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body and material things are "transient, not permanent" - a spiritual concept in Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism

Impermanence is one of the essential doctrines or three marks of existence in Buddhism. The term expresses the Buddhist notion that all of conditioned existence, without exception, is transient, or in a constant state of flux.


  • Ich bedauere die Menschen, welche von der Vergänglichkeit der Dinge viel Wesens machen und sich in Betrachtung irdischer Nichtigkeit verlieren. Sind wir ja eben deßhalb da, um das Vergängliche unvergänglich zu machen; das kann ja nur dadurch geschehen, wenn man beides zu schätzen weiß.
    • I’m sorry for people who make a great to-do about the transitory nature of things and get lost in meditations of earthly nothingness. Surely we are here precisely so as to turn what passes into something that endures; but this is possible only if you can appreciate both.
  • Man is but a reed, the most feeble thing in nature, but he is a thinking reed. The entire universe need not arm itself to crush him. A vapor, a drop of water suffices to kill him. But, if the universe were to crush him, man would still be more noble than that which killed him, because he knows that he dies and the advantage which the universe has over him; the universe knows nothing of this.
All our dignity consists then in thought. By it we must elevate ourselves, and not by space and time which we cannot fill. Let us endeavor to think well; this is the principle of morality.
  • Blaise Pascal, Pensées, #347, W. F. Trotter, trans. (New York: 1958)
  • It is wiser to contemplate the law of impermanence than to try to repeal it.
  • In infinite time, in infinite matter, in infinite space, is formed a bubble-organism, and that bubble lasts a while and bursts, and that bubble is me.
    • Leo Tolstoy, Levin, Anna Karenina, C. Garnett, trans. (New York: 2003), Part 8, Chapter 9, p. 729

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