Mystic Lotus


The Three Universal Characteristics


The Three Universal Characteristics

In Buddha Dhamma, the three marks of existence are three characteristics (Pali: tilakkhaṇa; Sanskrit: त्रिलक्षण, trilakṣaṇa) of all existence and beings, namely impermanence (aniccā Dhp 277), unsatisfactoriness or suffering (duḥkha Dhp 278), and non-self (anattā Dhp 279). That humans are subject to delusion about the three marks, that this delusion results in suffering, and that removal of that delusion results in the end of suffering, is a central theme in the Buddhist Four Noble Truths and Noble Eightfold Path.

  1. Anicca

    Impermanence (Pali anicca, Sanskrit anitya) means that all conditioned things (saṅkhāra) are in a constant state of flux. Buddha Dhamma states that all physical and mental events come into being and dissolve. Human life embodies this flux in the aging process and the cycle of repeated birth and death (Samsara); nothing lasts, and everything decays. This is applicable to all beings and their environs, including beings who are reborn in devā (god) and naraka (hell) realms. This is in contrast to nirvana, the reality that is nicca, or knows no change, decay or death.

  2. Dukkha

    Dukkha (Sanskrit duhkha) means "unsatisfactoriness, suffering, pain". The dukkha includes the physical and mental sufferings that follows each rebirth, aging, illness, dying; dissatisfaction from getting what a being wishes to avoid or not getting the desired, and no satisfaction from Sankhara dukkha, in which everything is conditioned and conditioning, or because all things are not experienced as impermanent and without any essence.

  3. Anatta

    Anatta (Sanskrit anatman) refers to the doctrine of "non-self", that there is no unchanging, permanent Self or soul in living beings and no abiding essence in anything or phenomena.

Chapter:Different Types of Consciousness Mental States Miscellaneous Section Analysis of Thought-Processes Process Freed Section Analysis of Matter Abhidhamma Categories The Compendium Of Relations Mental Culture