Three gates and Four marks are shown using these tearms -Impermanence, Suffering, Non-self, Voidness, Nirvana,Shunyata (Emptiness).

Some questions discuss them separatly. But some conflicts can see.

Quote from FullPeaceOrg

The Three marks of existence (Pali: tilakkhaṇa; Sanskrit: trilakṣaṇa), are these three characteristics (Theravada)

Impermanence (Anicca)
Suffering or unsatisfactoriness (Dukkha)
Non-self or not-self (Anatta)

This is a central teaching in Buddhism - completely understanding these three leads to the liberation of Nirvana/Nibbana. All sentient beings experience these marks of existence

Quote from Andrei

In an interesting twist, my present teacher, who comes from a Taoism-influenced non-sectarian tradition, speaks of Three Gates To Enlightenment, the experiential realizations one must go through on one's way to Completion:

  • Pain or Suffering. One must realize that life is painful and accept pain as necessary condition for one's growth. This involves dropping resistance that comes from seeing pain as important factor of one's decisions.
  • Impermanence or Transience. One must fully accept that nothing is permanent in one's life, and admit the inevitability of death. This involves dropping attachments to what one holds as dear.
  • Nothingness or Voidness. One must go through the realization that life is pointless and has no meaning in the absolute sense. This involves dropping fundamental preconceptions or imperatives about the purpose of one's life.

Quote from Three Marks of Mahayana

Most of the time in Mahayana (both Vajrayana and Zen) I hear of Four Marks of Existence: Transience, Unsatisfactoriness, Corelessness, and Nirvana. All four are subsumed under Shunyata (Emptiness) which is equated with Pratitya-Samutpada (Dependent Co-Arising).

Is something missing there?
Is there any common agreement?

1 Answer 1


Pretty generally speaking, realising the truth is enlightenment. So if the three(or four) marks of existence are true then realising them would be the gates to enlightenment.

The different sects of buddhism are forming distinct views and belief systems, which is not wise, this is what results in very confusing and difficult reading.

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