(Really) Knowing Anicca अनिच्चा 2

Long time no post! Perhaps a short explanation may be cathartic.

Buddhism’s attraction to many of us is the Ehi-passiko (inviting one to come and see) attitude of the teachings as opposed to preachy dogma. It is also one path that invites knowledge through experience and ‘knowing things as they are’ rather than ‘conceptual inferred knowledge‘.

So despite understanding, as opposed to knowing, Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta (Impermanence, Unsatisfactoriness, Non-self), when you are actually faced with the experience it can rreally slap you in the face 🙂

What’s this all about then? Last year someone very close to me my whole life (and close to my age) was savaged by a cruel illness and had a rapid decline over a period of months to an untimely death. This despite some intensive intervention from the medical world (compassionate and caring people all). This loss was compounded a month later when one of our favourite horses got colic and had to be put down.

Rather than maintaining equanimity and understanding this as Anicca, Dukkha, these events precipitated somewhat of an existential crisis. Daily meditation was fleeting and uncomfortable; being left on my own with no distractions for any length of time was “difficult” (try 2 * 14 hour flights one month, followed by 14.5 + 8 hours twice the next 🙁 ). The Dhamma however helped and I am climbing out of the “self” wallowing and back onto the path to liberation 🙂

Knowing anicca indeed!

Svâkkhato Bhagavatâ Dhammo Sanditthiko Akâliko Ehi-passiko Panâyiko Paccattam veditabbo viññuhiti.

The Dhamma of the Blessed One is perfectly expounded; to be seen here and now; not delayed in time; inviting one to come and see; onward leading (to Nibbana); to be known by the wise, each for himself.

And the five daily recollections, useful to place the self-identity in perspective, from the Aṅguttara Nikāya below.

Subjects for Contemplation, based on the Upajjhaṭṭhana Sutta(AN 5:57)

NB: This text modified from the original.

“There are these five facts that one should reflect on often:
“‘I am subject to ageing, have not gone beyond ageing’…
“‘I am subject to illness, have not gone beyond illness’.…
“‘I am subject to death, have not gone beyond death’.…
“‘I will grow different, separate from all that is currently dear & appealing to me’.…
“‘I am the owner of actions [kamma], heir to actions, born of actions, related through actions, ……. Whatever I do, for good or for evil, weaves a web of probability to which I am subject in this life or the next ’.…

Modifed from the text here: https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/AN/AN5_57.html (orig trans. Thanissaro Bhikkhu)

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