Why do we need to contemplate impermanence? The fact that things change does not mean we lose something. Rather, it is a sign that we have new opportunities and new options. We meditate on impermanence in order to see that the change that takes place moment to moment represents moment after moment of opportunity. The opportunities available to us are inexhaustible and limitless, and are arising continuously. We meditate on impermanence so that we can make full use of these opportunities and make good choices.
– 17th Karmapa
Nurturing Compassion: Teachings from the First Visit to Europe
We usually appreciate only half of the cycle of impermanence. We can accept birth but not death, accept gain but not loss, or the end of exams but not the beginning. True liberation comes from appreciating the whole cycle and not grasping onto those things that we find agreeable. By remembering the changeability and impermanence of causes and conditions, both positive and negative, we can use them to our advantage. Wealth, health, peace, and fame are just as temporary as their opposites.
– Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche
from the book “What Makes You Not a Buddhist”
ISBN: 978-1590305706 – http://amzn.to/19Myf5j
Therefore, the very impermanency of grass and tree, thicket and forest is the Buddha nature. The very impermanency of men and things, body and mind, is the Buddha nature. Nature and lands, mountains and rivers, are impermanent because they are the Buddha nature. Supreme and complete enlightenment, because it is impermanent, is the Buddha nature.
– Dogen Zenji
quoted in the book “Zen Buddhism: A History – Japan”
ISBN: 978-0941532907 – http://amzn.to/1Fde4cb
Young people think their lives will last a long time; old people think life will end soon. But we can’t assume these things. Our life comes with a built-in expiration date. There are many strong and healthy people who die young, while many of the old and sick and feeble live on and on. Not knowing when we’ll die, we need to develop an appreciation for and acceptance of what we have, while we have it, rather than continuing to find fault with our experience and seeking, incessantly, to fulfill our
If we find ourselves worrying whether our nose is too big or too small, we should think, “What if I had no head – now that would be a problem!” As long as we have life, we should rejoice. If everything doesn’t go exactly as we’d like, we can accept it. If we contemplate impermanence deeply, patience and compassion will arise. We will hold less to the apparent truth of our experience, and the mind will become more flexible. Realizing that one day this body will be buried or burned, we will rejoice in every moment we have rather than make ourselves or others unhappy.
– Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche
from the book “Gates to Buddhist Practice: Essential Teachings of a Tibetan Master”
ISBN: 978-1881847311 – http://amzn.to/2eEFsO0
If you suffer, it is not because things are impermanent. It is because you believe things are permanent. When a flower dies, you don’t suffer much, because you understand that flowers are impermanent. But you cannot accept the impermanence of your beloved one, and you suffer deeply when she passes away.
If you look deeply into impermanence, you will do your best to make her happy right now. Aware of impermanence, you become positive, loving and wise. Impermanence is good news. Without impermanence, nothing would be possible. With impermanence, every door is open for change. Impermanence is an instrument for our liberation.”Thich Nhat Hanh
You suffer not because things are impermanent. You suffer because things are impermanent and you don’t know that they are impermanent. This is very important. Without impermanence, nothing can be possible. Don’t complain about impermanence. If things were not impermanent, how could a grain of corn become a corn plant? How could your child grow up? Impermanence is the ground of life.
Remind yourself, “I have passed through many storms. Every storm has to pass, there is no storm that will stay there forever. Everything is impermanent. The storm is only a storm. We are not only a storm. We can find safety in the storm. We will not let the storm create harm in us.” When you see it like that, when you remember it like that, you already begin to be your own boss, and you’re no longer the victim of an emotional storm.
– THICH NHAT HANH