Author Topic: What is the cause of the impermanence?  (Read 1469 times)

Offline Rahul

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What is the cause of the impermanence?
« on: January 03, 2018, 11:32:49 pm »
Impermanence is one of the marks of the existence. And impermanence is a cause of lot of misery in life. But what is the cause of the impermanence? Any sutta that explains anything in this regards?

Offline Chaz

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Re: What is the cause of the impermanence?
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2018, 04:35:02 am »
Impermanence is one of the marks of the existence. And impermanence is a cause of lot of misery in life. But what is the cause of the impermanence? Any sutta that explains anything in this regards?

Do you want to know or are you testing?

Have you tried Google?

I can hardly wait for what ground provides for a non-pithy, quasi-clever response.

I think mind causes impermanence.

Offline loopix

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Re: What is the cause of the impermanence?
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2018, 07:11:30 am »
well, what is the cause of karma? where does mind originate? i guess it's just the way things are, some things are still a mystery... until some genius provides a satisfying answer to questions like these, i think they will remain mysteries. and that is not allways bad.. it would suck not to have ability to wonder  :spiderman:

Offline loopix

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Re: What is the cause of the impermanence?
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2018, 07:14:18 am »
Impermanence is one of the marks of the existence. And impermanence is a cause of lot of misery in life. But what is the cause of the impermanence? Any sutta that explains anything in this regards?


I think mind causes impermanence.


for that to be true, you would need trees, water, fire, and anything except space to have mind... does it? :)

Offline Anemephistus

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Re: What is the cause of the impermanence?
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2018, 09:24:08 am »
I'm pretty sure that Causation is the cause of impermanence:

There are two answers which come to mind with regards to this questions from my perspective. The first is about Samsara (The cycle of birth and death)
Quote
Where there is birth there is death, which is full of suffering.  The endless cycle of rebirth, known as samsara, is a result of desires arising from delusion.


Source:

http://buddhajewel.org/teachings/sutras/sutra-on-impermanence/

This is where having a mind is causation, because it results in Samsara for living beings as a matter of faith. I have faith in this to a degree, and so I see it as a matter of function. 

The second answer is somewhat more directly observable and is partly why I have a measure of faith that the first is correct.

Observably, life is a complex interwoven pattern of matter and energy. By matter I mean what matter the body is made of and the interconnected nature of the origin of that matter in stars and through the history of the cosmos. By energy I mean calories and the various measurable forms of the potential a physical system has to change by atomic momentum either inherited by the system or introduced from elsewhere in the universal system. DNA is a propagating mechanism that has a trait which defines what form matter will take when through a biological process, borrowed matter is converted into a living being using DNA as a blueprint.

Being bound and limited creatures using borrowed matter from other sources to build bodies based on the blueprints supplied by our DNA means that we share similar inherent traits if all goes well. We have ten fingers, we can see, we can hear. Not that it always goes well but lets assume for the sake of looking at the big picture that it usually does. The exact mechanism of how DNA came about is intriguing and unanswered. The important issue to my mind is that it is a physical phenomenon and observable and describable to a great extent and the result of its study produces reliable results which can be replicated. Being subject to this physical reality means that we age as the telomeres of our DNA being to fail and our cells die as we are not a life form which maintains the presence of telomerase which is species dependent.

On a larger scale: Things like mountains are cut by rivers and eroded by wind, and pulled apart or pressed higher by the movement of the earth. I live in an area of great plains and work in a stone building, there is little water on the ground here. But once, eons ago, we were at the bottom of a great ocean, and the limestone of the building I work in has shell fish fossils in it all over the place if I look around a little.

On a much larger scale All things are subject to causation. It's like cause and effect in the physical sense. If the universe were sitting perfectly still I would think maybe it was permanent, but it does not sit still and is very much in movement. All things in this physical reality will eventually succumb to entropy and the universe will run out of energy unless science is missing a phenomenon where energy is being created outside what we as humans understand as the system of the universe. Because it uses energy, eventually it will succumb to heat death. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telomere
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telomerase
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_death_of_the_universe

In a mental/social sense ideas cause things.

The weapons of mankind's possible annihilation were born out of self and other and a craving to apply these things to each other instinctively. It came along side us as we became human. It stayed with us because when we were in caves and there was not enough food, killing others and taking their hunting grounds became a do or die activity when there was not enough to feed all of us. Those who ran from our killing hated us for taking the lives of their loved ones. It evolved along side us socially and while our desire to communicate with loved ones became cellphones and our want to be healthy became medicine, our desire to be superior and the divisions we imagine became nuclear weapons and fuel/air explosives. All of this was cause and effect without application of the Principles the Buddha taught.

Causation is everywhere, your question caused answers etc... But the important thing and the one that was at the top of this post is that we get stuck in the cycle of Samsara by not learning then realizing then applying the teachings. Like I said, this is a matter of faith, becoming free from birth, death, and rebirth. The insight that the Buddha offered which is some 2500-3000 years old about causation turned out to be universally true...which gives me some faith in his teaching, that he saw this matters to me. 

In my opinion It's important to know that your thoughts, my thoughts, our thoughts arise for reasons. They are caused. Evaluating those causes helps us to understand ourselves, our thoughts, our inner nature and the outside world. It helps compassion grow when we see that a being has done something and that there was always a reason, even if it's a bad reason, we see what cause made them think it was a good one. Look deep at interconnected causation and I think every action dependent on another action is there. Even the physical ones which are on a grand scale.

Because they arise from causes they are impermanent, everything with a cause is impermanent. 

« Last Edit: January 04, 2018, 09:39:44 am by Anemephistus »

Offline Rahul

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Re: What is the cause of the impermanence?
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2018, 10:40:21 pm »
I have no interest in testing anyone's knowledge. Everything can be Googled, but that's not what everyone wants for various reasons, nor Googling always answers the question at hand satisfactorily.

Offline Anemephistus

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Re: What is the cause of the impermanence?
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2018, 06:13:34 pm »
I have no interest in testing anyone's knowledge. Everything can be Googled, but that's not what everyone wants for various reasons, nor Googling always answers the question at hand satisfactorily.

The underlying knowledge came from an interest in science, the references were Googled to support the statements because I do not have a certificate for this type of knowledge.

The placement of the information... Except  for the telemere info which was recent to me, came from a mediation practice that I engaged in, focused on the the interconnected nature of material things, impermanence, and interdependent co-arising circumstances of socioeconomic and sociopolitical factors which contribute to beings in a way to make them more understandable from my perspective.

https://www.lionsroar.com/the-fullness-of-emptiness/

With respect,
I decided to post an explanation of what I had considered.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2018, 07:44:12 pm by Anemephistus »

Offline Anemephistus

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Re: What is the cause of the impermanence?
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2018, 07:14:08 pm »
On a much larger scale All things are subject to causation. It's like cause and effect in the physical sense. If the universe were sitting perfectly still I would think maybe it was permanent, but it does not sit still and is very much in movement. All things in this physical reality will eventually succumb to entropy and the universe will run out of energy unless science is missing a phenomenon where energy is being created outside what we as humans understand as the system of the universe. Because it uses energy, eventually it will succumb to heat death. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telomere
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telomerase
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_death_of_the_universe

Because they arise from causes they are impermanent, everything with a cause is impermanent.

This is the current understanding of the universe. Though I have some questions regarding this.

If potential action defines the universe, wouldn't movement be a natural occurrence?

I see it as: Nothing defines the very beginning of beginnings, there is not even empty space, therefore potential action dictates anything can be anything and vibration puts reality in motion. Borrowed energy is visible to life, as we borrow nutriments from the surrounding environment to exist as beings, but if movement is a natural occurrence, there shouldn't be an end. Unless the bounds of created reality negates the first potential action which would indeed result in natural eternal recurrence of expansion and contraction.

It seems I answered my own question.

You did, and very nicely I think. I have only considered as far as the subjective end of this universe for the purpose of delevoping my own understanding. Still, a wonderful consideration, I don't know if universal tidal force will create contraction or not, but it is a neat thought.

I like "borrowed energy is visible to life as we borrow nutriments from the surrounding environment"

Its very true, and I have struggled a lot to explain this to people in my life. Thank you for the eloquent way of framing this idea!
« Last Edit: January 05, 2018, 07:58:26 pm by Anemephistus »

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: What is the cause of the impermanence?
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2018, 04:57:51 pm »
Here is a definition and a few WIKI's, which explain:

Entropy:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Introduction_to_entropy

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entropy

Genera Definition of Entropy:

Quote
As a measure of disorder: Traditionally, 20th century textbooks have introduced entropy as order and disorder so that it provides "a measurement of the disorder or randomness of a system". It has been argued that ambiguities in the terms used (such as "disorder" and "chaos") contribute to widespread confusion and can hinder comprehension of entropy for most students. On the other hand, "disorder" may be very clearly defined as the Shannon entropy of the probability distribution of microstates given a particular macrostate,[1]:p.379 in which case the connection of "disorder" to thermodynamic entropy is straightforward, but not immediately obvious to anyone unfamiliar with information theory.
Energy dispersal: A more recent formulation associated with Frank L. Lambert describes entropy as energy dispersal.[3] As with "disorder", the meaning of the term "dispersal" must be taken in a very specific way, which is quite different than the lay meaning of "dispersal". While an increase in entropy is often associated with a spatial reduction in the concentration of the energy density, and never with an increase, counterexamples exist which illustrate that the concept of "dispersal" is not immediately obvious. Most counterexamples may be included in the concept of "dispersal" when the "space" in which the dispersal occurs includes the space of quantum energy levels versus population numbers, but this reduces the effectiveness of the spreading concept as an introduction to the concept of entropy.
As a measure of energy unavailable for work: This is an often-repeated phrase which requires considerable clarification in order to be understood. It is not true except for cyclic reversible processes and is in this sense misleading. Given a container of gas, ALL of its internal energy may be converted to work. (More accurately, the amount of work that may be converted can be made arbitrarily close to the total internal energy.) More precisely, for an isolated system comprising two closed systems at different temperatures, in a process of equilibration the amount of entropy lost by the hot system is a measure of the amount of energy lost by the hot system that is unavailable for work. As a description of the fundamental nature of entropy, it can be misleading in this sense.

What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline Chaz

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Re: What is the cause of the impermanence?
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2018, 05:44:46 pm »
Here is a definition and a few WIKI's, which explain:

Entropy:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Introduction_to_entropy

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entropy

Genera Definition of Entropy:

Quote
As a measure of disorder: Traditionally, 20th century textbooks have introduced entropy as order and disorder so that it provides "a measurement of the disorder or randomness of a system". It has been argued that ambiguities in the terms used (such as "disorder" and "chaos") contribute to widespread confusion and can hinder comprehension of entropy for most students. On the other hand, "disorder" may be very clearly defined as the Shannon entropy of the probability distribution of microstates given a particular macrostate,[1]:p.379 in which case the connection of "disorder" to thermodynamic entropy is straightforward, but not immediately obvious to anyone unfamiliar with information theory.
Energy dispersal: A more recent formulation associated with Frank L. Lambert describes entropy as energy dispersal.[3] As with "disorder", the meaning of the term "dispersal" must be taken in a very specific way, which is quite different than the lay meaning of "dispersal". While an increase in entropy is often associated with a spatial reduction in the concentration of the energy density, and never with an increase, counterexamples exist which illustrate that the concept of "dispersal" is not immediately obvious. Most counterexamples may be included in the concept of "dispersal" when the "space" in which the dispersal occurs includes the space of quantum energy levels versus population numbers, but this reduces the effectiveness of the spreading concept as an introduction to the concept of entropy.
As a measure of energy unavailable for work: This is an often-repeated phrase which requires considerable clarification in order to be understood. It is not true except for cyclic reversible processes and is in this sense misleading. Given a container of gas, ALL of its internal energy may be converted to work. (More accurately, the amount of work that may be converted can be made arbitrarily close to the total internal energy.) More precisely, for an isolated system comprising two closed systems at different temperatures, in a process of equilibration the amount of entropy lost by the hot system is a measure of the amount of energy lost by the hot system that is unavailable for work. As a description of the fundamental nature of entropy, it can be misleading in this sense.

Entropy, Ron, really?  We're talking about impermanence (in the Buddhist context) not decay or some "measure of disorder".  Or, have you abanoned the Dharma?

Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: What is the cause of the impermanence?
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2018, 06:02:37 am »
Our nature is to impose permanence where none exists. The result of which causes the kind of suffering we are talking about. Buddhism seeks to redress this imbalance in thinking by showing that everything is impermanent, everything is change. Done in the right way, this can be very liberating, eliminating this particular source of suffering.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Offline Anemephistus

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Re: What is the cause of the impermanence?
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2018, 01:26:50 pm »
The reason I noted this concept was because the universe is observabley expanding, but there is no known process in which new energy is created, just "work" in the thermodynamic sense. Eventually, according to some understandings produced by measurement and science the universe runs out of free energy and all "work" stops. Nothing moves anymore. All things in this reality become still.

This is by definition impermanence. The state after this event cannot be relevant to any being involved in existing within this reality in my opinion, but it's a fun thing to consider sometimes too.

 I could be wrong and I accept that, but I see no separation between Buddhist teachings and observable truths where they coincide. There are spiritual cosmologies which are not scientific and there are scientific principles which are not Buddhist, but in principle, impermanence and causation are not contained within one vehicle or the other. These seem to be present in both.

Long ago, wiser people than me heard the teachings the Buddha gave. They came to conclusions about an interconnected reality in which nothing has a true inherent self. As far as I recall the teaching, they understood that nothing was permanent that had a cause.  Knowing this and believing in it, I am not surprised at it being in accordance with the measurements of scientific evidence. Atomic structure, matter born in the heart of stars, the laws of physical cause and effect, the behavior of the brain and the impact of genetic legacy... And the end of a reality based on these things... It seems relevant to me.

I chose a faith that I believe in,  and I accept that I am not the best Buddhist person I could be... Possibly not even a very good Buddhist person but I think that the Buddha taught what we need to know and realize and practice in order to reach a stage of being that is the best we can achieve.

Before I could start to accept the possibility that Samsara might be a real thing I had to see that the person who claimed to understand such matters was worth listening to. When I read what I could perceive of his understanding I had to use the knowledge at my disposal to grasp it, there was no other person who could do it for me. The Buddha asserted truths about the nature of reality, as well as spiritual life and growth. We verified some of this in other ways and I hope that he rest is verifiable in ways yet to come. Until then I have a measure of faith, but I don't speak with certainty. Entropy seems to fit into an understanding of reality in a relevant manner to me.

Impermanence is observable in life and in phenomenon of all sorts, the vehicle of understanding its relevance is Buddhist, the measurements taken that verify the concept as universal are scientific. But it is also fun to be able to live in a time where we have access to the information to see what might be at the end of everything!

Offline Chaz

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Re: What is the cause of the impermanence?
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2018, 02:31:55 pm »
Our nature is to impose permanence where none exists. The result of which causes the kind of suffering we are talking about. Buddhism seeks to redress this imbalance in thinking by showing that everything is impermanent, everything is change. Done in the right way, this can be very liberating, eliminating this particular source of suffering.

I don't think change is quite right.  "Change" implies continuity.  Something can change but still retain a certain unchanging essence.  IOW, to say "I" change implies the that "You" continue, but in some changed state.  This is not imprmanence.  I'm permanenece means that whatever phenomenon arises in the moment ceases.  It doesn't "Change".  It ceases.  It does not last.

Now, Raul asked for our take on what causes impermanence - what is the cause for arising and cessation.

Do you have a take on that?

Offline Rahul

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Re: What is the cause of the impermanence?
« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2018, 08:50:50 pm »
I have no interest in testing anyone's knowledge. Everything can be Googled, but that's not what everyone wants for various reasons, nor Googling always answers the question at hand satisfactorily.

The underlying knowledge came from an interest in science, the references were Googled to support the statements because I do not have a certificate for this type of knowledge.

The placement of the information... Except  for the telemere info which was recent to me, came from a mediation practice that I engaged in, focused on the the interconnected nature of material things, impermanence, and interdependent co-arising circumstances of socioeconomic and sociopolitical factors which contribute to beings in a way to make them more understandable from my perspective.

https://www.lionsroar.com/the-fullness-of-emptiness/

With respect,
I decided to post an explanation of what I had considered.

My comment was in reply to IdelChatter who was asking me if I had Googled.

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: What is the cause of the impermanence?
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2018, 09:21:56 pm »
Quote
Idlechater:  "Entropy, Ron, really?  We're talking about impermanence (in the Buddhist context) not decay or some "measure of disorder".  Or, have you abanoned the Dharma?"

The main definition of "The Dhamma", my good but usually contentious friend is "the truth":

Quote
living according to the Dhamma, living in truth

Quote
The Dhamma, the truth taught by the Buddha, is uncovered gradually through sustained practice. The Buddha made clear many times that Awakening does not occur like a bolt out of the blue to the untrained and unprepared mind. Rather, it culminates a long journey of many stages:[1].

Quote
Nowadays, when Buddha-dhamma is being disseminated, there should be only one basis of teaching relating to the Middle Way or the Eightfold Path: the practice of morality, concentration, and acquisition of profound knowledge, and the Four Noble Truths.

Quote
"'Dhamma-teacher, Dhamma-teacher' they say, Lord." "If, monk, anyone teaches a doctrine of disenchantment[1] with decay-and-death, of dispassion[2] [leading to] its cessation, that suffices for him to be called a monk who teaches Dhamma.[3].

Quote
That which the Buddha preached, the Dhamma kat) e)coxh/n, was the order of law of the universe, immanent, eternal, uncreated, not as interpreted by him only, much less invented or decreed by him, but intelligible to a mind of his range, and by him made so to mankind as bodhi: revelation, awakening.
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

 


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