Outline the 3 Marks of Existence and explain how they could affect a Buddhist's attitude to life

Outline the 3 Marks of Existence and explain how they could affect a Buddhist's attitude to life

The Buddha taught that the 3 marks of existence are universal truths, thus they apply to all living beings. These three marks are dukkha, anicca and anatta.

Dukkha means suffering, or a general sense of dissatisfaction with life. The Buddha first identified this as inevitable when he left the palace and saw the four sights of old age, illness and death. He realised that dukkha would affect us all, and began to search for the truth. In Buddhism 3 types of dukkha are understood - ordinary, dukkha caused by impermanence and subtle dukkha. Ordinary dukkha refers to everyday experiences of suffering such as having a cold. The Buddha gained further insight into this when he looked deeper into the view of the man ploughing the field. He realised that on all levels, from the man to the worms, was dukkha. Dukkha caused by impermanence is also inevitable, as anicca affects all beings. Our attachments to things, feelings and situations cause dukkha because they do not last. For example, a relationship ending - we suffer because the person has changed or feelings have changed. By accepting this anicca-dukkha we can learn to cope with suffering and loss.

Anicca means impermanence and relates to the fact that all conditioned existence in samsara is impermanent. The only constant state is nibbana. Both living and non-living things are impermanent. For example, rocks weather and metal rusts, as well as humans ageing and snakes sheading their skin. We can learn to cope with this impermanence and it can motivate us to gain a state of enlightenment. The story pf Gotami and the Mustard Seed shows this as Gotami learns that suffering is inevitable and when she dealt with her loss by accepting anicca she was able to move on. This also highlights the belief that attachments are what cause dukkha.

Anatta is the concept of no self. The Buddha taught that we have no soul or continuing self that moves through the cycle pf samsara. We use the idea of 'me' as a convenience. The...

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