DHARMA IN EVERYDAY LIFE
- IMPERMANENCE IS PERMANENCE
By Nhat Quan
about Impermanence first. Many of you often hear the word
impermanent or life is impermanent, so what is impermanence?
What is the law of impermanence?
what the Buddha said:
that has formed in the world is subject to change, decay is
this idea, in the Buddhist Dictionary of Doan Trung Con, the
definition of Impermanence is:
- Not often,
not fixed in moderation.
for the whole words, it is:
sometimes yes, sometimes not, sometimes other times,
constantly changing. As soon as you see it, you will die;
when you are young, you will be old; when you are strong,
then you will be weak; when you are healthy, then you will
be sick. In the world, all conditioned dharmas are born,
die, change, and flow without the slightest bit of
stability, so they are called impermanent.
Impermanent means not permanent, not forever staying in a
certain state, always changing shape; going from the state
of formation to change and then disintegration... Buddhism
calls the stages of change of an object: Formation,
existence, destruction, and emptiness.
is a Buddhist term, anyone who is a Buddhist has heard it.
But in order to understand deeply, newcomers to Buddhism
must also be anxious to see, want to know to see, to know.
Impermanence is one of the Three Dharma Seals of the Buddha.
In common sense, Impermanence is the opposite of what is
normally happening. This happening, all developments of
things, phenomena as well as people change every moment.
To have a
clearer idea of impermanence, observe and reflect on your
body, mind and the situation you are living in, then you
will know. First of all:
- Body, from
birth with a body of 3 to 4lb, but over time, month and year
you grow, it is impermanent in the form of growth. And all
from humans to other living beings are also affected by
this, so to say impermanent is permanent.
- So are the
mind and circumstances
clarity in the Nirvana Sutra, volume 10, Manjushri
Bodhisattva told the Buddha that:
things in the world, there were before and no now, there
were and then they came back. Such things are all
Bodhisattva Precepts Ritual there is a sentence:
- Human life
is impermanent and changes faster than water flowing from
the top of the mountain to the foot of the mountain.
Although there is today, tomorrow it is difficult to keep.
the dictionary and the sutras mentioned above, the
phenomenon of impermanence is divided into two types:
- Moment of
impermanence: The word moment is only for a very short
period of time and is very subtle, so it is difficult to
see, in an instant through four generals of birth, stay,
change, and death;
impermanence: The type of impermanence that occurs and you
see it immediately, such as an earthquake or tsunami.
Buddhism often talks about impermanence is to remind you to
appreciate what you have, to understand the depth of the
wonderful Buddhist teachings about impermanence, but for the
purpose of showing the meaning of impermanence. positive.
This is completely different from the world's way of
thinking because when worldly people hear Buddhism talking
about impermanence, they think Buddhism is pessimistic.
once, Buddhism says impermanence is to help you realize the
truth of human life in the short term, to help you overcome
distractions, and be diligent on the path to enlightenment
and liberation. free from suffering. Help you soon realize
the fragility of human life and appreciate life for meaning.
Therefore, the doctrine of impermanence in Buddhism is not a
theory or treatise but says that impermanence is about
truth. This truth requires you to practice, contemplate and
enter realization, through which in the Buddhist scriptures
often images such as lightning, dew, and water bubbles are
used to express the characteristic of impermanence, right in
the place birth and death of all things. The Diamond Sutra
All like a
dream, like an illusion,
bubbles, like morning dew,
lightning flashing in the sky.
Lankavatara Sutra says:
- The things
that have formed are not real,
The truth is
so, but not everyone sees and accepts it as the cause of
suffering and consequences. So you have to practice to
easily enter and realize this truth. The truth of things,
although beautiful, is difficult for people to keep for
long. What should come will come, what should go will go, it
understand that in this life you will have to interact with
many people, and share many things with each other, but
there is only one thing that no one wants to touch, which is
impermanence. Author Dien Duy once wrote in Hoa Dien Nua Mau
- Regret is
normal, loneliness is also normal, and people are born to
savor suffering, born to see impermanence and change
life, there are people and things that are still the same a
second ago, but only the next second has changed. Life is
impermanent and permanent, you won't know what tomorrow will
bring. The world is impermanent, so don't rush to despise
people, don't rush to boast.
The story of
Han Tin's humiliation under the groin probably everyone
knows. At that time Han Tin was very poor, but everywhere he
went he carried a sword with him. When he was in trouble, he
had to beg. At that time, a butcher said to Han Tin:
- You have a
large and tall figure, and you like to wear a sword, but
your liver is very small. Do you dare to stab me with your
sword? If you don't dare, then crawl under my groin!
really crawled under the butcher's crotch. But things are
impermanent, many years later, Han Tin becomes a general,
but the butcher is still just a butcher. Impermanence is a
normal occurrence of life, you never know what will happen a
second later. But you have to believe that nothing is bad
forever, and nothing is good forever, this is impermanence.
person's life is up and down, it's undulating like waves,
it's hard to avoid, and adapting to it is the right
attitude. Su Tung Po (1037-1101), is one of the most
prominent great poets of Chinese history during the Northern
Song Dynasty. He was once falsely accused by Vuong An Thach,
forced to leave the capital, and exiled to live outside.
During the deportation, Su Tung Po again considered nothing,
he and his friends picked vegetables, caught fish, and
brewed wine. When imprisoned in Hoang Chau, he once wrote:
Giang flows around with beautiful fish,
bamboo full of the mountains gives off a fragrant aroma.
this place was sparsely populated, the town was desolate and
backward, he happily accepted, built a house, planted
vegetables, dig wells, plows fields, and enjoys the
landscape. Although he became increasingly frustrated with
his long exile, he fell in love with this remote land and
spent most of his time composing poetry and calligraphy.
After being exiled to Huizhou again, Su Tung Po writes:
- Eat three
hundred lychees every day,
to be the people of Linh Nam.
himself, that even though life was bad, there was good food
to eat. No matter how difficult life is, he does not care
about winning or losing, according to the circumstances to
In this life
of yours, impermanence is always your friend, when you
encounter difficulties that you do not know how to solve, it
may be difficult to accept at that time. But after a while,
you suddenly feel like everything is in order.
understanding that impermanence is permanent, and is the
normal state of life, you will feel comfortable. The truth
is, there is no life that does not change, and there is no
life that is the same every thousand years. The most obvious
thing you can see is a year with four seasons of change,
different weather, and life of mixed joys and sorrows,
everything is experienced. And impermanence often comes when
no one expects it, maybe when a flourishing career suddenly
collapses, sometimes when two people promise to be together,
reluctant to leave, sometimes a life partner companion
suddenly disappeared… Or maybe, being poor and struggling
suddenly luck came, and got out of poverty, and became a
goes according to nature, you can maintain inner peace and
quiet in this impermanent world. Do not cling to perfection,
because the moon has a full day and a waning day, everything
is transformed, fresh flowers will wilt, and water will
overflow. Therefore, to say that impermanence is permanent
is the normal state of life, it cannot be avoided, nor can
it be hidden. That is why the venerable ones often say:
- The Buddha
taught that all worldly dharmas are impermanent, but if all
are impermanent, then that very impermanence is already a
very permanent factor.
teaching is very reasonable, and so even the statement that
all is impermanent contains content or a permanent reality.
In fact, the problem is how you are contemplating the object
and understanding what is normal. For example, the same
question as above can also be applied to factors such as
suffering, affliction, etc. From beginningless beginning to
the present, sentient beings have always suffered, have
always been immersed in afflictions, and so on. suffering
and afflictions are also very common factors. But certainly,
when teaching about the impermanence of all things, the
Buddha did not mean to deny that suffering or affliction is
permanent in this sense.
permanent or impermanent is not the result of discriminating
from words, but it is a quality, a real state in life, and
each of you must feel and contact it yourself to be able to
do so cognitive ability. Within the interpretation of words,
you often rely on the elements of time and persistence to
say the permanence of an object. These factors can be
measured or estimated, but they are only approximate values.
So your perception of such a permanent quality is always in
the realm of relativity.
every day you cross the bridge, the bridge, and the river's
water is the same, but in fact, today's water is not
yesterday's water, in that short day, it is always changing.
changes in every day, every hour, but you do not notice to
the longer the duration of an object's existence, the more
difficult it becomes for you to perceive its impermanence.
Looking at a mountain, a river… you never think that they
will change or even disappear. But in fact, science has
recorded many cases where the world transforms deep lands
into hills, rivers change the flow, mountains sink deep into
these changes take place over such a long period of time in
your life, you are almost incapable of perceiving them.
However, no matter how difficult to discern, changes and
transformations of this kind are still only one aspect of
the meaning of impermanence taught by the Buddha. Moreover,
they are also considered gross impermanence, also known as
transient impermanence, meaning that they are easy to
recognize because they occur within the range that you can
observe and measure. There is also subtle impermanence or
momentary impermanence, which is much more difficult to
perceive. It is the impermanence that lies within your
thoughts. They continuously arise and pass away every brief
So are your
thoughts or feelings. They arise and pass away in very brief
moments, but their unbroken continuity makes it feel like a
continuous and steady stream of thoughts or feelings. That
makes you always mistakenly perceive them as solid,
It is only
when you have a pause, that is, taking some time to meditate
and reflect within yourself, that you will be able to
realize the fragmentary, fragile, continuous arising and
passing away of each thought or feeling. But what would such
true perception mean?
all, they help you to see the fragility, instability, and
constantly changing and perishing nature of all things as
well as even the perceived notions of such things in your
mind. This fragility and constant change is the true meaning
of impermanence. And when you understand it like that, you
will no longer doubt that impermanence is a very permanent
factor. Simply because you can clearly see that the
impermanence itself is fragile and constantly changing from
moment to moment, they don't have anything solid or stable
to be considered permanent. Similarly, the suffering and
afflictions that all sentient beings are immersed in since
beginningless time are also not permanent, for they are also
fragile and constantly changing, with nothing solid or
steadfast. Of course, the succession of impermanent factors
cannot create a permanent element, but it goes on repeating
for all individuals, for all situations. Understanding that,
you will see that impermanence is permanent.
the impermanent nature of things also helps you to free
yourself from many attachments in life in a different sense.
You are greedy, clinging to one or more objects in your life
simply because you see them as solid entities of lasting
value. Whether it is a big house, a new car, or the fame of
a revered person… all these things are perceived by you as
objects that are and will last with lasting value, therefore
you think they will be able to bring you satisfaction,
But really, whether these things bring you happiness or not,
is not discussed, but the process of trying to get them, or
maintain them after having them is always a process with no
because the fragility, and the pseudo-combination of those
things, is not what you want, but it always happens. Any
material achievement you get after much effort, eventually,
changes perish. Due to the wrong perception of not seeing
the impermanent nature covering them, you keep falling into
suffering and unsatisfactory because reality always goes
against your wishes.
truly realize the impermanence of all things, you will have
a more correct attitude and inclination to behave. The
attachment will not be able to arise as strongly as before,
as well as regret and pain of loss will no longer have the
motivation to arise. You can accept the realities that
happen to you as they really are as impermanent, fragile,
You see that from birth to death, your body has changed
countless times, but it does not change one thing for
another, just like the previous one. One cell dies, another
takes its place, and the following cells are younger than
the former... And just like that, your body goes from young
to old, from life to death!
The Buddha, when he was still a prince, lamented with
Princess Da Du in the palace of joy, thinking of the
impermanence of the human body... We will then be old, weak,
and ugly. Time will cover our heads with silver ash. Oh!
your clear and blue eyes will be opaque! Your red lips will
eventually fade!... I hear in me, in you, and in everyone,
every day breaking, under the ravages of time, all the
precious things in life. .. we hold desperately, the
treasures within us, like holding a shadow, like grasping a
Be a wise
man! A noble and young man, next to a gentle wife serving
early in the morning, but still wise enough to see the law
of impermanence destroys what is considered beautiful in
human life! Those poignant words, not only have awakened
Princess Da Du but also awakened those who are still
infatuated with the temporary life, birth, old age, illness,
and death, embodying the law of impermanence. If you have a
body, you will have to bear the burden of birth, old age,
sickness, and death, and cannot last forever.
they know that the body is impermanent, many people because
they want to nourish and serve the body, cause so many
terrible crimes! Because they want to eat and nourish
themselves, many people have to kill weak animals and
execute innocent animals before dying in a horrible way.
As I said,
impermanence is a very real quality, and if you really have
the practice to reflect on it, at some point you will
realize impermanence, not through other reasons argument, or
analysis, but a perception like when you feel the heat of
the noonday sun or feel the coolness in a light breeze or
the bitter cold on a winter night. All descriptions will no
longer make sense because they are limited and never fully
tell about reality. Only with the perception that is no
longer through descriptive words can you truly understand
the nature of impermanence as permanence. You from the time
your parents were born, then grow up, grow up, and then
start getting old, get sick and finally die. That process of
birth, standing, dissolution, and cessation are impermanent,
taking place in every moment. You grow up day by day also
means you die day by day, which means you are being changed
by impermanence. Because you of today were not you of
yesterday. Buddhism calls this change, not one, not another
looking down at the river, you see the river has not
changed. The river is still the same, but if you reflect,
you will see that all the water in the river a moment ago is
gone, but has been replaced with a different amount of
water, the water of the river is different. So is your body.
contemplate your body in the same way, not to see this body
as impermanent and unstable so that you neglect or destroy
it. Such understanding is a misunderstanding of the doctrine
of impermanence. You clinging to this body is often still a
wrong view, and this body clinging to its cessation is also
a wrong view. The Buddha taught you to reflect on the body
as impermanent, it is easy to lose so that you don't cling,
don't get attached to take on suffering. On the contrary,
you must use this fragile body that is difficult to find for
the purpose of seeking liberation, nor because of this
temporary body that creates unwholesome karma, causing
long-term suffering in the future. You must use this body
like using a boat, called the boat of dharmakaya, to swim
across the river of birth and death, by doing meaningful
deeds, benefiting yourself and others, leading to peace and
Buddha's teaching, you see that not only painful feelings
are suffering, but even pleasant feelings are impermanent,
so they are also suffering, and all feelings are suffering.
However, this teaching of the Buddha causes confusion when
thinking one way. Because suffering or not depends on human
perception. The fact that dhammas are impermanent, which is
said to be permanent and unchanging, is the cause of
suffering. In fact, things and phenomena are always changing
that you think are permanent. You want it to stay the same,
like wanting to stay young forever and many other desires.
It is this wrong perception and desire that gives rise to
suffering. You suffer not because all species, all things
are impermanent change, decay, but you suffer because you
are subjectively attached to the things you love and craving
does not last long with you.
Buddhism, cultivation is turning bad karma into good. That
is a valuable lesson from impermanence. Practicing, and
contemplating impermanence is permanent, can help you with a
few points as follows:
clearly that impermanence is permanent, you realize that
what you have in the present moment is precious. You should
cherish care and nurture.
- When you
see that the current situation is not satisfactory, you are
not discouraged. All is impermanent is permanent, if you
know how to transform, tomorrow the situation will change.
impermanence is the permanence of all things, you can
eliminate craving and keep your mind calm in the face of
unexpected changes in circumstances. Having peace of mind,
not looking for temporary pleasures, and seeking true,
Contemplation on impermanence is the permanence of all
things that has the function of eliminating delusion. You
don't dislike everything but touch and deal with everything
with wisdom, that is, without attachment and attachment.
The life of
impermanence is permanent, but not short-lived, but
continuous. Thoughts, words, and actions today will
determine the form of life of each person in the future.
In short, in
the view of Buddhism, human life is impermanent is
permanent. Because of these properties, everything is always
capable of transformation, changing for the better or for
the worse. The good is not necessarily good forever, the
not-so-good, has the opportunity to improve to become good.
The problem depends on your conception of life and life
before the reality of life's suffering, you always look for
yourself happiness, a way of life for yourself. But really,
very few people have found the cause of suffering and the
way leading to the cessation of suffering. Therefore, the
aspiration to be free from all suffering, to achieve peace
and happiness, and to be free in the midst of the eternal
stream of birth and death is the constant desire of the
world. Because the goal of life is happiness right here, and
the value of happiness is the highest of all the values
of life. Understanding people and the world is
understanding the path to true happiness. Buddhist teachings
always have real value, all for the liberation of all
sentient beings, a peaceful Nirvana.
always in motion, constantly changing, but the truth is
final and immutable. Therefore, contemplating in order to
have a correct perception, and have a true view of the
world, life in this world is imperfect, always longing,
being a slave to the craving, birth, old age, illness, and
death are a process the law of creation, of human life from
which to achieve enlightenment and liberation as Bhikkhu
attainment of Nirvana comes with the opening of insight and
brings about absolute peace, pure happiness, and tranquility
of all mental formations. Nirvana is the cessation of all
desires. It is also an island of peace amid the raging
currents of old age, sickness, and death.
What is more
true than that, the Buddha himself realized that old age was
hidden in youth, the germ of disease was eating away at
health and death was creeping into every corner of life.
With such wisdom and awareness of people, the Buddha and his
disciples are always at ease and free in the midst of the
changing world. And you, are wandering travelers. Perhaps
you should also stop and return to your inner world because
real happiness is here and now.
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