February 03, 2005

The Truth of Impermanence

"When we encounter difficulty, we often ask: "Why me? What did I do to deserve this?" We look at all of life from our own personal viewpoint, seeing ourselves as fixed features in a world fraught with all kinds of bodily harm and unexpected danger. Even as we grow older, we worry about the inevitable changes our body encounters and the fact that life is not endless.

From a Buddhist perspective, human beings cause their own suffering when they consider their egos to be fixed and permanent and therefore at conflict with a world of change. Instead, people should awaken to Dharma, the truth of impermanence. The term Dharma has come to refer to a number of concepts, including truth, virtue, teachings and Nirvana. But Dharma always means the change that occurs when we awaken to the true nature of our lives.

According to Buddhist lore, the Buddha awakened to the Dharma of impermanence while meditating under the Bodhi tree. He realized that all living things - humans, animals and plant life - would someday pass away from the world. Sensing that we all face the same fate, he felt great compassion for all living things and felt deeply that we are all interdependent. He understood that the root of suffering was a lack of acceptance of this fact of impermanence and he decided to devote his life to teaching all people this truth and ending suffering.

But the Dharma cannot be taught to people in a traditional way. Change occurs when we are "filled with" Dharma and can then lead by example. Most importantly, we become aware that all of life is woven together in an interconnected tapestry. Then we feel true compassion for all that is alive."

For more information visit About Dharma

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