Four Dharma Seals

1. All compounded things are impermanent (Anicca)

Everything in life, our feelings and thoughts, people, animals, plants, bacteria and countries are always changing and reacting. Without change, there could be no life. Phenomena become because of conditions created by other phenomena. Elements assemble and dissipate and re-assemble. Nothing is separate from everything else. Being mindful of the impermanence of all compounded things, including ourselves, helps us accept loss, old age, and death. This may seem pessimistic, but it is realistic. There will be a loss, old age, and death whether we accept them or not. Impermanence makes all things possible. Because everything changes, there are seeds and flowers, parents, children and grandchildren. A static world would be a dead one.

2. All stained emotions are painful (Dhukka).

This is the teaching of the Second NobleTruth, which teaches that the cause of suffering is craving. When we divide the world into subjects and objects, we continually grasp things we think are separate from ourselves to make us happy. Truth is, nothing ever satisfies us for long. People suffer because they want things to be permanent when they are not. They cling to those things and try to avoid things that are unpleasant. Unfortunately, nothing is permanent and they suffer from their craving. But with consciousness, fortunately, we can all change suffering into happiness.

3. Non-self (Anatta)

A person is a collection of mind and body parts; thoughts, memories, self-images, beliefs, feelings, perceptions, sensations and physical cells. All those mind/body parts have no slight aspect of personalization until the word and concept “my” precedes each one of them.
Nothing lives on its own. We are alive due to our parents, air, food, water, and everything around us. We cannot even remain the same for two moments. We are born, grow old, get sick and die. There is nothing that can be called a permanent “I” or a soul. That which carries on to our next life is our life force or karma. The concept of “me” and “mine” is an illusion we create with our minds.
Remove the illusion producing concepts of “my” and “mine”, and all sense of a personal self vanishes. Everything mentioned still occurs but not to a “me” and are not owned by that “me”. Any personal name or label applied to a person or a thing is only referring to an impermanent collection of parts, each of which has no duration.

4. Nirvana is True Peace ~ Freedom

By accepting and understanding that change is a part of life, we can be content with what we have and who we are. We can reach the state of Nirvana, a state of complete selflessness. The word nirvana means to blow out a candle. It is not a place, like heaven, but more a state of being in harmony with the universe, and is beyond words.

Buddha taught that Nirvana was beyond human conceptualization or imagination, and discouraged his students from wasting time in speculations about Nirvana.

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