Monday, January 03, 2005

Thought number five.

"Understand impermanence."

The Buddhist idea of 'impermanence' is that we should all try to fully realize the truth that nothing remains the same even for two consecutive moments. We, everyone around us, everything created by man and everything we see, are all temporary.

It sounds like (and is) a simple concept, but the real point isn't the fact, but really grasping it - feeling it - knowing it - appreciating it - and allowing it to affect our actions and decisions. By contemplating impermanence, we are meant to learn to value the 'here and now' more clearly and acutely, and to better and more-deeply understand reality.

One obviously doesn't need to be a Buddhist to appreciate the value of this idea, so here are some quotes and thoughts that have helped me try to get there:

"O pilgrim look and look well, for I was once as you are and someday you will be as I am."
- inscribed on a skull in a Russian monastery

"We can never bathe twice in the same river."
- Heraclites

"Without impermanence, life is not possible. Without impermanence, how can our daughter grow up to be a beautiful young lady? ... 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. Impermanence is an instrument for our liberation."
- Thich Nhat Hanh

"If you suffer, it is not because things are impermanent, but because you believe things are permanent."
- Thich Nhat Hanh

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