The 8th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
|Articles by alphabetic order|
The Three Universal Characteristics and Truths
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In Buddhism, we always talk about enlightenment. Enlightenment is the complete and perfect understanding of the universe and our lives. The Three Universal Characteristics and The Three Universal Truths are important parts of Buddhist teachings and the doctrinal contents of wisdom.
and call them "The Four Seals".
One cannot step into the same river twice. Impermanence implies the interchanging and transient nature of existence. Our body is impermanent. Our mind is impermanent. Our feeling is impermanent. Our possessions are also impermanent. The world and human life are compelling images of impermanence. All things are marked or characterized by impermanence.
1. Impermanence in succession - e.g. time.
2. Impermanence in cause and effect - e.g. germination of seed.
=3. Impermanence in composition, e.g. car.
In this world, there is not a car by itself but we can define the components which belong to the car.
4. Impermanence in antagonism, e.g. left and right.
5. Impermanence in relativity - e.g. good or bad.
It is important to note that impermanence is not non-existence. The subtle concept is that it exists but is impermanent in nature. There is nothing permanently independent, unchanged, absolute and "real" in the world.
Understanding impermanence is important not just for our practice of the Dharma but also in our daily life, such as friendship, marriage, career, wealth, health, etc. It is also an antidote for curing desire and ill-will. This is a key concept, consistent with the Law of Dependent Origination, to explain the nature of all phenomena - no substantial existence of their own.
10.2 All Dharma are not-self (Anatma)
3. immutable and impervious to change
Such a self is nowhere to be found!
The self is just a convenient name for a collection of factors, which are ever-changing, interdependent, impermanent physical and mental (personal) experiences, such as feelings, ideas, thoughts, habits, attitude, etc.
1. It will harmonize our human relationship.
We respect others rather than defend ourselves. We trust others equally, rather than looking down upon them. We are able to relate to other people and situations, and not put ourselves in entangled position. So we can become more creative, more comfortable and more open-minded.
2. It is a [key of enlightenment)].
Ignorance is the most basic of our defilements, but the greatest ignorance is the belief on a self. With the notion of self, we are greedy, angry, in illusion, pride and prejudice. Seeing that the self is the source and the cause of all suffering, and seeing that the rejection of the self is the cause of the end of suffering, we have to train ourselves to reject and eliminate the idea of the self.
Understanding that all sensations are suffering can build up our belief and faith towards Buddhism. Since faith is the mother of all merits and virtues in Buddhism, we should take every opportunity to understand it.
10.4 The Eternity is Nirvana
Nirvana is a Sanskrit word which is originally translated as "perfect stillness". It has many other meanings, such as liberation, eternal bliss, tranquil extinction, extinction of individual existence, unconditioned, no rebirth, calm joy, etc. It is usually described as transmigration to "extinction", but the meaning given to "extinction" varies.
There are four kinds of Nirvana:
2. Nirvana with residue -
The cause, but not all the effect (Karma) of reincarnation is cut off; the obstruction of affliction is removed, but not that of 'what is known' (Dharma), thus the body which remains is subject to birth and death. Those beings are Arhats.
Both the cause and effect of reincarnation are extinguished, both afflictions and 'what is known' (Dharma) are extinguished. All kinds of suffering are externally in stillness. There is no further residue. Those beings are Bodhisattva.
With wisdom and compassion, those who attain this kind of Nirvana will not dwell in birth and death nor in Nirvana, and will continue to rescue all living beings forever. http://www.buddhistdoor.com/OldWeb/bdoor/archive/nutshell/teach10.htm