using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Lions Roar : November 2009
SHAMBHALA SUN NoveMBer 2009 17 Human beings always want sometHing. we are con- tinually looking for pleasure and we are rarely satisfied with what we have. even being able to afford a great vacation is not what we thought it was going to be, because when we arrive at our desti- nation, we want a better room or better weather. we are unable to be content. this basic characteristic is related to imperma- nence and suffering. the buddha did not present suffering as the first noble truth just because he had figured out that everybody has a hard time in life. He said that there is something much deeper going on. we suffer because we are projecting the myth of permanence upon a situa- tion that is actually conditioned, selfless, and constantly changing. everything is interrelated and interdependent. there is nothing substantial and separate that we can lean upon. samsara, “the cycle of suffering,” is a direct result of our desire for permanence. in contemplating impermanence, we can see samsara for what it is. its conditioned quality produces an unstable environment. our response to that instability is grasping and the solidifica- tion of a “self.” the result is suffering, because we are relating to appearances as if they were independent and permanent, when in fact they are exactly the opposite. we are habitually fooled by phenomena in this way. For example, making a car is conditioned by having iron ore, technology, and workers. when these conditions come together, we have a new car. we are proud of this car. it is comfortable. it has air-conditioning. the windows work and the color is nice. People think we are a better person because we have this car, which makes us feel good. the car brings us pleasure. However, because it is conditioned, it is, by nature, impermanent. it is not going to last. yet even though we know it is going to rust and get old, somehow the car is real to us. every time we get a scratch on the car, we get upset. if somebody says they don’t like the color of the car, we feel angry or hurt. this car that was a source of pleasure has become a source of pain. the reason we contemplate the truth of impermanence is that we don’t quite believe it. looking at our relationship with the car, the buddha would say that we don’t understand how karma—causes and conditions—works. if we understood karma, we would realize that it’s the nature of things to come together and fall apart. but even die-hard buddhists are in the habit of looking at the world from the reference point of a solid and unchanging self. no matter how clear impermanence may be to our intellect, we tend to put ourselves into a trance, think- ing things are permanent. Contemplation helps us understand profound truths that we rarely consider, even though our life is contained by them. when we contemplate impermanence, it’s as if the teachings grab us by the collar, saying, “Just stop for a second and look at what’s really going on.” as we reflect on what is happening, we begin to realize that we are not lords of our own situation. if we were, we could make life happen the way we want. we would have control over phenomena. but that isn’t the case. every time we get what we want, it eventually dissolves. the meal at the fancy new restaurant gives us a stomachache. the cute baby be- comes a surly adolescent. we suffer pain because we organize our life around the concept of an enduring self in a solid world, even though all of it is simply ideas and forms coming in and out of existence. that’s the truth of our situation. as we continue to contemplate the conditioned nature of phenomena, we ask ourselves, “what do i think is real? Can i prove it is real? if that anger is real, it will be here tomorrow, the PHotobytomililJankoski Sakyong MiphaM Rinpoche is the spiritual leader of Shambhala, an international network of Buddhist meditation and retreat centers. he is the author of turning the mind into an ally and Ruling your world. The Myth of Permanence No matter how hard we try to solidify our lives, says Sakyong MiphaM Rinpoche, nothing stays the same or lasts forever. Our denial of this basic truth is the reason we suffer.