Buddhist Theory of Impermanence/Momantariness/Anicca

The Theory of Momentariness: The Buddhist doctrine of impermanence, as explained in the canonical texts, does really amount to a theory of momentariness, in the sense that everything is in a state of constant flux.

This becomes clear from a passage in the Anguttara Nikaaya (AN 3.47), where the three sankhata-lakkha.nas (the characteristics of that which is compounded) are explained. Here it is said that that which is sankhata (compounded) has three fundamental characteristics, namely uppaada (origination), vaya (dissolution), and.thitassa a~n~nathatta (otherwiseness of that which is existing).

From this it follows that the Buddhist doctrine of change should not be understood in the ordinary sense that something arises, exists for some time in a more or less static form, and dissolves. On the contrary, the third characteristic shows that between its arising and cessation, a thing is all the time changing, with no static phase in between. Thus the Buddhist doctrine of change does really amount to a theory of universal flux.


© Harry Benedict Arthur Coday, all rights reserved