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One City


September Quotes: Summer is Impermanent, So Is Thich Nhat Hanh’s Pneumonia

posted by Ethan Nichtern

This September Quote is attributed to the great master Thich Nhat Hanh (who has been discharged from the hospital, awesome!)

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“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.”



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Comments read comments(5)
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Dave

posted September 1, 2009 at 3:56 pm


Is clinging to permanence merely a form of psychological homeostasis?



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Dharmakara

posted September 1, 2009 at 4:40 pm


There is also another way to look at Confucius’ statement… that the stream is what the stream is, that it is always flowing, day and night, in the same way the samsara is what samsara is.



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Dharmakara

posted September 1, 2009 at 5:12 pm


Sachiko Murata* renders Confucius’ statement as “Like a running river, the whole universe is flowing ceaselessly day and night”, going on to say that existence means harmonious change on the basis of the Tao, that the universe would cease to flow and nothing could exist, while Yao Xinzhong** sees the use of ceaselessly flowing water as an illustration of how humans should pursue their ideal.
* The Tao of Islam: A Sourcebook on Gender Relationships in Islamic Thought(Albany: State University of New York Press, 1992)
** Dao: A Journal of Contemporary Philosophy, Volume 5, Number (June, 2006)



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ellen9

posted September 1, 2009 at 5:35 pm


thanks! a great one for today



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Your Name

posted October 3, 2009 at 12:57 am


Yap!Everything is impermanent,and that always remains a good news to every unhappy living being.Thanks and god is good all the time.



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