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Episode 4 Transcript: Everything Must Change

Episode 4, 4 December 2014, Everything Must Change. [06:03]


Intro: Welcome to Buddhism Guide’s Audio blog.

This Episode: Everything Must Change. [00:17]

1. Unawareness. [00:21]

  • In the last posting I mentioned unawareness.
  • So, what are the things we are unaware of?
  • Usually, in Buddhism they talk about three main things, namely:
    1. Suffering,
    2. Non-Self, and
    3. Impermanence.
  • I’ve covered Suffering in the post entitled “Gautama Buddha’s First Truth” and Non-Self was covered in the post “How We Experience The World”.
  • So I’ll talk about the third one here:

2. Impermanence. [00:52]

  • In Words of my Perfect Teacher, it states:
    • Whatever is born, is impermanent, and is bound to die.
    • Whatever is stored up, is impermanent, and is bound to run out.
    • Whatever comes together, is impermanent, and is bound to come apart.
    • Whatever is built, is impermanent, and is bound to collapse.
    • Whatever rises up, is impermanent, and is bound to fall down.
    • So also: friendship and enmity, fortune and sorrow, good and evil.
    • All the thoughts that run through your mind, everything is always changing.

3. The First Seal: All compounded things are impermanent. [01:40]

  • In Tibetan Buddhism there are four seals, and the first seal is:
    • All compounded things are impermanent.
  • Now, at first glance that seems a tad depressing.
  • However, if we look closely and contemplate the meaning, it turns out to be a breath of fresh air.
  • The definition of compounded is:
    • something that consists of two or more things combined together.
  • All phenomena is compounded, and that includes you and me.
  • Just think for a moment, is there anything in this universe that isn’t compounded?
    • As yet, we haven’t found anything.
  • The point Gautama Buddha was making here, is that anything that is made up of a combination of other things, will eventually fall apart.
    • It will come into being when the various causes and conditions are right.
    • It will exist for a certain amount of time, and then it will disintegrate.
    • This is the nature of all things.
    • This is impermanence.
    • It is an undeniable and inescapable fact of life.
  • Impermanence isn’t a word we readily are warm to, and it would be much nicer for us to believe that everything is permanent.
  • But this simply isn’t true, and in order to stop our suffering, we need to acknowledge this fact.
  • The reason we do not like to hear about impermanence is because it brings up visions of sickness, pain, disintegration and death.
  • We get a horrible, sick feeling in our stomachs, because we equate impermanence with loss.
  • Loss of loved ones, loss of friends, or even loss of something as trivial as a mobile phone.

4. The importance of understanding impermanence. [03:35]

  • So, it is vitally important for all of us to understand impermanence.
    • Why is it important?
    • What are the benefits of understanding it?
  • It means we will achieve freedom from fear, freedom from suffering, and freedom from panic.
  • Because when we know things are not going to last, we are free from any fear, agony or pain of losing something or someone.
  • Our mistaken belief is, that things come into existence on their own and last for ever.
  • This kind of mistaken belief causes us to cling to worldly possessions, such as material objects, the search for pleasure, recognition, honour and so on.
  • It causes pride, attachment, aversion and arrogance to grow within us, because we truly believe things are here to stay.
  • We grow completely attached to the concerns of this life.
    • So it’s a relief when we finally understand that everything is impermanent and we can’t do a thing to change that fact.
    • We can now let go and relax our grip on things.
    • That’s a real breath of fresh air.
  • Impermanence is not only true for pleasurable things but for painful things as well.
  • Maybe someone you care for has died, or left you, and you are sad and lonely.
  • These emotions are also impermanent and so, will after some time, also change.
  • All the things we have aversion towards, will only last a short time.
  • In Thirty Seven Practices of all Buddhist Sons, it states:
    • Like the dew, that remains for a moment or two, on the tips of the grass and then melts with the dawn, the pleasure we find in the course of our lives lasts only an instant. They cannot endure.

Outro. [05:43]

  • You can find more information about this subject in Karma Yeshe Rabgye’s books at
    1. The best way to catch a snake – A Practical Guide to the Buddha’s Teachings;
    2. Life’s meandering path – A Secular Approach to Gautama Buddha’s Guide to Living;
    3. Ripples in the stream – A Pragmatic Journey Through Gautama Buddha’s Teachings.
  • They’re available now, from Amazon and Kindle.
  • Thank you for listening, and I hope you enjoyed this blog post.




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