Wednesday, February 24, 2010

impermanence...


In one of my more difficult moments, my sistren sent me a text with this passage regarding the Buddhist concept of impermanence. I had to read and re-read it a few times but somehow, it all made sense. Although it has brought me much needed enlightenment, there are others who continue to struggle with accepting change on a daily basis. I share this passage in hopes that it will enlighten someone reading it and ease them into the transition of life.

Impermanence
(by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh)

Nothing remains the same for two consecutive moments. Heraclitus said we can never bathe twice in the same river. Confucius, while looking at a stream, said, "It is always flowing, day and night." The Buddha implored us not just to talk about impermanence, but to use it as an instrument to help us penetrate deeply into reality and obtain liberating insight. We may be tempted to say that because things are impermanent, there is suffering. But the Buddha encouraged us to look again. Without impermanence, life is not possible. How can we transform our suffering if things are not impermanent? How can our daughter grow up into a beautiful young lady? How can the situation in the world improve? We need impermanence for social justice and for hope.

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.

*(this post is an edited reprint because today calls for it).

29 comments:

Lyn said...

So very true. I especially like "Impermanence is an instrument for our liberation." If we can realize and embrace this, we could lose the fear. Perfect post for me today. You are becoming a necessary fix. Peace.

lakeviewer said...

We can't wrap our heads around this concept too easily.

Christine--RHP said...

Not one thing in the universe is static, yet when we strive to hold onto something we are going against the most basic natural law, yet it seems the most natural thing to do...what a dilemma!
oh, but our hearts attach themselves so completely and most often in their breaking apart do we find that they become so much bigger. Painful, nonetheless.
sending you a peaceful hug.

Kamana said...

i really liked this post. speaks to me a lot today.

thanks so much for my gift of jewel surpise goodies, my dear friend!!!

Gayle said...

Thank you for these words that are so full of wisdom. I'm going to print this out. Sending positive thoughts and hugs your way.

amelia said...

Hey friend, wow, very thoughtful post- I am going to need to read this a few times to fully get my head around these concepts. I love this!
I hope you are doing well, I have missed making my blog rounds!

Tracy said...

"If you suffer, it is not because things are impermanent. It is because you believe things are permanent."--this is one of the main precepts of Buddhism. When I first began Buddhist studies, this concept really spoke to me. Really taking in the meaning helped me to understand the nature of suffering and how we cling to things, even small things in daily life. We believe things will be the same, day after day. But life is not static. Things change, each day in tiny ways is different than the one before. Loss of a loved on is a huge challenge for the practice of accepting impermanence--it is the very hardest challenge. When we ease our grip, loosen the grasp, contentment can be found even in moments of great hardship. The heart is designed to be free--we can liberate ourselves. :o) Thank you for sharing this special post again, Se'Lah. Thinking of you and sending ((LOVE & HUGS))

rayfamily said...

This really touches me. What a thought to from your mind around. Thank you for posting!

One Womans Thoughts said...

Thank you for such a thoughtful post. It is one that I have copied to remind myself again at a later time the importance of living in the moment and how change is the way of nature and life.

Wanda said...

Well worth the reprint. Thank you.

daily mom said...

wow! thank you for posting such wise words.

flwrjane said...

Though I believe everything in the Universe is exactly as it should be right this moment, doesn't mean I like it. Feeling restless, irritable and discontent today, so I need this message. This too shall pass. Thank you.

Kim Mailhot said...

"Impermanence is good news." - so simple a concept on one hand and yet a whole new way of thinking, or being for me. Just today I was asking myself that question. What do I do with the "bad" stuff, the suffering. If I could begin to think of it too as impermanent, perhaps the suffering would be less...
In this moment, all is good.
One Big Love to you, wise and wonderful Se'lah

Kim Living Life said...

oh Se'Lah I hope you are all ok again much love and big hugs to you and your husband. Thinking of you always at this time.

sunnymama said...

Very inspiring quote.

Anali said...

These are very soothing words and concepts. As I wind down tonight, these are some nice things to contemplate. Thanks for sharing and a good night to you Se'Lah! ; )

SE'LAH... said...

Your thoughts, well wishes, prayers, hugs and love are much appreciated.

one love.

PinkInklings said...

May all the beauty, peace and grace you have shared with us come back to you and fill you up.

Chris said...

What a beautiful photo of this woman's hands! It speaks volumes of a long life, a survivor, someone who takes life in her stride.

Kass said...

This was a very beautiful post for me to read right now. Thank you.

Christina said...

thinking of you all.
xo

Yiota said...

I wish I had thought more about this concept before losing my mum. Now I try to remember that nothing stays the same whether good or bad: this helps me to enjoy every single second of happiness before it's gone and be hopeful for a change for the better when things get tough.
Beautiful post!

Courtney at Scattering Lupines said...

These words:

"If you suffer, it is not because things are impermanent. It is because you believe things are permanent."

And these:
"Impermanence is good news."

were wonderfully enlightening to read!

Cam said...

Thinking of you, and marinating in these words...my sister~friend, you are loved.

vchelle said...

This photo is soooo delicate. Her hands are just as delicate as the flowers... It's beautiful! So sorry about Grandma but she is really singing the song of peace now!

elizabeth said...

Sending you all my love. Beautiful hands. Beautiful memory.

julochka said...

that is really a beautiful photo of your grandmother's hands. and beautiful sentiments. she had such a long and full life, impermanent as it may be. she lives on in all your hearts.

xox,
/julie

Tracey said...

I'm gonna have to re-read this a couple of times. Such delicious food for thought. Thank you, Se'Lah; your writings get me thru the days :-)

Chadwick said...

This is fantastic!