“Nothing remains the same for two consecutive moments. Heraclitus said
we can never bathe twice in the same river. Confucius, while looking at
a stream, said, “It is always flowing, day and night.” The Buddha
implored us not just to talk about impermanence, but to use it as an
instrument to help us penetrate deeply into reality and obtain
liberating insight. We may be tempted to say that because things are
impermanent, there is suffering. But the Buddha encouraged us to look
again. Without impermanence, life is not possible. How can we transform
our suffering if things are not impermanent? How can our daughter grow
up into a beautiful young lady? How can the situation in the world
improve? We need impermanence for social justice and for hope.
If you suffer, it is not because things are impermanent. It is because
you believe things are permanent. When a flower dies, you don’t suffer
much, because you understand that flowers are impermanent. But you cannot
accept the impermanence of your beloved one, and you suffer deeply when
she passes away.
If you look deeply into impermanence, you will do your best to make her
happy right now. Aware of impermanence, you become positive, loving and
wise. Impermanence is good news. Without impermanence, nothing would
be possible. With impermanence, every door is open for change.
Impermanence is an instrument for our liberation.”