“Impermanence in the teaching of the Buddha also means interbeing, non-self. Because things change every moment, nothing can remain the same in two consecutive moments.
There are no permanent entities; there is no permanent self. A flower is made only of non-flower elements. You are made of entirely non-you elements. That is the truth.
You are made of ancestors, air, water, education, sunshine, clouds, and so on. You are a formation. You are beautiful, but you are a formation. Every formation is impermanent.
A flower cannot be by itself alone, because it has no separate self. A flower can only inter-be with the sunshine, with the clouds, with the earth.
If you remove the element sunshine from the flower, the flower will collapse. If you remove the element cloud, meaning water, from the flower, the flower will collapse. So a flower is full of everything.
Everything in the Cosmos can be found in the flower: sunshine, clouds, minerals, earth, time, space, humans, everything.
Only one thing is lacking in the flower— that is a separate existence, a separate self. Now you understand what is meant by “non-self.”
Non-self does not mean non-existing; non-self means you don’t have a separate existence, like the flower. A flower is there, full of the whole cosmos, but not having a separate entity.
There is no such thing as permanent and separate. There’s nothing that can be permanent, that can be separate.
Everything is impermanent, everything has the nature of interbeing. Nothing can be by itself alone, everything has to inter-be with everything else.
The Buddha expressed that reality in very, very simple terms: “This is, because that is.” If you had asked about the Buddhist teaching on Genesis, about how the world has come to be, the Buddha would have said: “This is, because that is.”
That is the law of interbeing, the law of interdependent origination, the law of no self. “No self” does not mean non-existing. Everything is, in a wonderful way, but everything is a formation.
When you practice embracing the object of your perception, whether that is a flower, or a cloud, or your anger, or a person, you know that all of these are formations, and that all formations are impermanent.
But if you look more deeply, impermanence and interbeing open to you the dimension called Nirvana.
Nirvana is the nature of no-birth and no-death. How can nirvana go along with impermanence and non-self?
The answer is that it is exactly because things are impermanent and without a separate self that their nature is the nature of Nirvana. It means the nature of no-birth and no-death.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh ~
August 3, 1998 – Plum Village, France
Drawing by Christopher Chase
Each time the losses and deceptions of life teach us about impermanence, they bring us closer to the truth. When you fall from a great height, there is only one possible place to land: on the ground-the ground of truth. And if you have the understanding that comes from spiritual practice, then falling is in no way a disaster, but the discovery of an inner refuge.
Source: TOP 25 QUOTES BY SOGYAL RINPOCHE (of 112) | A-Z Quotes
“Taking impermanence truly to heart is to be slowly freed from the idea of grasping, from our flawed and destructive view of permanence, from the false passion for security on which we have built everything. Slowly it dawns on us that all the heartache we have been through from grasping at the ungraspable was, in the deepest sense, unnecessary.”
The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, page 34.
Source: Holding without Attachment : The Tibetan Blog Of Living And Dying
“Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).”
~ James Baraz ~
Source: (17) Tao & Zen
Source: The Wind of Impermanence | Great Middle Way
Will I die first, or will my neighbor?
Will it be today or tomorrow? We do not know.
Those we leave behind and those who go before us
are more numerous than the dewdrops
that rest briefly beneath the trees and on their leaf tips.
We may have radiant faces in the morning,
but in the evening be no more than white bones.
With the coming of the wind of impermanence,
both eyes are instantly closed,
and when a single breath is forever stilled,
the radiant face is drained of life,
and its vibrant glow is lost.
Although family and relatives may gather
and grieve broken-heartedly, it is to no avail.
As there is nothing else to be done,
the once-familiar form is taken to an outlying field,
and when it has vanished with the midnight smoke,
nothing is left but white bones.
This is indeed indescribably sad.