Thread: Impermanence

  1. #1

    Impermanence

    Today I was thinking about impermanence and looking at Sutta SN22.97:



    97 A Fingernail


    At Sāvatthī.

    Seated to one side, that mendicant said to the Buddha:

    “Sir, is there any form at all that’s permanent, everlasting, eternal, imperishable, and will last forever and ever? Is there any feeling … perception … choices … consciousness at all that’s permanent, everlasting, eternal, imperishable, and will last forever and ever?”

    “Mendicant, there is no form at all that’s permanent, everlasting, eternal, imperishable, and will last forever and ever. There’s no feeling … perception … choices … consciousness at all that’s permanent, everlasting, eternal, imperishable, and will last forever and ever.”

    Then the Buddha, picking up a little bit of dirt under his fingernail, addressed that mendicant:

    “There’s not even this much of any form that’s permanent, everlasting, eternal, imperishable, and will last forever and ever. If there were, this living of the spiritual life for the complete ending of suffering would not be found. But since there isn’t, this living of the spiritual life for the complete ending of suffering is found.

    There’s not even this much of any feeling …

    perception …

    choices …

    consciousness that’s permanent, everlasting, eternal, imperishable, and will last forever and ever. If there were, this living of the spiritual life for the complete ending of suffering would not be found. But since there isn’t, this living of the spiritual life for the complete ending of suffering is found.

    What do you think, mendicant? Is form permanent or impermanent?”

    “Impermanent, sir.”

    “Is feeling … perception … choices … consciousness permanent or impermanent?”

    “Impermanent, sir.” …

    “So you should truly see … Seeing this … They understand: ‘… there is no return to any state of existence.’”


    https://suttacentral.net/sn22.97/en/...e&script=latin


    Any comments?

  2. #2
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    Everything is impermanent, everything changes. One of the interesting observations backed by science. The universe starts and ends, the solar system starts and ends, we start and end. On the other hand it is one of the most difficult ideas to accept at more than an intellectual level as our survival as a species has relied on us looking for patterns which inform our choices. What seems to be a logical, almost commonsense observation by the Buddha is really a quite radical idea overturning everything most people think of as reality.

    Not only does the idea overturn our assumtions about things, but in turn leaves us with nothing to hold on to, in a way that many have seen as nihilistic. But of course the Buddha meant that nihilism as a thing is impermanent too, having no permanent existence. The Buddha saw attachment to things and ideas as the source of suffering, so if there is nothing to attach to, there can be no suffering. As in the heart Sutra, we go beyond every 'thing' and get to live in pranja wisdom.

    It is the big 'leap of faith' in the sense of letting go, or taking the next step when there isn't anything to step on to. Like taking your foot of the bottom of the pool when first learning to swim, or riding a bike without stabilisers, or your first abseil when you lean backwards, trusting the rope. Following the Buddha's path can be far worse. To get there you have to go through the cold sweat, as if you were going to die on the mat, and who wants to do that?

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