Transience

Seems to me that blogs are a rather good – albeit two-dimensional – model of existence; each post represents a momentary life experience, characterised by anicca (impermanence), dukkha (unease), anatta (not-self)…

Here are some more thoughts on transient experiences –

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Seems to me that blogs are a rather good – albeit two-dimensional – model of existence; each post represents a momentary life experience, characterised by anicca (impermanence), dukkha (unease), anatta (not-self)…

Here are some more thoughts on transient experiences –

 

“Suppose yourself gazing on a gorgeous sunset. The whole western heavens are glowing with roseate hues; but you are aware that within half an hour all these glorious tints will have faded away into a dull ashen gray. You see them even now melting away before your eyes, although your eyes cannot place before you the conclusion which your reason draws. And what conclusion is that? That conclusion is that you never, even for the shortest time that can be named or conceived, see any abiding color, any color which truly is. Within the millionth part of a second the whole glory of the painted heavens has undergone an incalculable series of mutations. One shade is supplanted by another with a rapidity which sets all measurements at defiance, but because the process is one to which no measurements apply,… reason refuses to lay an arrestment on any period of the passing scene, or to declare that it is, because in the very act of being it is not; it has given place to something else. It is a series of fleeting colors, no one of which is, because each of them continually vanishes in another.”

          — Ferrier’s Lectures and Remains Vol. I, p. 119. [1]

Bolton Abbey (19-10-12) sml

‘Transience’

 

“The decisively characteristic thing about this world is its transience. In this sense, centuries have no advantage over the present moment. Thus the continuity of transience cannot give any consolation; the fact that life blossoms among ruins proves not so much the tenacity of life as that of death.”

          — Franz Kafka [2]

“Change or impermanence is the essential characteristic of all phenomenal existence. We cannot say of anything, animate or inanimate, organic or inorganic, “this is lasting”; for even while we are saying this, it would be undergoing change. All is fleeting; the beauty of flowers, the bird’s melody, the bee’s hum, and a sunset’s glory.”

          — Piyadassi Thera [3]

“So what do you do with experiences that are inconstant and stressful? You could treat them as worthless and throw them away, but that would be wasteful. After all, you went to the trouble to fabricate them in the first place; and, as it turns out, the only way you can reach the goal is by utilizing experiences of just this sort. So you can learn how to use them as means to the goal; and the role they can play in serving that purpose is determined by the type of activity that went into producing them: the type that produces a pleasure conducive to the goal, or the type that doesn’t. Those that do, the Buddha labeled the “path.” These activities include acts of generosity, acts of virtue, and the practice of mental absorption, or concentration. Even though they fall under the Three Characteristics, these activities produce a sense of pleasure relatively stable and secure, more deeply gratifying and nourishing than the act of producing and consuming ordinary sensual pleasures. So if you’re aiming at happiness within the cycles of change, you should look to generosity, virtue, and mental absorption to produce that happiness. But if you’d rather aim for a happiness going beyond change, these same activities can still help you by fostering the clarity of mind needed for Awakening. Either way, they’re worth mastering as skills. They’re your basic set of tools, so you want to keep them in good shape and ready to hand.”

          — Thanissaro Bhikkhu [4]

Indeed, bhikkhus, I declare to you: All formations are subject to dissolution; attain perfection through diligence.

          — The Buddha (His last words) [5]

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Notes

[1] Quoted in ‘The Three Basic Facts of Existence: I. Impermanence (Anicca)’, with a preface by Nyanaponika Thera’.
Access to Insight: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/various/wheel186.html

[2] Quoted in ‘The Three Basic Facts of Existence…’, ibid.

[3] Piyadassi Thera, ‘The Fact of Impermanance’ – in ‘The Three Basic Facts of Existence…’, ibid.

[4] Thanissaro Bhikkhu, ‘All About Change’. Access to Insight:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/change.html .

[5] Quoted in ‘The Three Basic Facts of Existence…’, ibid.

 

 



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