Here is the root of the Buddha's teaching. Impermanence forms
the basis for dukkha and anatta.
The marks of impermanence
The mark of impermanence has two aspects, gross and subtle.
The gross markof impermanence is
fully evident as soon as you pay attention to it. When we
pay attention it becomes clear that everything that arises
must at some time pass away, that whatever comes into being
must pass out of being, that whatever is put together at
some time comes apart. This is evident in the cosmic
process, in the course of history and in the course of our
The subtle markof impermanence is
more difficult to grasp. The Buddha points out that there
are no static entities but only dynamic processes which appear
to us to be stable and static only because our perception
is not sharp enough to detect the changes. Being itself
is really a process of becoming. Things themselves are constantly
undergoing changes, just as a waterfall from a distance seems
solid when it is, in reality, always changing.
his deathbed, to those overcome by grief, Buddha repeated
the hard truth that impermanence holds sway over all
Three stages of becoming
The Buddha points out that all momentary happenings go through
three stages or submoments: a moment of arising, finally a
moment of perishing, and between the two "a transformation
of that which endures."
The Buddha's teaching of radical impermanence applies to all
formations without exception, especially to the five
aggregates of clinging, to our own personality. To the eye
of insight our entire being dissolves into a compound of conditioned