Sunday, April 12, 2009
The three marks of existence go into a bar
The three marks of existence are ways of framing reality. Through paying attention to what arises moment to moment, within the frame of a settled body and mind, we come to understand them as experiences, not as theoretical constructs. The Pali words, used in the early Buddhist sutras, are dukkha, annicca and anatta. Dukkha means unsatisfactoriness, things being out of alignment. (The original meaning comes from the sound a cart makes when one of the wheels is a little bit off-balance: dook, dook, dook.) Annicca is the truth of impermanence, and and anatta is the recognition that there is no fixed self that abides through time. After a talk I gave about the three marks at the Berwick Street Zendo the other night, my husband and fellow teacher David Rynick, and my colleague at the Center for Mindfulness, Florence Meleo-Meyer, came up with this joke:
Dukkha, Annicca and Anatta go into a bar. Dukkha says, "life sucks!" Annicca says, "it won't last." Anatta says, "Are you talking to me?"