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Why things are impermanent - Dhamma Wheel

Why things are impermanent

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
dhammapal
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Why things are impermanent

Postby dhammapal » Thu May 19, 2011 2:53 am

I'm thinking that things are impermanent because there is an element of volition in every sense-experience and when one tries to possess the object that volition is no longer there nor is the experience. What do you think?

Thanks / dhammapal.






echalon
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Re: Why things are impermanent

Postby echalon » Thu May 19, 2011 2:57 am


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beeblebrox
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Re: Why things are impermanent

Postby beeblebrox » Thu May 19, 2011 3:36 am


alan
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Re: Why things are impermanent

Postby alan » Thu May 19, 2011 3:55 am

Volition comes in later on the chain. As for impermanence,
It's the basic nature of our experience. Read this:
and then read this[

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Re: Why things are impermanent

Postby Goofaholix » Thu May 19, 2011 5:40 am


dhammapal
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Re: Why things are impermanent

Postby dhammapal » Thu May 19, 2011 7:41 am







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Ron-The-Elder
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Re: Why things are impermanent

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Thu May 19, 2011 8:20 am

According to this story, at one time, everything was thought by people to be permanent. They liked things just as they were. The only thing which seemed to change was time, over which no one seemed to have control.

Then, something new happened. Something changed: a clockmaker was born. There had never been such a being before, because clocks hadn't been invented yet. People just used the passing of the sun overhead to keep track of time, which seemed to always keep changing.

When the clockmaker grew from a baby into a young man, he decided one day that he needed a clock to measure time, so that he could keep track of time as it passed. Therefore, the clockmaker invented, designed, fabricated, and assembled a clock to measure passing time, which it did well for years and years and years. People were quite pleased with it, and would look into the clockmaker's window several times per day to keep track of the passing of time, and would occasionally turn to the sun, just to compare clock time with solar time.

As time continued to pass, time wearing on, so to speak, the lubrication placed upon the gears within the clocks gear case began to stiffen, and then hardened and lost its lubricity. The gears of the clock began to wear down as one gear face wore upon the other as the clock measured time passing. So well made by the clock maker, the clockworks moved on measuring time in this deteriorating state for years and years and years, until eventually, due to a stroke, the clockmaker lost vision in one eye, and then later, due to another stroke, lost vision in the other. Soon thereafter, the clockmaker suffered a heart attack and died. His dead body lie there on his workshop floor and the vermin came to eat his flesh and were quite happy with the feast that his body provided. Ironically, just one week thereafter, a tip of but one tooth in the clock's gear casement broke off, fell, and lodged in the main gear of the gear train, and the clock main-spring wasn't strong enough to overcome the force of the blockage.

Over time, no longer able to be measured by the clockmaker's handiwork, the vermin had completely stripped his flesh and devoured his organs, so that all that was left were his bones.

One night a cold front move through the town where the clockmaker lived and a storm arose. The wind blew furiously blowing open the rear entrance to his workhouse. In through the door came a wandering and hungry pack of dogs, who were grateful to find fresh bones still full of marrow. They began to chew and gnaw until little was left of even the clock makers bones.

With the door open, and the storm passed, sand and moisture in the air blew into the room bringing suitable conditions for mold and mildew. As they grew upon every surface within the workshop the chairs, tables, even the walls began to corrode and weaken.

Fasteners used by the clockmaker began to rust. The rust over the weeks, months, and years broke free from the fasteners and formed reddish-brown dust, which eventually was blown away when a second storm came.

After years and years the clockmaker's workshop building fell to the ground, now just a jumble of rubble and debris.

Still more immeasurable periods of time passed: years, decades, ages, eons, kalpas, .......

The sun, the local star near where the clockmaker had lived, grew into a red giant, heated up the atmosphere of The Earth driving it away into space; the oceans boiled; the planet boiled; the planet was absorbed by the star; the star collapsed upon itself; the universe ceased to expand; the universe collapsed upon itself forming a tiny dense ball of all the mass and energy which had once been the universe; then there was an explosion!

Many kalpas passed, until another sun, planets, ......and eventually another clockmaker was born, and he decided to make a clock to measure the passing of time.......

Nothing seemed to change until.......
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

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beeblebrox
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Re: Why things are impermanent

Postby beeblebrox » Thu May 19, 2011 6:11 pm


Parth
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Re: Why things are impermanent

Postby Parth » Thu May 19, 2011 6:30 pm

Well lets say it as the things we have experienced are impermanent and 'that is how it is' but there is something which is permanent unconditiond unborn. If it were not so then release from conditioned would not have been possible.

Regards

Parth

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tiltbillings
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Re: Why things are impermanent

Postby tiltbillings » Thu May 19, 2011 6:33 pm


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beeblebrox
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Re: Why things are impermanent

Postby beeblebrox » Thu May 19, 2011 6:46 pm


Parth
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Re: Why things are impermanent

Postby Parth » Sat May 21, 2011 7:35 am

I guess the exact quote is

“There is, Oh Monks, a not-born, a not-become, a not-made, a not-compounded. Monks, if that unborn, not-become, not-made, not-compounded were not, there would be no escape from this here that is born, become, made and compounded.” - Buddha

Metta

Parth

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icyteru
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Re: Why things are impermanent

Postby icyteru » Sun May 22, 2011 2:04 am

impermanent means in a constant state of flux.

so the thing now and the thing 1 second after is different.

proof of this is microscope. you can see that even solid stuff is actually in a constant state of flux.
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Re: Why things are impermanent

Postby Parth » Sun May 22, 2011 4:05 am


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mikenz66
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Re: Why things are impermanent

Postby mikenz66 » Sun May 22, 2011 4:28 am

As I think Parth is pointing to, I don't think that it's useful to think of anicca in just a simple "mechanical" way, which the translation "impermanence" can encourage. Some teachers like to use the translation "unreliable", which is also not perfect, but perhaps gets more at why it's so intimately connected to dukkha and anatta.

An example of the difference in emphasis I heard in some Dhamma talk or other used the example of a car. One knows the car is impermanent in the sense that it isn't going to last forever. But that is not of practical day-to-day concern. One doesn't (usually) think "Oh, my car will need replacing in 10 years time, how terrible". What really gets you annoyed (and spurs you into action) is when you car is unreliable, and you miss a meeting because it wouldn't start. In terms of Buddhist practice, it's in seeing that unreliability of your mind-body complex where the insights arise. One can reason that: "I'll be dead in 30 years", but that's a long way off. But seeing the inherent unreliability: "Oops, my mind just switched from joy to anger in a nanosecond, what happened?" is, I think, more relevant to what the Buddha was getting at. This mind-body is unreliable, unsatisfactory, and not under "anyones" control...

:anjali:
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daverupa
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Re: Why things are impermanent

Postby daverupa » Sun May 22, 2011 5:34 pm


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Ron-The-Elder
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Re: Why things are impermanent

Postby Ron-The-Elder » Sat Sep 24, 2011 2:02 pm

Consider the following current view of scientific theory regarding impermanence:

Entropy is the root cause of impermanence. It is the measure of orderliness and disorderliness. The universe is decaying due to entropy and ultimately will end up a sea of very, very, very.....^(infinity)...low energy photons. Time itself will fade into non-existence. This is not nihilism, but the final state of our current universe.

resources:

Part 1: http://www.ted.com/talks/sean_carroll_o ... _time.html

Part 2: http://www.ted.com/talks/sean_carroll_o ... art_2.html
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

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Alex123
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Re: Why things are impermanent

Postby Alex123 » Sat Sep 24, 2011 3:44 pm

"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

Cilla
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Re: Why things are impermanent

Postby Cilla » Fri Sep 30, 2011 11:50 am

I haven't read this whole thread but there seems to me to be a tendency with buddhism to make things sound overly complicated. I guess it happens because of the nature of the texts people are reading ie the original texts. People should try to get out of the habit of using the original turns of phrase when conversing and trying to understand and try instead to put things into everyday language then you wouldn't have this strange post at all. The OP would understand what impermanence is.

As the person in post #2 said, impermanence is just a natural phenomenon. There is nothing terribly complicated about impermanence in the way the buddha used it.

The importance of this concept in buddhism as i understand is at least two fold.

One is that an awareness of impermanence counteracts the dogma that existed before buddhism ie that people had souls and that this was a permanent unchanging thing and lived forever in one body or another.

The other important element as i see it and one which i think may be more important is that an understanding of impermanence of all things helps us to let go. We forget (normally) that our families may suddenly be taken away from us. Ditto our health. Ditto our belongings. Ditto everything that means anything to us. Losing things suddenly is one of the causes of suffering. The buddha was trying to get people used to the idea of losing their loved ones and loved things and loved opinions. He was trying to teach us not to cling to things.

Emphasising the concept of impermanence is a very useful thing. But its also very basic to our lives. There is no need to complicate it. Most of what the buddha said as far as i can tell is easily understandable. Its the texts that are difficult to understand. And that's because of the way they were arrived at in the first place and because of the times when few people could read and write and all those sorts of aspects.

As we are educated to a certain level at least. It just remains for us to try to deduce the sense in what the buddha taught. There are books that do this. The writers of these books have studied the canon and read a lot of what there has been written so they have a pretty good idea of what the buddha meant and they then are able to simplify the whole teachings for us in our own language. IT is a good idea for people new to buddhism to read these books first before starting to read the original texts. If you already have a basic and decent grasp of buddhist concepts when you come to studying the original texts it will be easier for you to understand and to not get bogged down in theses otherwise quite simple topics.

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Beneath the Wheel
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Re: Why things are impermanent

Postby Beneath the Wheel » Fri Sep 30, 2011 3:32 pm



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