The three characteristics
Today is Vesak poya day, the day on which the Buddha achieved
Parinibbana. It is a day when many Buddhists go to temple and
contemplate about the religion. Here we give you a brief description of
the three characteristics (anicca, dukkha, anatta) or three common
properties that make up a true Buddhist.
Everything in the universe has three common properties: anicca,
dukkha, and anatta. People, animals, things, towns, mountains, planets,
stars, joy, money, knowledge, memories, everything you may imagine and
everything you can't imagine. Every possible thing is anicca, dukkha,
anatta. These three words are Pali words (Pali was the language spoken
by the Buddha). Let's together examine what they mean.
"Anicca " (pronunciation:"anicha") means "unpermanent". Nothing
possibly lasts forever without ending sometime. When you enjoy eating a
good chocolate cake, even if your pleasure lasts long, it can't last
forever. It's the same for everything else.
"Dukkha " (pronunciation: "dook-kha") means " suffering" or "unsatisfaction".
Nothing can be wholly satisfying. Everything in life includes a part of
suffering. Everything we do is always imperfect.
When a moment is pleasant and all is well suddenly there is a change
and does not last long. You enjoy something now because you were in pain
"Anatta " (pronunciation: "anat-ta") means "does not exist by
itself". Everything that exists and is the combination of several
things. When you admire a nice phone or a nice bike, this thing does not
exist by itself: it's just a combination of many other things.