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2.2.2 Impermanence

“Change is the only constant” said Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher living at about the same time as the Buddha. The second of the 3 marks helps us contemplate not only impermanence on a grand scale i.e. death, but also the ‘mini-deaths’ always in operation. You might read in the original dharma teachings that “all compounded phenomena disintegrate”, or in other words all things are made of parts, and all things fall apart. Like death, we do appreciate change when its on a visible scale. As I write now it is autumn, and the tree outside my window is turning yellow and orange. In a few weeks the tree will be bare. We know and expect things to change with the season. But change is happening on imperceptible levels too. As I look down at my hands typing, I can appreciate (because science tells me so) that the skin cells existing now won’t exist in a few months. Even the coffee cup I am drinking from - apparently solid - is breaking down on some level. As the Zen teaching says “the cup is …

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