CHAPTER 18 The Three Dharma Seals
(from "The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching" by Thich Nhat Hanh)
The Three Dharma Seals are impermanence, nonself, and nirvana.
* Impermanence is more than an idea. It is a practice to help us touch reality.
* We have to nourish our insight into impermanence all day long.
* What makes us suffer is wanting things to be permanent when they are not.
* Impermanence is what makes transformation possible. Thanks to impermanence, we can change suffering into joy.
* When we look deeply into nonself, we see that the existence of every single thing is possible only because of the existence of everything else. We see that everything else is the cause and condition for its existence. We see that everything else is in it.
* Nothing has a separate existence or a separate self. Everything has to inter-be with everything else.
* Nonself is not a doctrine or a philosophy. It is an insight that can help us live life more deeply, suffer less, and enjoy life much more. We need to live the insight of nonself.
* We should practice until we can see that each person is us, that we are not separate from others. This will greatly reduce our suffering.
* We are what we perceive. This is the teaching of nonself, of interbeing.
* Nonself means that you are made of elements which are not you.
(Impermanence and Nonself)
* From the point of view of time, we say "impermanence," and from the point of view of space, we say "nonself."
* The teachings of impermanence and nonself were offered by the Buddha as keys to unlock the door of reality.
* We have to see that the one is in the all and the all is in the one. We touch not only the phenomenal aspects of reality but the ground of being.
* Nirvana, the Third Dharma Seal, is the ground of being, the substance of all that is.
* A wave does not have to die in order to become water. Water is the substance of the wave. The wave is already water. We are also like that.
* Nirvana is the complete silencing of concepts. Nirvana is the extinction of all notions.
* Impermanence and nonself belong to the world of phenomena, like the waves. Nirvana is the ground of all that is.
* If you know how to use the tools of impermanence and nonself to touch reality, you touch nirvana in the here and the now.
* In our daily lives, we have to deal with these relative realities. But if we touch life more deeply, reality will reveal itself in a different way.
* Nirvana is a fan that helps us extinguish the fire of all our ideas, including ideas of permanence and self. That fan is our practice of looking deeply every day.
* Nirvana is release from the Eight Concepts, and also from their opposites — impermanence, nonself, Interdependent Co-Arising, emptiness, and the Middle Way. (Eight Concepts: birth, death, permanence, dissolution, coming, going, one, and many)
* Nirvana means pacifying, silencing, or extinguishing the fire of suffering. Nirvana teaches that we already are what we want to become. We don't have to run after anything anymore. We only need to return to ourselves and touch our true nature.
Thích Nhất Hạnh