Thread: Musings on Impermanence

  1. #1
    Forums Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2021
    Posts
    8

    Musings on Impermanence

    Impermanence is actually a marvelous thing.

    At first, nobody likes it. It's all quite terrifying. It's this whole idea that nothing's going to last.

    This fact can be difficult to wrap the mind around because the mind wants a constant stable condition for its past making, its making in the present moment, and on into some imagined future.

    For this reason impermanence is one of the primary sources of Dukkha.

    However, impermanence, being one of the constants of the experience, is actually one of the few things that can be depended on. Impermanence is always on. It is always active. For the clever mind this is incredibly useful.

    An example of this is the saying, “If you don’t like the weather, wait 15 minutes.” (Which seems to be universal. LOL) Don't like the present conditions, just wait. Things will change.

    Another helpful thing to remember is that everything is falling apart. In other words, everything is already breaking, so just expect everything to be broken. All stuff (everything) is in constant motion/state of change. Atoms are always in motion, and these physical bodies are always in motion through the cosmos, all the while falling apart. Nothing stands still. Expect there to always be differences. (Heck, make a game of it. A little, Where’s Waldo/Spot the Difference, anyone?)

    Impermanence also helps with shock and surprise:

    Everyday a person goes to the closet to get a change of clothes. Opening the door, a clown springs out of the closet. How many days need to go by before the person begins to expect the clown? After a while, one gets to the point where the clown is unceremoniously pushed aside and ignored.
    Just expect there to always be a “clown” lurking and no problem. Because no condition is reliable, always look for impermanence, always be on the lookout for the surprise.




    Having taken the liberty of priming the pump with those thoughts, please share comments and ideas. What other strategies are out there for making practical use of/peace with impermanence?


    With gratitude and warm regards,
    Miles

  2. #2
    From the Suttas.....




    SN 22.45 Impermanence


    At Sāvatthī.

    “Mendicants, form is impermanent. What’s impermanent is suffering. What’s suffering is not-self. And what’s not-self should be truly seen with right understanding like this: ‘This is not mine, I am not this, this is not my self.’ Seeing truly with right understanding like this, the mind becomes dispassionate and freed from defilements by not grasping.

    Feeling is impermanent …

    Perception …

    Choices …

    Consciousness is impermanent. What’s impermanent is suffering. What’s suffering is not-self. And what’s not-self should be truly seen with right understanding like this: ‘This is not mine, I am not this, this is not my self.’ Seeing truly with right understanding like this, the mind becomes dispassionate and freed from defilements by not grasping.

    If a mendicant’s mind is dispassionate towards the form element, the feeling element, the perception element, the choices element, and the consciousness element, it’s freed from defilements by not grasping.

    Being free, it’s stable. Being stable, it’s content. Being content, they’re not anxious. Not being anxious, they personally become extinguished.

    They understand: ‘Rebirth is ended, the spiritual journey has been completed, what had to be done has been done, there is no return to any state of existence.’”

    https://suttacentral.net/sn22.45/en/sujato

    and a shorter one:



    SN 22. 137 Impermanence

    At Sāvatthī.

    “Mendicants, you should give up desire for what is impermanent.

    And what is impermanent? Form is impermanent; you should give up desire for it.

    Feeling …

    Perception …

    Choices …

    Consciousness is impermanent; you should give up desire for it.

    You should give up desire for what is impermanent.”


    https://suttacentral.net/sn22.137/en/sujato


  3. #3
    Technical Administrator woodscooter's Avatar
    Location
    London UK
    Posts
    1,823
    Miles, everybody in a Buddhist forum is already familiar with the principle of impermanence. We don't need it to be spelled out as if this is all new.

    The suttas give both the definition and the solution for understanding impermanence.

    Woodscooter.

Los Angeles Mexico City London Colombo Kuala Lumpur Sydney
Fri, 7:01 PM Fri, 9:01 PM Sat, 3:01 AM Sat, 7:31 AM Sat, 10:01 AM Sat, 12:01 PM