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Impermanence, DO, etc.

techietechie India Veteran

In Buddhism, there is no such thing as permanence.

No entity has an independent existence.

Even ideas evolve over a period of time.

What we think or feel changes over time.

In this context, consider happiness or virtue, love or creativity, or the good things in life. Are they not subject to DO (dependent origination) and therefore have no intrinsic worth?

Consider happiness, for example. It does NOT exist as a permanent, unchanging entity somewhere that we can go and grasp. It is the result of various conditions. When those conditions are fulfilled, we are happy. If not, we are unhappy.

So wouldn't DO/impermanence render our search futile?

SnakeskinDavid

Comments

  • SnakeskinSnakeskin Texas, USA Veteran
    edited February 4

    That, @techie, is a clear description of one aspect of dukkha, the pursuit of lasting happiness in conditioned things, inevitably futile. But while dependent origination constructs one reality (samsara), its deconstruction reveals another (nibbana).

    “All created things are impermanent.”
    Seeing this with insight,
    One becomes disenchanted
    With suffering.
    This is the path to purity.

    “All created things are suffering.”
    Seeing this with insight,
    One becomes disenchanted
    With suffering.
    This is the path to purity.

    All things are not-self.”
    Seeing this with insight,
    One becomes disenchanted
    With suffering.
    This is the path to purity.*

    * [Dhp 277-279] Together, the first lines of each of these three verses are known as the “three characters (tilakkhana)” … The first two characteristics are about created things (sankhara), while the third is about all things (dhamma), that is, both created and uncreated things. “The uncreated,” often translated as “the unconditioned,” is a synonym for Nirvana. The third characteristic states that both Nirvana and created things cannot be identified with one’s self. Since it is not possible to say that Nirvana is impermanent or that it has some inherent characteristic of suffering, the first two characteristics refer only to “created things”....

    -- The Dhammapada: A new Translation of the Buddhist Classic with Annotations by Gil Fronsdal

    DavidlobsterpersonBunks
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited February 4

    @techie said:
    In Buddhism, there is no such thing as permanence.

    No entity has an independent existence.

    Even ideas evolve over a period of time.

    What we think or feel changes over time.

    In this context, consider happiness or virtue, love or creativity, or the good things in life. Are they not subject to DO (dependent origination)

    I would say so because they depend on others and are of the nature to change.

    and therefore have no intrinsic worth?

    This does not logically follow. It makes them even more precious.

    Consider happiness, for example. It does NOT exist as a permanent, unchanging entity somewhere that we can go and grasp. It is the result of various conditions. When those conditions are fulfilled, we are happy. If not, we are unhappy.

    So wouldn't DO/impermanence render our search futile?

    If we are searching for happiness instead of actually choosing happiness then yes it can get pretty disheartening especially without a positive understanding of impermanence.

    However, with a positive understanding of impermanence our search could be rendered futile just as finding my glasses on my forehead renders my search for my glasses futile.

    We are all quite literally in this together... The logic of compassion and happiness without an opposite in dukkha stems from a proper understanding of D.O.

    Of course it is my understanding so obviously I could be biased.

    Snakeskin
  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran
    edited February 4

    @techie said:
    In this context, consider happiness or virtue, love or creativity, or the good things in life. Are they not subject to DO (dependent origination) and therefore have no intrinsic worth?

    I think I half agree. They have no intrinsic worth in the sense that the good things in life aren't good in and of themselves, they are only considered good because of their relation to people. In other words, there isn't some kind of happiness essence within them, they only create happiness in people because of the make up of human beings. But I disagree with any sense that it's all pointless, so why bother in the statement.

    I think you could also look at like better or worse rather than good or bad. Good and bad have the notion of something fixed, immutable regardless of the situation. Better and worse are changeable and relative depending on circumstance.

    Consider happiness, for example. It does NOT exist as a permanent, unchanging entity somewhere that we can go and grasp. It is the result of various conditions. When those conditions are fulfilled, we are happy. If not, we are unhappy.

    So wouldn't DO/impermanence render our search futile?

    From one point of view happiness is still better than suffering even if temporary.

    From another, this is the definition of samsara and a good reason to let go of the struggle. When we let go and renounce we aren't simply left with a grey void, there is peace and bliss underneath.

    Snakeskinsilverlobster
  • @techie said:
    So wouldn't DO/impermanence render our search futile?

    Search is futile but finding is as others mention, dependent on non-attached searching. Who is crazy enough to seek for non-searching (lobster raises claw)?

    Impermanence is a constant/permanent. Ay caramba! Will it ever change to unchanging? Not in this do-do ... How do we get done? We get done with dependence/attachment and become free/changing/unattached ... It's dharma dude.

    Same questions? No questions? Indubitably!

    Snakeskin
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    I think that when it comes to "Happiness" from a Buddhist point of view (taking into account Conditioned, Impermanence & DO) the happiness that is spoken of is "Unconditional" no strings attached

    I guess one could say a sense of well being ... a sense of finding the contentment that comes with accepting what is....Like knowing intuitively to...

    ..

    Dhammapada Twin Verses

    Explanation: All that man experiences springs out of his thoughts. If his thoughts are good, the words and the deeds will also be good. The result of good thoughts , words and deeds will be happiness. This happiness will never leave the person whose thoughts are good. Happiness will always follow him like his shadow that never leaves him.

    Unconditional Happiness (so it would seem) comes from knowing & accepting that one can't always be happy...in the conventional sense :) )

    Change is inevitable...Suffering is optional

    SnakeskinDavid
  • techietechie India Veteran

    @DairyLama said:

    @techie said:
    Consider happiness, for example. It does NOT exist as a permanent, unchanging entity somewhere that we can go and grasp. It is the result of various conditions. When those conditions are fulfilled, we are happy. If not, we are unhappy.
    So wouldn't DO/impermanence render our search futile?

    Understanding that our experiences are conditional and transient is very liberating. We can appreciate our experiences without grasping at them.
    This is essentially what the Heart Sutra is describing.

    That may be, but how is any of this spiritual or liberating? Seems like a mundane, worldly path, with some hippie wisdom added to it. And I don't mean this in a sarcastic way. Just that Buddhism, when deconstructed, appears so.

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    @techie said:

    @DairyLama said:

    @techie said:
    Consider happiness, for example. It does NOT exist as a permanent, unchanging entity somewhere that we can go and grasp. It is the result of various conditions. When those conditions are fulfilled, we are happy. If not, we are unhappy.
    So wouldn't DO/impermanence render our search futile?

    Understanding that our experiences are conditional and transient is very liberating. We can appreciate our experiences without grasping at them.
    This is essentially what the Heart Sutra is describing.

    That may be, but how is any of this spiritual or liberating? Seems like a mundane, worldly path, with some hippie wisdom added to it. And I don't mean this in a sarcastic way. Just that Buddhism, when deconstructed, appears so.

    I would say that there is a difference between sitting around in a drum circle, smoking dope and talking about this stuff and what it does to the mind when taken to heart in a meaningful way.

    lobsterSnakeskin
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @techie said:

    @DairyLama said:

    @techie said:
    Consider happiness, for example. It does NOT exist as a permanent, unchanging entity somewhere that we can go and grasp. It is the result of various conditions. When those conditions are fulfilled, we are happy. If not, we are unhappy.
    So wouldn't DO/impermanence render our search futile?

    Understanding that our experiences are conditional and transient is very liberating. We can appreciate our experiences without grasping at them.
    This is essentially what the Heart Sutra is describing.

    That may be, but how is any of this spiritual or liberating? Seems like a mundane, worldly path, with some hippie wisdom added to it. And I don't mean this in a sarcastic way. Just that Buddhism, when deconstructed, appears so.

    That, for all the world, sounds like someone constructing an Ikea flatpack with instructions in a different language to theirs.

    dhammachick
  • SnakeskinSnakeskin Texas, USA Veteran
    edited February 8

    @techie said:

    @DairyLama said:

    @techie said:
    Consider happiness, for example. It does NOT exist as a permanent, unchanging entity somewhere that we can go and grasp. It is the result of various conditions. When those conditions are fulfilled, we are happy. If not, we are unhappy.
    So wouldn't DO/impermanence render our search futile?

    Understanding that our experiences are conditional and transient is very liberating. We can appreciate our experiences without grasping at them.
    This is essentially what the Heart Sutra is describing.

    That may be, but how is any of this spiritual or liberating? Seems like a mundane, worldly path, with some hippie wisdom added to it. And I don't mean this in a sarcastic way. Just that Buddhism, when deconstructed, appears so.

    Another perspective from the Agamas outlines how it is liberating.

    “Bodily form[, feeling, perception, formations and consciousness are] ... impermanent, what is impermanent is dukkha, what is dukkha is not-self, what is not self is not mine. One who contemplates like this is reckoned to be contemplating truly and rightly....

    “A noble disciple who contemplates like this becomes disenchanted with ... [these heaps]. Because of disenchantment he does not delight in consciousness, because of not delighting in consciousness he attains liberation.

    -- SA 9

    Peace, love and ... disenchantment? :p

  • @person said:
    I would say that there is a difference between sitting around in a drum circle, smoking dope and talking about this stuff and what it does to the mind when taken to heart in a meaningful way.

    Damn hippies new-agers! :p

    Socair
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran

    @techie said:
    Consider happiness, for example. It does NOT exist as a permanent, unchanging entity somewhere

    That would be true of worldly happiness because the things that it depends on have the same impermanent quality.

    So wouldn't DO/impermanence render our search futile?

    For worldly happiness sure. But not for the happiness of enlightenment.

    "And what is the still greater unworldly happiness? When a taint-free monk looks upon his mind that is freed of greed, freed of hatred, freed of delusion, then there arises happiness. This is called a 'still greater unworldly happiness.'

    When that happens, that happiness is permanent because those things, that obscure it, are permanently gone.

    personlobster
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