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Three Marks of Existence
In Buddhism, the three marks of existence are three characteristics (Pali: tilakkha?a; Sanskrit: trilak?a?a) of all existence and beings, namely impermanence (anicca), unsatisfactoriness or suffering (dukkha), and non-self (anatt?). These three characteristics are mentioned in verses 277, 278 and 279 of the Dhammapada. That humans are subject to delusion about the three marks, that this delusion results in suffering, and that removal of that delusion results in the end of suffering, is a central theme in the Buddhist Four Noble Truths and Noble Eightfold Path.
According to Thich Nhat Hanh, the 3 sels are impermanence, non-self and nirvana. He says in "The heart of the Buddha's Teaching" that "In several sutras the Buddha taught that nirvana, the joy of completely extinguishing our ideas and concepts, rather than suffering, is one of the Three Dharma Seals."
The three marks are:sabbe sa?kh?r? anicc? -- "all sa?kh?ras (conditioned things) are impermanent"
sabbe dhamm? anatt? -- "all dharmas (conditioned or unconditioned things) are not self"
sabbe sa?kh?r? dukkh? -- "all sa?kh?ras are unsatisfactory"
But according to Thic Nhat Hanh, this is a mistake. The third is
nirvana - "the joy of completely extinguishing our ideas and concepts, rather than suffering, is one of the Three Dharma Seals."
Impermanence (Pali anicca, Sanskritanitya) means that all conditioned things (sa?kh?ra) are in a constant state of flux. Buddhism states that all physical and mental events come into being and dissolve. Human life embodies this flux in the aging process, the cycle of repeated birth and death (Samsara), nothing lasts, and everything decays. This is applicable to all beings and their environs, including beings who are reborn in deva (god) and naraka (hell) realms. This is in contrast to nirvana, the reality that is nicca, or knows no change, decay or death.
Dukkha (Sanskrit duhkha) means "unsatisfactoriness, suffering, pain". The dukkha includes the physical and mental sufferings that follows each rebirth, aging, illness, dying; dissatisfaction from getting what a being wishes to avoid or not getting the desired, and no satisfaction from Sankhara dukkha, in which everything is conditioned and conditioning, or because all things are not experienced as impermanent and without any essence.
Anatta (Sanskrit anatman) refers to the doctrine of "non-self", that there is no unchanging, permanent Self or soul in living beings and no abiding essence in anything or phenomena.
While anicca and dukkha apply to "all conditioned phenomena" (sa?kh?r?), anatt? has a wider scope because it applies to all dhamm? without "conditioned, unconditioned" qualification. Thus, nirvana too is a state of "without Self" or anatta. The phrase "sabbe dhamma anatta" includes within its scope each skandha (aggregate, heap) that compose any being, and the belief "I am" is a mark of conceit which must be destroyed to end all Dukkha. The Anatt? doctrine of Buddhism denies that there is anything called a 'Self' in any person or anything else, and that a belief in 'Self' is a source of Dukkha. Some Buddhist traditions and scholars, however, interpret the anatta doctrine to be strictly in regard to the five aggregates rather than a universal truth. Religious studies scholar Alexander Wynne calls anatt? a "not-self" teaching rather than a "no-self" teaching.
In Buddhism, ignorance of (avidy?, or moha; i.e. a failure to grasp directly) the three marks of existence is regarded as the first link in the overall process of sa?s?ra whereby a being is subject to repeated existences in an endless cycle of suffering. As a consequence, dissolving that ignorance through direct insight into the three marks is said to bring an end to sa?s?ra and, as a result, to that suffering (dukkha nirodha or nirodha sacca, as described in the third of the Four Noble Truths).
Gautama Buddha taught that all beings conditioned by causes (sa?kh?ra) are impermanent (anicca) and suffering (dukkha), and that not-self (anatt?) characterises all dhammas, meaning there is no "I", "me", or "mine" in either the conditioned or the unconditioned (i.e. nibb?na). The teaching of three marks of existence in the Pali Canon is credited to the Buddha.
^Richard Gombrich (2006). Theravada Buddhism. Routledge. p. 47. ISBN978-1-134-90352-8., Quote: "All phenomenal existence [in Buddhism] is said to have three interlocking characteristics: impermanence, suffering and lack of soul or essence."
^[a] Christmas Humphreys (2012). Exploring Buddhism. Routledge. pp. 42-43. ISBN978-1-136-22877-3. [b] Brian Morris (2006). Religion and Anthropology: A Critical Introduction. Cambridge University Press. p. 51. ISBN978-0-521-85241-8., Quote: "(...) anatta is the doctrine of non-self, and is an extreme empiricist doctrine that holds that the notion of an unchanging permanent self is a fiction and has no reality. According to Buddhist doctrine, the individual person consists of five skandhas or heaps - the body, feelings, perceptions, impulses and consciousness. The belief in a self or soul, over these five skandhas, is illusory and the cause of suffering." [c] Richard Gombrich (2006). Theravada Buddhism. Routledge. p. 47. ISBN978-1-134-90352-8., Quote: "(...) Buddha's teaching that beings have no soul, no abiding essence. This 'no-soul doctrine' (anatta-vada) he expounded in his second sermon."