Scattered throughout the pages of this issue are quotations on impermanence taken from the vaious books of the Pali Canon. They are original translations from Andrew Olendzki, PhD, a Buddhist scholar.
Just as a farmer, working after the rains with a great plow,
bursts asunder the spreading roots as he plows . . .
Just as a reed-cutter, when cutting reeds, seizes them by the stem,
shakes them around, rips them out, and casts them aside . . .
Just as after the rains, when the sky clears of the retreating rain-clouds,
the sun rises up into the sky, driving away all darkness from the heavens,
and illuminates, warms and shines forth . . .
So also the perception of impermanance,
when developed and practiced,
shatters all lust for the sense-realm,
shatters all lust for the form-realm,
shatters all lust for [any] existence,
shatters all ignorance, and uproots all selfish conceits.
Immeasurable is this on-flow;
the earliest point cannot be known,
as beings—obscured by ignorance,
and tied to craving—keep running on,
keep flowing on . . .
For a very long time indeed have you all
encountered suffering, encountered confusion,
encountered misery, and swelled the charnal grounds.
It has surely been long enough to become disenchanted,
long enough to become disengaged,
long enough to become free from all formations.
Formations are so impermanent!
Formations are so unstable!
Formations are so disappointing!
The Buddha then uttered this verse:
How impermanent formations are!
Their nature is to come and go:
Having arisen, they vanish.
Happiness comes from calming them.
Then for him the faultless, immaculate “eye of dhamma” arose:
“Whatever is of the nature to arise, all that is of the nature to cease.”
And he [thereby] saw the dhamma, attained the dhamma,
understood the dhamma, penetrated the dhamma;
he crossed over all doubts, dispersed all confusion, achieved self-confidence,
and no longer depended upon others in the Master’s teaching.
The uninformed person might become disenchanted with, disengage from, and become free of this body, made of the four great elements. Why is that? Because the piling up and wearing down, the taking up and laying aside of this material body is evident.
Yet that which is called mind or brain or consciousness—that he would not become disenchanted with, would not disengage from, would not become free of. Why is that? Because for a very long time he has been attached to, identified with, and grasped onto that, [thinking:] “This is mine, this is who I am, this is my self.”
It would be better for the uninformed person to approach this material body as self rather than the mind. Why is that? Because the material body endures for a year, two years . . . even up to a hundred years or more. While that which is called mind or brain or consciousness arises in one way and ceases in another—day and night!
Just as a monkey, making its way through the forest or the jungle, grasps a branch, and releasing it he grasps another: So also that which is called mind or brain or consciousness arises in one way and ceases in another—day and night!
Here the informed follower of the noble path gives careful and thorough attention to the interdependent origination [of phenomena]: “This being present, that occurs; from the arising of this, that arises. This being absent, that does not occur; from the cessation of this, that ceases.” Seeing in this way, the informed follower of the noble path becomes disenchanted with [the interdependently arisen phenomena of] both mind and body.
Disenchanted, he disengages.
Disengaged, he is free.
In freedom the knowledge occurs: “I am free.”
Enough, Ananda. Do not weep; do not lament.
Has this not already been shown by me to be so:
All that is dear and charming will become different,
will become naught, will become other than it is?
What do you hope to achieve here, Ananda:
That which has been born, has become, has been formed,
and which is of the nature to break up—
“May that, indeed, not break up!”?
This thing is just not possible.