps; when short-legs is making
his sixteenth step, long-legs lifts his foot, draws it forward and
makes a single step; so neither out-distances the other, and they are
commensurate.

— Khandha-Vibha”nga A/Vbh. 25-6

Elsewhere
it is stated that the sub-moments of arising and dissolution are equal
for both materiality and cognizance, only the presence sub-moment of
materiality being longer. The Muula-Tiikaa, however, puts the mental
presence sub-moment in question, commenting as follows on the passage
just quoted: “Now it needs investigating whether there is what is here
called ‘presence sub-moment’ of a cognizance or not.” It cites the Citta
Yamaka as follows “Is it, when arisen, arising? At the dissolution
sub-moment it is arisen but it is not not arising” and “Is it, when not
arising, not arisen? At the dissolution sub-moment it is not arising,
but it is not unarisen” (Y. ii, 13) and two similar passages from the
same source (Y. ii, 14), pointing out that only the dissolution
sub-moment is mentioned instead of both, that and the presence
sub-moment, as might be expected, had the Yamaka regarded the presence
sub-moment as having valid application to cognizance. For that reason,
the Muula-Tiikaa concludes:

[The]
non-existence of a presence sub-moment of cognizance is indicated. For
although it is said in the Suttas “The alteration of what is present is
evident” [AN 3.47/vol. i, 152], that does not mean either that a
continuity alteration which is evident cannot be called “presence”
[.thiti] because of absence of any alteration of what is one only, or
that what is existent [vijjamaana] by possessing the pair of sub-moments
[of arising and dissolution] cannot be called “present” [.thita].

— VbhA. 21-2
(3)

The
third aspect of impermanence, that of the pattern or structure of
specific conditionality, still remains. It is briefly stated thus “That
comes to be when there is this; that arises with the arising of this,
That does not come to be when this is not; that ceases with the
cessation of this” (MN 38/vol. i, 262-4), or in the words that first
awakened the two Chief Disciples: “A Tathaagata has told the cause of
dhammas that have come into being due to a cause, and that which brings
their cessation too: such is the doctrine preached by the Great Sama.na”
(Mv. Kh. 1). In more detail we find: “Consciousness acquires being
[sambhoti] by dependence on a duality. What is that duality? It is eye,
which is impermanent, changing, becoming-other, and visible objects,
which are impermanent, changing, and becoming-other: such is the
transient, fugitive duality [of eye-cum-visible objects], which is
impermanent, changing, and becoming-other. Eye-consciousness is
impermanent, changing, and becoming-other; for this cause and condition
[namely, eye-cum-visible objects] for the arising of eye-consciousness
being impermanent, changing, and becoming-other, how could
eye-consciousness, arisen by depending on an impermanent condition be
permanent? Then the coincidence, concurrence and confluence of these
three impermanent dhammas is called contact [phassa]; but eye-contact
too is impermanent, changing, and becoming-other; for how could
eye-contact, arisen by depending on an impermanent condition, be
permanent? It is one touched by contact who feels [vedeti], likewise who
chooses [ceteti], likewise who perceives [sa~njaanaati]; so these
transient, fugitive dhammas too [namely, feeling, choice, and
perception] are impermanent, changing, and becoming-other.” (The same
treatment is accorded to ear-cum-sounds, nose-cum-odors,
tongue-cum-flavors, body-cum-tangibles, and mind-cum-ideas: SN
35.93/vol. iv, 67-8). By further development we come to the formula of
dependent origination (pa.ticca-samuppaada); but that is beyond the
scope of this article.
Impermanence as a subject for Contemplation and basis for Judgment

The Matteyya Awakened One with Awareness’s last words were:

Handa
daani bhikkhave aamantayaami vo: vayadhammaa sa”nkhaaraa, appamaadena
sampaadetha — Indeed, bhikkhus, I declare to you: All formations are
subject to dissolution; attain perfection through diligence.

— DN 16/vol. ii, 156

A little earlier he had said:

Has
it not already been repeatedly said by me that there is separation,
division, and parting from all that is dear and beloved? How could it be
that what is born, come to being, formed and is liable to fall, should
not fall? That is not possible.

— DN 16/vol. ii, 144

There are, besides these, countless passages where this exhortation is variously developed, from which only a few can be chosen.

Bhikkhus, when a man sees as impermanent the eye [and the rest], which is impermanent, then he has right view.

— SN 35.155/vol. iv, 142

Bhikkhus,
formations are impermanent, they are not lasting, they provide no real
comfort; so much so that that is enough for a man to become
dispassionate, for his lust to fade out, and for him to be liberated.

— AN 7.62/vol. iv, 100

What
is perception of impermanence? Here, Aananda, a bhikkhu, gone to the
forest or to the root of a tree or to a room that is void, considers
thus: “Materiality is impermanent, feeling… perception…
formations… consciousness is impermanent.” He abides contemplating in
this way impermanence in the five “categories affected by clinging.”

AN 10.60/vol. v, 109

What
is perception of impermanence in the world of all [all the world]?
Here, Aananda, a bhikkhu is humiliated, ashamed, and disgusted with
respect to all formations.

— AN 10.60/vol v, 111

Perception
of impermanence should be maintained in being for the elimination of
the conceit “I am,” since perception of not-self becomes established in
one who perceives impermanence, and it is perception of not-self that
arrives at the elimination of the conceit “I am,” which is extinction
[nibbaana] here and now.

— Ud. Iv, 1/p.37

And
how is perception of impermanence maintained in being and developed so
that all lust for sensual desires [kaama], for materiality [ruupa], and
for being [bhava], and also all ignorance are ended and so that all
kinds of the conceit “I am” are abolished? “Such is materiality, such
its origin, such its disappearance; such is feeling,…, perception,…
formations,… consciousness, such its origin, such its disappearance.”

— SN 22.102/vol. iii, 156-7

Here,
bhikkhus, feelings… perceptions… thoughts [vitakka] are known to
him as they arise, known as they appear present, known as they
disappear. Maintenance of this kind of concentration in being conduces
to mindfulness and full awareness… Here a bhikkhu abides contemplating
rise and fall in the five categories affected by clinging thus: “Such
is materiality, such its origin, such its disappearance, [and so with
the other four].” Maintenance of this kind of concentration conduces to
the exhaustion of taints [aasava].

— DN 33/vol. iii, 223

When
a man abides thus mindful and fully aware, diligent, ardent, and
self-controlled, then if a pleasant feeling arises in him, he
understands “This pleasant feeling has arisen in me; but that is
dependent not independent. Dependent on what? Dependent on this body.
But this body is impermanent, formed, and dependently originated. Now
how could pleasant feeling, arisen dependent on an impermanent, formed,
dependently arisen body, be permanent? In the body and in feeling he
abides contemplating impermanence and fall and fading and cessation and
relinquishment. As he does so, his underlying tendency to lust for the
body and for pleasant feeling is abandoned.” Similarly, when he
contemplates unpleasant feeling, his underlying tendency to resistance
[pa.tigha] to the body and unpleasant feeling is abandoned; and when he
contemplates neither-unpleasant-nor-pleasant feeling his underlying tendency to ignorance of the body and of that feeling is abandoned.

— SN 36.7/vol. iv, 211-2

When
a bhikkhu abides much with his mind fortified by perception of
impermanence, his mind retreats, retracts, and recoils from gain, honor,
and renown, and does not reach out to it, just as a cock’s feather or
strip of sinew thrown on a fire retreats, retracts, and recoils and does
not reach out to it.

— AN 7.46/vol. iv, 51

When
a bhikkhu sees six rewards it should be enough for him to establish
unlimitedly perception of impermanence in all formations. What six? “All
formations will seem to me insubstantial; and my mind will find no
relish in the world of all [all the world]; and my mind will emerge from
the world of all [from all the world]; and my mind will incline towards
extinction; and my fetters will come to be abandoned; and I shall be
endowed with the supreme state of a recluse.”

— AN 6.102/vol. iii, 443

When
a man abides contemplating impermanence in the bases for contact [the
eye and the rest], the outcome is that awareness of repulsiveness in
contact is established in him; and when he abides contemplating rise and
fall in the five categories affected by clinging, the outcome is that
awareness of repulsiveness in clinging is established in him.

— AN 5.30/vol. iii, 32

Fruitful
as the act of giving is… yet it is still more fruitful to go with
confident heart for refuge to the Buddha, the Dhamma and of the Sa”ngha
and undertake the five precepts of virtue… Fruitful as that is… yet
it is still more fruitful to maintain loving-kindness in being for only
as long as the milking of a cow… Fruitful as that is… yet it is
still more fruitful to maintain perception of impermanence in being for
only as long as the snapping of a finger.

— AN 9.20/vol. 392-6 abbr.

Better a single day of life perceiving how things rise and fall than to live out a century yet not perceive their rise and fall.

— Dhp 113

It is impossible that a person with right view should see any formation as permanent.

— MN 115/vol. iii, 64

The
Visuddhimagga (Chs. xx and xxi) relies principally on the canonical
commentary, the Pa.tisambhidaamagga, in its handling of the
contemplation of impermanence. There that contemplation introduces the
first of what are called the “Eight Knowledges” (a classification
peculiar to the Visuddhimagga), namely, the knowledge of contemplation
of rise and fall (udayabbayaanupassanaa-~naa.na).
Also perception of impermanence heads the “18 Principal Insights”
(mahaa-vipassanaa), which make their initial appearance is a group in
the Pa.tisambhidaamagga (the first seven being also called the “seven
perceptions” (satta-sa~n~naa: see Ps. ~Naa.nakathaa i, 20). In this
connection it is stated as follows:

One who maintains in being the contemplation of impermanence abandons perception of permanence…

and

the
contemplation of impermanence and contemplation of the signless
[animittaanupassanaa] are one in meaning and different only in the
letter.

since

one who maintains in being the contemplation of the signless abandons the sign [of permanence, etc.].

— Vis. Ch. xx p. 628

The
contemplation of what is impermanent, or contemplation as
“impermanent,” is “contemplation of impermanence”; this is insight
(vipassanaa) that occurs in apprehending impermanence in the three
planes (bhuumi) (Vis. A. 67). The Visuddhimagga adds:

Having
purified knowledge in this way by abandoning perception of permanence,
etc., which oppose the contemplation of impermanence, etc., he passes
on… and begins… contemplation of rise and fall.

— Vis. Ch. xx/pp. 629-30

The following passage is then quoted:

How
is it that understanding of contemplating the change of
presently-arisen dhammas is knowledge of rise and fall? Presently-arisen
materiality is born; the characteristic of its generation is rise, the
characteristic of its change is fall, the contemplation is knowledge.
Presently-arisen feeling… etc.

— Ps. ~Naa.nakathaa/i, 54

and

He
sees the rise of the materiality category in the sense of conditioned
arising thus: (1) With the arising of ignorance… (2) with the arising
of craving… (3)… action… (4) with the arising of nutriment
[aahaara] there is the arising of materiality; (5) one who sees the
characteristic of generation sees the rise of the materiality Category.
One who sees the rise of the materiality category, sees these five
characteristics.

— Ps. i, 55

Cessation
and fall are treated in parallel manner, and this treatment is applied
to the four remaining categories but substituting contact for nutriment
in the cases of feeling, perception, and formations, and
mentality-materiality (naama-ruupa) for nutriment in the case of
consciousness.

Lastly, a Sutta passage emphasizes a special relation with faith (saddhaa).

Materiality
[and the rest] is impermanent, changing, becoming other. Whoever
decides about, places his faith in, these dhammas in this way is called
mature in faith [saddhaanusaari]. He has alighted upon the certainty of
rightness… Whoever has a liking to meditate by test of experiment with
understanding upon these dhammas is called mature in the true idea
[dhammaanusaari]. He has alighted upon the certainty of rightness…
Whoever has a liking to meditate by test of experiment with
understanding upon these dhammas is called mature in the true idea
[dhammaanusaari]. He has alighted upon the certainty of rightness…

— SN 25.1-10/vol. iii, 225 f.

This connection between faith and impermanence is taken up by the Visuddhimagga, quoting the Pa.tisambhidaamagga:

“When
one gives attention to impermanence, the faith faculty is outstanding”
and in the cases of attention to the unpleasant and not-self the
faculties of concentration and understanding are respectively
outstanding. These three are called the “Three [alternative] gateways to
liberation [vimokkha-mukha], which lead to the outlet from the world.”

— Vis. Ch. xxi/pp. 657 ff., quoting Ps. Vimokkhakathaa/vol. ii, 58
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The Wheel Publication No. 186/187 (Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society,
1981). Transcribed from the print edition in 2005 by a volunteer, under
the auspices of the Access to Insight Dhamma Transcription Project and
by arrangement with the Buddhist Publication Society. Minor revisions
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How
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Existence: I. Impermanence (Anicca)”, with a preface by Nyanaponika
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31. Solomon Islands


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