“All conditioned things are impermanent” — when one sees this with wisdom, one turns away from suffering.

“All conditioned things are impermanent” — when one sees this with wisdom, one turns away from suffering.

This is a genuine Buddha quote. It’s from the Dhammapada, verse 277.

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Bodhipaksa

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9 thoughts on ““All conditioned things are impermanent” — when one sees this with wisdom, one turns away from suffering.

    • “Conditioned things” is a rendering of saṅkhārā, which is a difficult term to translate, but you’re pretty close, I think. To say that things (and we’re especially although not exclusively talking about mental states when we talk about “things”) are conditioned means that things don’t exist in and of themselves. They arise out of other factors and conditions. Because those factors and conditions are subject to change, any experience you care to point to is not permanent.

      One import of this is that there’s no possibility of finding a sense of peace or happiness by arranging things so that we can experience only pleasure and not pain. We can try to so arrange things, but since the supports for our pain-free pleasure-only state are unstable, it can’t last.

      So how do we find peace or happiness? We accept that experiences change. So unpleasant experiences come and go, and we don’t fight them. Pleasant experiences come and go, and we don’t try to hold onto them or worry about their passing.

    • Conditioned things are things which arise due to conditions. Fire arises due to the combined presence of fuel, oxygen, and heat. Water arises due to the combining of hydrogen and oxygen in correct proportions: that is the condition that makes it happen. Take, for example, the person out there who thinks I’m oversimplifying this: they are conditioned by a need to sound more clever than others, and so someone who presents a non-mystical, non-poetic rendering of Buddha’s teaching gives rise to the feeling of their ego being threatened. Similarly, the condition of my statement being complete gives rise to its ending.

      • Hi DB.

        “Take, for example, the person out there who thinks I’m oversimplifying this: they are conditioned by a need to sound more clever than others.”

        Well, if someone said you were over-simplifying then it could of course be that you were over-simplifying :)

        I think your example is fine (I made the comment to KK, below, that “conditioned things” could include anything from a galaxy to a thought), but what the Buddha had in mind in talking of “saṅkhārā” didn’t seem to have much to do with the physical world. He seems principally to have been talking about the mental states that we fabricate by reacting to our experience with either aversion or craving.

  1. going completely off topic again, in the “do people under 40 know what they are missing if they don’t have to read stuff twice” department. At first glance I thought it said “Air conditioning” Great quote in spite of my tortured processing abilities.

    • In this particular use of the term saṅkhārā (conditioned things) the term includes anything that comes into being, changes, and then disappears. So it could include anything from a galaxy to a thought.

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