Understanding impermanence is essential for awakening to the dharma – the truth of the way things are. All conditioned phenomena that we experience are impermanent, which is part of the difficulty in life, yet it is perfectly normal.
In this talk, Eugene Cash begins with instruction for listening to any dharma talk: by relaxing but remaining aware. This is done by invoking the Satipatthana Sutta, or the Four Foundations of Mindfulness: awareness of the body, of feelings, of the mind, and of dhammas (phenomena themselves).
He discusses the concept of anicca, or impermanence, translated literally as “not eternal.” It can also be described as the transitory, momentary, fluid, or inconstant.
One classic Theravada description of awakening is cessation – meaning the cessation of consciousness. This is why we are not aware when it is unfolding – it is something that we only recognize after it ends, once we come back into awareness.
He goes on to quote Suzuki Roshi, founder of the San Francisco Zen Center, who said, “When I discovered no moment could be repeated, I was awakened.”
Eugene Cash is the founding teacher of the San Francisco Insight Meditation Community of San Francisco. He teaches at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and leads intensive meditation retreats internationally. His teaching is influenced by both Burmese and Thai streams of the Theravada tradition as well as Zen and Tibetan Buddhist practice. He is also a teacher of the Diamond Approach, a school of spiritual investigation and self-realization developed by A. H. Almaas.