Researched by- Myoma Myint Kywe
ဦးျမင့္ၾကြယ္ ( ၿမိဳ ႔မ ျမင့္ၾကြယ္ ) သမိုင္းပညာရွင္
ဆိုရွိကိ ကရာေတးအသင္း နည္းျပခ်ဳပ္
"All conditioned things are impermanent" — when one sees this with wisdom, one turns away from suffering.
-The Buddha ( Dhammapada, verse 277).
Impermanence is one of the essential doctrines or three marks of existence in Buddhism. anicca is a pali word composed with two combined words: "nicca" and the privative particle "a". "nicca" implies the idea of permanence, of continuity. anicca means the absence of continuity, the absence of permanence.
In Buddhism, the three marks of existence are three characteristics (Pali: tilakkhaṇa) shared by all sentient beings, namely impermanence (anicca), suffering or unsatisfactoriness (dukkha), and non-self (anatta).
The various stages in the life of a man, the childhood, the adulthood, the old age are not the same at any given time. The child is not the same when he grows up and becomes a young man, nor when the latter turns into an old man. The seed is not the tree, though it produces the tree, and the fruit is also not the tree, though it is produced by the tree.
The concept of impermanence and continuous becoming is central to early Buddhist teachings. It is by becoming aware of it, by observing it and by understanding it, one can find a suitable remedy for the sorrow of human life and achieve liberation from the process of anicca.
Anicca (impermanence or inconstant), dukkha (suffering or unsatisfactoriness) and anatta (non-existence or non-selfhood) together make up the ti-lakkhana, or three characteristics of all phenomenal existence. That the human body is subject to change is empirically observable in the universal states of childhood, youth, maturity, and old age. Similarly, mental events come into being and dissolve. Recognition of the doctrine of impermanence is one of the first steps in the Buddhist's spiritual progress toward enlightenment. Impermanence is one of the essential doctrines or three marks of existence in Buddhism.
The Buddha says, "Life is suffering". What does "suffering" mean? The sutras say: "Impermanence therefore suffering". Everything is impermanent and changeable. The Buddha says that life is suffering because it is impermanent and ever-changing. For example, a healthy body cannot last forever. It will gradually become weak, old, sick and die. One who is wealthy cannot maintain one’s wealth forever. Sometimes one may become poor. Power and status do not last as well, one will lose them finally. From this condition of changing and instability, although there is happiness and joy, they are not ever lasting and ultimate. When changes come, suffering arises.
Thus, the Buddha says life is suffering. Suffering means dissatisfaction, impermanence and imperfection. If a practising Buddhist does not understand the real meaning of "suffering" and think that life is not perfect and ultimate, they become negative and pessimistic in their view of life. Those who really understand the teaching of the Buddha will have a totally different view. We should know that the theory of "Life is suffering" taught by the Buddha is to remind us that life is not ultimate and lasting, and hence we should strive towards Buddhahood — a permanent and perfect life.
This is similar to one who is sick. One must know that one is sick before wanting to seek the doctor’s treatment. Only then can the sickness be cured. Why is life not ultimate and permanent and full of suffering? There must be a cause for the suffering. Once one knows the cause of suffering, one will try one’s best to be rid of the causes, and hence end the suffering and attain ultimate peacefulness and happiness.
A practising Buddhist should practice according to the Buddha’s instruction, and change this imperfect and non-ultimate life to an ultimate and perfect one. Then would come a state of permanent joy, personality, and purity.
Permanent means ever-lasting, joy means peacefulness and happiness, personality means freedom and non-attachment, purity means cleanliness. This highest aim of Buddhism is not only to break through the suffering of life but to transform this suffering life into a life that has permanent peacefulness, joy, freedom and purity.
The Buddha told us the cause of suffering and instructed us to strive towards the goal. The stage of permanent, joy, personality and purity is an ultimate ideal phenomena. It is full of brightness and hope. It is a stage that is attainable by all of us. How can we say that Buddhism is negative and pessimistic?
Although not all practising Buddhists are able to attain this highest point of practice, there is still boundless benefit in knowing this theory. Most people know that they have to strive to do good when they are poor, but once they become rich, they forget about everything, and only think about their own enjoyment and hence walk towards the wrong path foolishly.
A practising Buddhist should remember to strive not only when one is poor and in difficulties, but should also be mindful when one is enjoying, because happiness is not permanent. If one does not strive towards the good, they will degenerate and fall very quickly. The teaching of "Life is suffering" reminds us not to look forward for enjoyment only and go the wrong way. This is the important implication in the teaching of "Life is suffering", taught by the Buddha.
The great Vipassana meditation teacher, Sayagyi U Ba Khin, wrote: "Impermanence (anicca) is, of course, the essential fact which must be first experienced and understood by practice." Anicca is a gateway, an opening. The complexity and multiplicity of the phenomena of the world can appear like a thicket (a dense group of bushes or trees), but as a person walks the path of Vipassana meditation, suddenly there is an emergence from the tangle. Anicca is the clearing.
U Ba Khin wrote: "Anicca is the first essential factor-for progress in Vipassana meditation, a student must keep knowing anicca as continuously as possible." The pali word anicca is translated into English as impermanence or change.
Anicca is a word-indicator that points to a fact of reality beyond any concept: the ceaseless transformation of all material in the universe. Nothing is solid, permanent, and immutable. Every "thing" is really an "event."
The Buddha said, sabbe sankhara anicca-the entire universe is fluid. For the practitioner of Vipassana, anicca is a direct experience of the nature of one's own mind and body, a plunge into universal reality directly within oneself. "Just a look into oneself", U Ba Khin wrote, "and there it is-anicca."
Impermanence means that everything changes and nothing remains the same in any consecutive moment. And although things change every moment, they still cannot be accurately described as the same or as different from what they were a moment ago.
Heraclitus said “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man”.
When we bathe in the river today that we bathed in yesterday, is it the same river? Heraclitus said that we couldn’t step into the same river twice. He was right. The water in the river today is completely different from the water we bathed in yesterday. Yet it is the same river. When Confucius was standing on the bank of a river watching it flow by he said, “Oh, it flows like that day and night, never ending.”
Everything is impermanent.
Hatred is also impermanent.
Position is also impermanent.
Happiness is impermanent.
Material happiness is also impermanent.
Wealth is also impermanent.
Poorness is also impermanent.
The essence of Dharma (the insider) comes from the fact that Buddha always taught to look inside the mind for the solution to all external problems.
The SIX negative thoughts which are the source of suffering are: Greed, Anger, Pride, Jealousy, Attachment and Ignorance.
Just as the light of a candle has the power to dispel darkness in a room, so also the light developed in one man can help dispel darkness in several others. As in the days of the Buddha (BC 623-BC 543), one should work hard to maintain the awareness of anicca, and if one can do so he will surely get himself rid of many troubles.