Why Conditioned Phenomena are Impermanent? (Part 5 of 5)

Bei-Da-Wu Mountain

@ http://tantrismuskritik.blogspot.tw/2012/08/why-conditioned-phenomena-are_20.html?showComment=1349015215474#c4291832882487510315"

Thanks to our healthy physical bodies that we are able to receive all sorts of images and messages, and throughout our lifetimes, we rely so much on our conscious minds that we consider the conscious minds to be the eternity. But the conscious mind is an impermanent mind, which will cease to exist every night during sleep and cease to exist as well after we have passed away.

In terms of Buddhism, the worldly phenomena are called emptiness-appearance 空相, because all of these will eventually cease to exist, but within each and every mortal living being, the eighth vijnana, Alayavijnana, coexists with every temporary physical body, and it is immortal. This is the target for the Mahayana practitioners to dig out the origin of life utilizing this unceasing temporary existence (periodic births-and-deaths 分段生死).

The overall manifestation of emptiness-appearance does have its worldly function and mission, if one grasps the correct concept of true Buddhism, he/she will be able to make the best of them for Buddhist cultivation to attain liberation or Buddhahood, or the other way around, keep submerging endlessly in cyclic births-and-deaths by karmic force. Logically, your fate and life is in your own hands, mind you, not only this some dozens of years, but can be all eternity! (part 5/end)


  1. It became one of my favourite chapters in The Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra when I read the chapter for the first time a few years ago as Mahāmati asked the Buddha.
    “Bhagavan, your teachings about neither arising nor cessation, nirvana, ignorance, impermanence, and delusion, etc. are not unique because non-Buddhists are teaching the same. Bhagavan also uses the same worldly terms to describe the Truth,” Mahāmati asked (Not a literal translation, but to give the gist of the question)

    The Buddha replied, “No, my teachings are not the same as that of the non-Buddhists. I teach neither arising nor ceasing that is not established on the dualistic indications of perceived and perceiving.”
    《楞伽阿跋多羅寶經》卷4〈一切佛語心品〉:「佛告大慧:「我說一切法不生不滅,有無品不現。」」(CBETA, T16, no. 670, p. 506, a21-22)

    Any individual understands that material world is impermanent. It is also the basic practice for Hinayana practitioners to observe the five aggregates to eliminate their self-attachments. So when the non-Buddhists heard that the Buddha taught about impermanence of the material world or nirvana, they interpreted those terms with their best comprehension – literally. Initially based all phenomena on worldly theories and logic, the practitioners could observe that worldly matters are indeed of dependent arising; actually, they are correct – for mundane issues.

    When people state that all dharmas are impermanent, the theories are based on worldly matters to start with – all dharmas which manifest within the three realms; if a foundation is mundanely built, its original existence of entity cannot be everlasting.

    But the Buddha taught the root cause of all the mundane existence; in other words, the origin of matters that brings forth dependent arising to the three realms, which does not belong to the three realms. The Buddha taught the perpetual non-discerning Buddha nature.

    It (the Buddha nature) is without any form or appearance, if the Buddha did not use language to describe Its unique characteristics to the disciples, who could understand any thing about It? While the Buddha explained with terms and languages, listeners would interpret the teachings with their own understandings. It is because we are limited within the scope of our conceptual mind.

    That is why to get “awakened” is so important in Buddhist cultivation, through personally realizing and verifying the Buddhist teachings, the practitioners’ eyes can penetrate the sutras (figuratively speaking) and catch the gist and will be able to study further.

    That is also the drastic distinction between the Mahayana practitioners and the Hinayana practitioners. The former personally witness the state of nirvana during life time, while the latter cultivate their fourth fruits of arhatship based on eliminating their eighteen sense-realms, after passing away, arhats just vanish from the three realms (liberated from cyclic births and deaths). Arhats have never personally witnessed their Buddha nature, because all their practices are limited and based on the worldly eighteen sense-realms. (A very concise summary only, detailed descriptions are available upon request)

    1. Wonderful! I will copy it for this blog. Thanks a lot!

  2. This is one of the most well known teachings in Buddhism.
    Ahead of the Buddha’s time to manifest entering nirvana, Ananda asked four questions to the Buddha, one of them is, “Who should be the one to lead the sangha after Bhagavan’s time?”
    The Buddha replied, “The Buddhist precepts should be your leader.”
    《金剛般若經疏論纂要》卷1:「則佛臨滅度。阿難請問四事。佛一一答。我滅度後。一依四念處住。二以戒為師。三默擯惡性比丘。四一切經初。皆云如是我聞一時佛在某處與某眾若干等。」(CBETA, T33, no. 1701, p. 155, c19-22)

    Not any individual but the Buddhist precepts. As a person is a composition of five aggregates, our bodily, verbal and mental deeds are constantly ever changing according to the six sense-objects. In a way, we hardly know what will happen next. The Buddha wishes to pass down his ultimate unsurpassed wisdom that every individual innately possesses the same essence as that of His, so all sentient beings are primordially equal. The key point is that we do not know this fact about the Truth.

    Most people do know about the Buddhist cultivation is a process of reduction instead of addition, which aims to lessen rather than deepen attachment to the desire-realm. Just like a rocket heading to the moon, it has to discard the heavy boosters one by one, in like manner, the Buddhist cultivation is to lessen our worldly attachment.

    However, the most deep-rooted attachment within everyone is the idea about self-existing; we regard our conscious perceptive mind or the vijnana aggregates as the everlasting and unceasing mind. This concept is called the “misconceptions about the self,” and this is the cause of our unending transmigration. It is because we store the seeds of these misconceptions within the Alayavijnana, which is everlasting and indestructible, through it we could substantiate our unending cycles of births-and-deaths by uncontrollable karmic forces instead of our own will.

    The conscious perceptive mind is a vital tool to uncover the Truth, but it lives only one life time. In terms of Buddhist cultivation, to eliminate the misconceptions about the self is the very basic for both Mahayana and Hinayana practitioners.