Essay about Buddhism: The Three Characteristics of Existence

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There are three characteristics of existence. This is an important part of the teaching of Buddha. The teaching of the three characteristics is part of what we might call the doctrinal contents of wisdom. In other words, when we talk about the knowledge and the understanding that is implied by wisdom, we have this teaching in mind.

The three characteristics of existence that we have in mind are the characteristics of impermanence (Anitya), suffering (Duhkha) and not-self (Anatma). These three characteristics are always present in or are connected with existence, and they tell us about the nature of existence. They help us to know what to do with existence. What we learn to develop as a result of understanding the three characteristics is
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Our relations with other individuals are subject to the characteristic of impermanence and change. Friends become enemies, enemies become friends. Enemies even become relatives. Relatives become enemies. If we look closely at our life, we can see how all our relationships with other people are marked by impermanence. Our possessions are also impermanent. Those things that we dearly love - our homes, our automobiles, our clothes, all these are impermanent. All of them will decay and eventually be destroyed. So in every aspect of our life, whether it is personal or material, or whether with regard to our relationships with others, or whether it be our possessions, impermanence is a fact, verified by direct immediate observation.
Understanding impermanence is important to our daily life. How often do friendships deteriorate and end because one of the persons involved has failed to take account of the fact that his friend’s attitudes, interests and so forth have changed? How often do marriages fail because one, or both, of the parties fails to take account of the fact that his or her partner has changed? It is because we lock ourselves into fixed, artificial unchanging ideas of the character and personality of our friends and relatives that we fail to develop our relationships with them positively and because of this failure we often fail to understand one another. Similarly, in one’s career or public life, one cannot hope to
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