3 Marks of Existence

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  • Suffering- 'that which is hard to endure'
  • Inescapable aspect of life
  • Characteristic of being
  • Came from Buddha's experience of the Four Sights
  • Cush- basic unsatisfactoriness
  • Gethin- a sense of unease
  • Word comes from 'Du' ill fitting, 'cakka' wheel- refers to an ill fitting chariot wheel that will slow you down and make your journey uncomfortable
  • 7 types but 3 main types are dukkha dukkha (ordinary suffering), viparinama dukkha (suffering produced by change and samkhara dukkha (suffering as conditioned states)
  • First taught at the Deer Park Sermon (known as 'setting in motion the wheel of the dharma)
  • Buddha's dying words- 'decay is inherent in all composite things, work out your own salvation with dilgence'
  • Fuelled by the 3 mental poisons
  • Story of Kisagotami
  • Buddha is the last physician sent to cure the ills of the world (dukkha)
  • To be free from dukkha we need to understand and accept the causes and become free from samsara
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  • Impermanence- everything is in a constant state of flux
  • Everything is dependent on certain conditions
  • Everything is interdependent and interlinked in a complex chain of cause, effect and conditions
  • Everything depends on something else for existence (even the people of the world and the stars- Buddha)
  • People crave permanence which leads to unhappiness (dukkha). Anicca heals dukkha. If people understood anicca, they would gain enlightenment, but deep meditation is required. 
  • Life happens in moments, 1/60th of a second. 
  • 2 types of change- momentary (we cannot see) and gross (we can see e.g. the weather)
  • Anicca is caused by the 3 mental poisons e.g. ignorance that everything changes
  • Causal connections- one orderly moment produces the next
  • Nadisotoviya- 'flowing stream' life is continuously flowing
  • Continuity- momentary continuity or change occurs as a continuation of linked moments
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  • No fixed self/soul- nothing is permanent
  • Denial of any permanent part of you
  • Applies to animate and inanimate objects
  • We consist in a process (anicca) so there is no fixed soul as nothing stays the same
  • King Milinda's chariot/ Ship of Theseus
  • No soul passes between bodies, only energies (5 skandhas)
  • The 5 skandhas are form, sensations, mental formulations, perceptions and consciousness
  • At death the 5 skandhas fall apart and we get 5 new ones
  • Analogy of a candle lighting another- one flame caused the other, but it isn't the same flame
  • None of the skandhas are a soul as the 'self' is dependent on the skandhas
  • The body is just one set of skandhas, the end of one is not the end of them all
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