: अनित्य anitya
: अनिच्चा anicca
: མི་རྟག་པ་ mi rtag pa
: 無常 wúcháng
: 無常 mujō
: อนิจจัง anitchang
) is one of the essential doctrines or Three marks of existence
. The term expresses the Buddhist notion that every conditioned existence, without exception, is inconstant and in flux, even gods
According to the impermanence doctrine, human life embodies this flux in the aging process, the cycle of birth and rebirth (samsara), and in any experience of loss. The doctrine further asserts that because things are impermanent, attachment to them is futile, and leads to suffering (dukkha). Under the impermanence doctrine, all compounded and constructed things and states are impermanent.
Buddhists hold that the only true end of impermanence is nirvana, the reality that knows no change, decay or death.
Impermanence is intimately associated with the doctrine of anatta, according to which things have no fixed nature, essence, or self.
- "The five aggregates, monks, are anicca, impermanent."
- "All is impermanent. And what is the all that is impermanent? The eye is impermanent, visual objects [ruupaa]... eye-consciousness... eye contact [cakku-samphassa]... whatever is felt [vedayita] as pleasant or unpleasant or neither-unpleasant-nor-pleasant, born of eye-contact is impermanent. [Likewise with the ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind]" (SN 35.43/vol. iv, 28)
- "All formations are impermanent"
- "Whatever is subject to origination [samudaya] is subject to cessation [nirodha]" (MN 56)
Contemporary culture references