Monday, August 25, 2008


The Buddha listed impermanence (anicca) as the first of his Three Marks of Existence - characteristics that apply to everything in the natural order. The Buddha believed that we are free from the pain of clutching for permanence only if the acceptance of continual change is driven into our very marrow. Followers of the Buddha know well his advice:

Regard this phantom world
As a star at dawn, a bubble in a stream,
A flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
A flickering lamp - a phantom - and a dream.

The depth of the Buddha's wisdom is astounding. It is very difficult, at least for me, to understand how it is possible for a human being to achieve so much in his life. Yet, the Buddha's achievement is undeniable. His followers testified from their own experience that advance along his path enlarged their lives as well. Their worlds seemed to expand, and with each step they felt themselves more alive than they had been before. If increased freedom brings increased being, total freedom should be being itself.

A thousand questions remain, but the Buddha is silent.
Others abide our questions. Thou are free.
We ask and ask; thou smilest and art still.

And you know what the Buddha said on his deathbed?

All compounded things decay. Work out your own salvation with diligence.

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