Impermanence as Objective Truth

Yutang Lin

Factual phenomena are impermanent, constantly flowing.
Opportune situations hard to keep, watch adverse turns.
In predicament seek escape, wishing to disentangle nets.
Just follow causal endeavors to transcend transmigration.


A fundamental tenet of Buddhist teachings is to view all things as impermanent. Usually when this is expounded on emphases tend to lean toward the eventually unavoidable arrival of sufferings of senility, illness and death, and therefore causing people to feel that the teachings on impermanence seem to carry tendency of pessimism and passivism. In fact, the key point of Buddhist teachings on impermanence is to remind people to realize that it is an objective truth. If it is objectively appreciated, then not only would one have in view possible adverse turns during opportune circumstances but also seek opportunities and paths to escape while stuck in predicaments. Therefore, Buddhist teachings on impermanence also carry fully the implication that one should actively seek ultimate liberation in order to transcend the sufferings of transmigration.

As to paths of liberation, they could not deviate from practices that are based on compliance with the causal laws and constitute endeavors in reduction of negative karma, accumulation of meritorious deeds, and cultivation of selfless wisdom and compassion. Thus, Buddhist views and practices are all based on insight and realization of objective phenomena. This is a point that all Buddhists should have as a fundamental and right recognition of what the nature of Dharma is.

It would be beneficial to read this work along with my recent work, "Aspects of Impermanence."

Written in Chinese on September 7, 2004
Translated on September 16, 2004
El Cerrito, California

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