The Three Characteristics of Existence

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

The Three Characteristics of Existence

Postby yawares » Mon Sep 10, 2012 12:01 pm

Dear Members,

Today I would like to share this interesting topic from David's book with you all.
:thumbsup:

**********
The Three Characteristics of Existence and the Five Aggregates
[By Dr.David N. Snyder]


Suffering, Impermanence, and No-Self

The three characteristics of existence according to the Buddha are, suffering, impermanence and
no-self.
These three characteristics are best described by the principles of the natural sciences. In
meditation there is an experiential understanding of these three characteristics. Before there has
been an experiential insight, we can see the logic of these concepts using the natural sciences.
Perhaps no one on this world would deny the existence of suffering. Nobody has lived who has
not experienced some suffering in their life. In fact most people experience suffering quite often.
Suffering has to do with our resistance to pain. This pain can be physical or emotional.
Resistance to pain can manifest itself in anger, jealousy, stubbornness, crying, depression, or just
plain outright meanness. In all cases, there is considerable amount of pain and suffering to the
person generating these feelings. Even though the anger might be directed toward someone else,
the pain and suffering is most felt on the perpetrator of the ―crime.


In a movie spoof of the Rambo military films, there is a scene where Rambo‘s commanding
officer, the colonel, is being tortured by his Soviet captors. They continually harass him
with electric shocks and punches. The colonel will not tell the captors any intelligence. They
continue to torture him. Finally, they ask the colonel how he is able to endure so much abuse
and pain. The colonel responds, ―I have been married . . . twice. At this answer, the captors
are in complete understanding.


We often experience so much pain and suffering with our loved ones because there is so much
emotion and attachment tied to these people. We do not need to ―let go of our loved ones by
leaving them or ignoring them, either. People who are alone with no loved ones around also
sometimes suffer, from loneliness. Even monastic clergy members sometimes suffer from
wondering what might have been, if they had only got married instead of ordaining. People look
to the other side no matter what the situation and wonder. The best method for dealing with
relationships is to count your blessings and not place unreasonable expectations on yourself and
others. Healthy relationships start with Right Speech and Right Action. We must avoid
degrading, belittling, and critical speech.


Medical science has shown that there are significant health effects to persons suffering from the
rage within. When people are angry they become anger. The anger eats at their insides.
Health effects include heart disease and hypertension. Many doctors now consider the
top three factors for determining longevity as, family history, diet, and stress.


Even people with few social contacts can have much suffering. By being alone, loneliness
inevitably arises, which leads to irritability, anger, frustration, and depression.

Once there was an older woman customer of ours who was alone and just watched television all
day long. One day her television reception went bad and she could no longer get a good signal
with the antennas on her television. She was telling me about it and hysterically crying. She
said, ―my life has never been so miserable, this is so terrible, how could this be happening?
My first thoughts were, this is the most miserable part of her life? She must have had a very
cushy life. My life certainly was not that easy. How come she had it so good that she is now
complaining and crying so bad over a lost television signal? Are the television shows really that
good? Then compassion came over me as I realized that television was her life. She had no
other contacts with the outside world. She even would check her mail while still wearing her
pajamas. So I recommended that she purchase basic cable. I told her the reception is near
perfect and you get an additional 50 channels or more. A few days later I saw her and she had
the biggest smile. She was so happy. Now she had her television reception back with the cable
account and she had many more channels to watch. We all experience problems and painful
situations. It is the way we handle and deal with the problems that determine if it will become
suffering or not.


The second characteristic of existence is impermanence. Impermanence simply means that there
is nothing permanent about existence. We are all going to die. This can be very upsetting as
we do not like to lose our life or the lives of our loved ones. But there must be death, because
there is life. They are considered the two sides of the same coin.


Impermanence goes beyond just our lives to the entire universe. Everything in our world is
impermanent. If you look at a globe of our planet, what you see is simply a snapshot view of
earth. This is how our planet looks at this time. Several hundred million years ago, the land
masses were together. What we now call India was an island, which slowly moved toward the
continent of what is now Asia. The reason why South America and Africa look like jig-saw
puzzle pieces, is because that is exactly what they are. They were connected and then
separated. The earth has not finished moving. Currently, North America and Europe are on a
collision course. But, don‘t get too excited about driving from New York to London just yet. It
will take several million years for the two continents to touch each other.


Some people are afraid of impermanence. We like to get comfortable in our routine lives and
feel that the concept of impermanence will require us to change. But impermanence is life
itself. It is not something we can vote on, it is just a fact of existence. There could be no life
without impermanence. We would not be able to give birth if there was no impermanence,
because birth is change. We would not even be able to taste food if there was no such thing
as impermanence. It is change that allows us to breathe, feel good, feel bad, give birth, die, and
be re-born.


**************To be continued***************
Edited by yawares :anjali:
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Re: The Three Characteristics of Existence

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Sep 11, 2012 12:22 am

scene from the movie quoted above:

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Re: The Three Characteristics of Existence

Postby yawares » Tue Sep 11, 2012 2:37 am

David N. Snyder wrote:scene from the movie quoted above:



Dear David,
I know that you try to make me laugh...well funny indeed :thinking:

Back to read your book,
yawares
:reading:
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Re: The Three Characteristics of Existence

Postby pegembara » Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:26 am

ANICCA, DUKKHA, ANATTA

Image
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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Re: The Three Characteristics of Existence

Postby yawares » Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:55 am

pegembara wrote:ANICCA, DUKKHA, ANATTA

Image


Dear "pegembara"....Yawares loves :heart: your beautiful picture MUCHO!! :thumbsup:
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Re: The Three Characteristics of Existence

Postby daverupa » Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:58 am

pegembara wrote:ANICCA, DUKKHA, ANATTA

Image


How can we say anatta about this, when that blue thread seems to be saying something else?
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: The Three Characteristics of Existence

Postby yawares » Tue Sep 11, 2012 12:21 pm

daverupa wrote:
pegembara wrote:ANICCA, DUKKHA, ANATTA

Image


How can we say anatta about this, when that blue thread seems to be saying something else?

Dear "daverupa"

[color=#BF00BF]yawares
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Re: The Three Characteristics of Existence

Postby Aloka » Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:36 pm

daverupa wrote: How can we say anatta about this, when that blue thread seems to be saying something else?



:clap: yes, I agree !
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Re: The Three Characteristics of Existence

Postby yawares » Tue Sep 11, 2012 2:15 pm

Aloka wrote:
daverupa wrote: How can we say anatta about this, when that blue thread seems to be saying something else?



:clap: yes, I agree !


Dear Aloka

yawares :thumbsup:
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Re: The Three Characteristics of Existence

Postby ancientbuddhism » Tue Sep 11, 2012 2:24 pm

pegembara wrote:ANICCA, DUKKHA, ANATTA

Image


This is a teaching device of the Gaudiya Vaishnava sect ISKCON (popularly known in the 60's as the Hari Krishnas) for teaching reincarnation. The blue thread is the ātman.
Fingers walk the darkness down
Mind is on the midnight
Gather up the gold you've found
You fool, it's only moonlight.
If you try to take it home
Your hands will turn to butter
You better leave this dream alone
Try to find another. – Townes Van Zandt ‘Lungs’

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

A Handful of Leaves
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Re: The Three Characteristics of Existence

Postby yawares » Tue Sep 11, 2012 2:35 pm

ancientbuddhism wrote:
pegembara wrote:ANICCA, DUKKHA, ANATTA

Image


This is a teaching device of the Gaudiya Vaishnava sect ISKCON (popularly known in the 60's as the Hari Krishnas) for teaching reincarnation. The blue thread is the ātman.


Dear "ancientbuddhism",
yawares : Thank you very much for this nice information
:thumbsup:
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The Three Characteristics of Existence

Postby pegembara » Tue Sep 11, 2012 3:19 pm

Well, what do you know?
What you "see" is not what you get (WYSINWYG).

How about this? From atta to anatta!

Image

"A magician puts a dove in a hat. He does a few funny movements and the dove is gone. He 'annihilated' the dove.

Now, imagine a water tap, there is a stream of water coming out of it. I close the tap. Did I annihilate anything similar to what the magician did?

I didn't, because nothing just disappeared. I only stopped a process of water flowing. This is cessation. This is so because a stream is not a solid thing. It's a process, a changing phenomena.

Nibbana similarly is not annihilation because there is no self. There is nothing that is a self, only in our mind there is something we call a self. Now, the mind is the real magician because it can make you see things that aren't here. If we look deeper, we see that just like the stream is not really a solid thing, we are not really a we. "

Mara:

By whom was this living being created?
Where is the living being's maker?
Where has the living being originated?
Where does the living being
cease?

Sister Vajira:

What? Do you assume a 'living being,' Mara?
Do you take a position?
This is purely a pile of fabrications.
Here no living being
can be pinned down.


Just as when, with an assemblage of parts,
there's the word,
chariot,
even so when aggregates are present,
there's the convention of
living being.

For only stress is what comes to be;
stress, what remains & falls away.
Nothing but stress comes to be.
Nothing ceases but stress.
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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Re: The Three Characteristics of Existence

Postby Aloka » Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:06 pm

yawares wrote:
Aloka wrote:
daverupa wrote: How can we say anatta about this, when that blue thread seems to be saying something else?



:clap: yes, I agree !


Dear Aloka
Heaven : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrSdXtFJG20

yawares :thumbsup:



Eeeeeek !!! :rofl:
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Re: The Three Characteristics of Existence

Postby yawares » Tue Sep 11, 2012 6:37 pm

Dear Aloka....sorry wrong website..the song should be for JTN....my bad trying to post/reply for 3 websites..confusing!
yawares
:juggling:
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Re: The Three Characteristics of Existence

Postby Aloka » Tue Sep 11, 2012 7:13 pm

yawares wrote:Dear Aloka....sorry wrong website..the song should be for JTN....my bad trying to post/reply for 3 websites..confusing!
yawares
:juggling:


It's ok yawares, don't worry about it :hug:
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