Oakville Zen Meditation


Only ongoing change is permanent. Part 1

We like comfort and stability but resist and even fear the ongoing changes. It is probably liked to our 200,000 years evolution where search for stability is a default mode.

The last words of the Buddha before dying from mushroom poison were:

“Everything is transient. Understand, accept and behave accordingly to this fundamental reality of life”

Impermanence means that everything changes and nothing remains the same in any consecutive moment even if we have the strong perception that nothing changes too much day by day.

The practice and understanding of impermanence is not just another description of absolute reality, it is a practical tool helping us in our adaptation, transformation, acceptance of this and that . It will help in healing and, eventually achieving serenity.

Impermanence makes everything, including life, possible.

We are often sad and suffer a lot when good and positive things change, but change and impermanence have a positive side. Thanks to impermanence, everything is possible. Bad moments don’t last and Life itself is possible.

If a grain of corn is not impermanent, it can never be transformed into corn.

If our kids are not impermanent, they cannot grow up to become adults.

So instead of resisting and complaining about impermanence, we should accept it as a fact of life  and behave accordingly.

When we can see the miracle of impermanence our sadness and suffering about disasters, losses, anger, fear, nostalgia, jealousy will pass.

Impermanence should also be understood in the light of  our interconnection and interdependence between living beings.

Because all living beings are interconnected and interdependent, they are constantly influencing each other. It is said a butterfly’s wings flapping on one side of the planet can affect the weather on the other side.

Nothing stays the same because everything is influenced by zillion of independent and unrelated factors totally out of our control.

Practicing Impermanence

All of us can understand impermanence with our intellect, but this is not yet true understanding, just a cognitive stage. Our intellect alone will not lead us to acceptance, freedom or enlightenment.  

When we look deeply and see the nature of impermanence everywhere, we can then be concentrated on its deep meaning and meditation on impermanence will help greatly.

This is how our insight of impermanence becomes part of our being and our daily experience.

Continually, we have to maintain our insight of impermanence in order to accept life, people and events as they are and and not as we want them to be. No resistance, no fight, no frustration.Life becomes more manageable and solutions to problems must be considered eventually.

Using impermanence as a focusing object of our meditation, we will become familiar with it and it will be inside us every day.

With this practice, impermanence becomes a key part of our life and we discover that it is an integral part of fundamental reality.

Most of the time we behave –subconsciously- as if people, events, feelings will stay as they are now. The list is infinite: kids, relationship, job, health, house, goods, environment, peace, Earth and so on will remained as they are. This list also includes our positive and negative feelings. Love, anger, fear, worries, nostalgia, hatred, beliefs, etc..all change all the time.

Our mind activity is changing non-stop 24/7  with around 90 to 100 thousands thoughts/day.

Therefore we do not value 100% each moment because we have this illusion of permanency.

Knowing that impermanence is permanent or everything is transient is helping us to appreciate good things, events and people right now.

You may ask: what about bad moments and negative emotions? Despite being painful, should we accept them too? Of course yes, but focusing on their transient features will help you to accept them and be patient rather than being mad or sad.

Nothing can escape from being transient: from the sub-particles in quantum physic to clouds, weather, and health good and bad stuff, the universe, you and me. Again, impermanence is a very good reality to focus on while meditating.

At this very moment, this talk is finished that is transient and all of us are already different entities from few min. ago at the beginning of the talk.

Thank you all. Sunim