The Core Teachings of Impermanence and How We Respond to Change
"Impermanent, subject to change, are component things. Strive on with heedfulness!" This was the final admonition of the Buddha Gotama to his disciples. (Piyadassi Thera) Siddhatta Gotama who is also known as “Buddha,” was the founder of Buddhism. “Buddha” is a general term for a person who has attained enlightenment. At the age of 35, Siddhatta Gotama had gained his enlightenment through meditation under a Bodhi tree. Through the years after being enlightened, Buddha had spent the rest of his life teaching. One of his teachings was about the Triple Gems. Buddhists believe they have to ‘take refuge’ in the Triple Gems. These triple gems include: the Buddha, the dharma, and the Sangha. These three gems are considered to be a path to enlightenment. Furthermore, “As they progress along the path to enlightenment, they seek to become more compassionate, more generous, more detached from desire and hatred, more focused mentally, more pure of mind, and more spiritually wise.” (Oxtoby, 377) In the next paragraph, I will be explaining the second gem which is Dharma.
The Second Gem of the Triple Gems is Dharma. “Dharma” which is also known as Dhamma in Pali, is a Sanskrit term that is referred to the teaching or truth concerning the ultimate nature of things. In addition, Dharma has three characteristics of existence, which are suffering, impermanence, and ‘no-soul’. These three marks of reality or existence were the dimensions of change that Buddha saw in the world. The first characteristic is suffering (Duhkha) which includes all aspects of the first noble truth. The First Noble Truth was the Noble Truth of Suffering, this had occurred at Buddha’s first sermon about suffering and how to overcome it by the Eightfold Path. The First Noble Truth was stated as: “No living being can escape suffering (duhkha). Birth sickness, senility, and death are all occasions of suffering whether physical or psychological.” (Oxtoby, 389) The second characteristic of existence is impermanence. Impermanence can also be referred as “anicca” in Pali and is a principle that nothing lasts forever. The last gem is known as ‘no-soul’ and it implies that the self does not exist. In the next few paragraphs, I will be discussing and illustrating about impermanence by how Buddhist develop an appropriate response to change, what it means to be free from delusions, and how the practice of mediation helps one deal with the inevitability of change. Also, I would be discussing how this worldview does fit with the findings of contemporary science, especially in physics and biology.
The Buddha taught that everything conditioned is impermanent and everything is in a process that is constantly changing. To be conditioned is to be dependent on or affected by something else, and Buddhism teaches that all phenomena, including beings, are conditioned. The doctrine of ‘dependent origination’ reflects on the understanding that...