The Three Marks of Existence



This week’s practice focuses on the Buddha’s Fourth Foundation of Mindfulness: ultimate realities (dhammas).

The Three Marks of Existence:

  • The Buddha taught that all conditioned phenomena (ie. sensory experience) are 1) impermanent, 2) incapable of providing lasting happiness and 3) void of a permanent self.
  • Not seeing these characteristics, we easily enter into an unskillful relationship with life, expecting security and outcomes that life cannot provide.
  • We expect that a changing world will provide stablility and enduring happiness.  And we cling to a ‘sense-of-me’ that can find refuge within that pseudo-stability.
  • Ironically, when we release ourselves from a fixed reference of self-hood, and attune ourselves to the changing flow of Life, we find our sense of Being resting into a quality of ease that is independent of the changing scenery.
Practice Points:
  • In meditation and daily life, incline the awareness to notice points of resistance, the moments where the mind stages an argument with reality (Ie. “I don’t like this pain”, or “I could be happy if this niggling thought would go away”)
  • Feel the resistance, itself, and watch what happens when awareness is allowed to hold the resistance without resistance.


Great article to read, here, by Rodney Smith


Originally published on August 25, 2010