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That is to say, I only remember of the pattern of anicca→dukkha→anatta (that which is impermanent and unsatisfactory cannot be considered Self, to paraphrase) in the suttas. Is there an argument that progresses from anicca to anatta (and then to dukkha), directly?

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No. The idea of anicca→anatta→dukkha is common on the internet, particularly on DW.

The characteristic of 'unsatisfactoriness' ('dukkha') is directly related to impermanence (anicca) given the Buddha asked in SN 22.59: "Can that which is impermanent bring (lasting) happiness?"

Yaṃ panāniccaṃ, dukkhaṃ vā taṃ sukhaṃ vā'ti? SN 22.59

Also, the realisations of anicca & dukkha were used to support the realisation of anatta.

Also, the realisation of 'anatta' brings liberation rather than 'dukkha'.

Therefore, the idea of anicca→anatta→dukkha has no basis in the teachings.

To be free from doubt here, the following suttas which mentioned dukkha with anicca, alone:

If they were to ask me this, friend, I would answer thus: ‘Friends, form is impermanent; what is impermanent is dukkha (unsatisfactory); what is dukkha has ceased and passed away. Feeling … Perception … Volitional formations … Consciousness is impermanent; what is impermanent is dukkha; what is dukkha has ceased and passed away.’ Being asked thus, friend, I would answer in such a way.”

“Good, good, friend Yamaka!

SN 22.85


Yadaniccaṃ taṃ dukkhaṃ; yaṃ dukkhaṃ tadanattā

What is impermanent is dukkhaṃ. What is dukkhaṃ is nonself.

SN 22.45 & 46


Soṇa, when any ascetics and brahmins, on the basis of form—which is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change—regard themselves thus....

SN 22.49


Bhikkhus, attend carefully to form. Recognize the impermanence of form as it really is. When a bhikkhu attends carefully to form and recognizes the impermanence of form as it really is, he experiences revulsion towards form...

SN 22.52


He does not understand as it really is impermanent form as ‘impermanent form’ … impermanent feeling as ‘impermanent feeling’ … impermanent perception as ‘impermanent perception’ … impermanent volitional formations as ‘impermanent volitional formations’ … impermanent consciousness as ‘impermanent consciousness.’

Dukkhaṃ rūpaṃ ‘dukkhaṃ rūpan’ti yathābhūtaṃ nappajānāti, dukkhaṃ vedanaṃ … dukkhaṃ saññaṃ … dukkhe saṅkhāre … dukkhaṃ viññāṇaṃ ‘dukkhaṃ viññāṇan’ti yathābhūtaṃ nappajānāti.

He does not understand as it really is painful form as ‘painful form’ … painful feeling as ‘painful feeling’ … painful perception as ‘painful perception’ … painful volitional formations as ‘painful volitional formations’ … painful consciousness as ‘painful consciousness.’

SN 22.55


“Bhikkhu, you should abandon desire for whatever is dukkhaṃ.” … SN 22.67

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  • 1
    (thank you for the '(lasting)', clears up the tiny bit of the original link that I was (un)consciously wobbling with! :) ).. given that all three marks are accepted as true (for their respective domains), is it possible to reasonably present anicca→anatta→dukkha? .. the law of transitivity still implies anicca→dukkha.. 'sabbe sankhara anicca....' doesn't work as neatly, but I was thinking from the point of view of modern science - anicca and anatta will be conceived as 'broader', more 'of physics', than the conscious perception of unsatisfactoriness.. Is such a reasoning implausible? – Ilya Grushevskiy Oct 8 '17 at 18:44
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    Thanks Ilya. I can't answer your question. As I posted, the view is common on Dhamma Wheel however I do not know the basis/rationale of the view. Kind regards – Dhammadhatu Oct 8 '17 at 18:54
  • Thank you, I will check out Dhamma Wheel for their thoughts! – Ilya Grushevskiy Oct 8 '17 at 19:12
  • You may not find the answer in Dhamma Wheel , but keep searching, and have an open mind. The answer is there. You must have heard of the phrase "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear." The day that you are ready for it you will get it. Dhamma is like a double edged sword. So in future I'll be extra careful when answering questions on Dhamma, as if it is taken as something of little worth, my answer will do more damage than good. – Saptha Visuddhi Oct 9 '17 at 3:25
  • anicca→anatta→dukkha is not the dhamma. The adherents to this on DW are incorrect therefore there is no teacher to appear. See here: dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?t=12219 (1st post) And here: dhammawheel.com//viewtopic.php?f=41&t=4210&start=160 (3rd post) and here: dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?t=11402 (2nd post). Notice most of the posters are the moderators. Its like a cult of wrong view (miccha ditthi). Maybe Saptha can join. – Dhammadhatu Oct 9 '17 at 4:46
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Ilya Grushevskiy, and those possible interested,

It's, to possible get a more impersonal access, mabe useful to try the use of different wording.

"unreal/for sure (anicca) -> unsatisfacting (dukkha) -> makes no sense/no real refuge (anatta)"

If trying this in the answers 'suggested' way:

"unreal -> makes no sense -> unsatisfacting", it wouldn't work that smooth and reasonable.

How ever, each of it when seen clearly, dewel-loped, would lead to release, so it might be not proper to say wrong, althought the usual pattern, is given with the first.

So it's good not to get caught up in thoughts which are actually anicca, but to try to penetrate what ever the mind can good focus on.

"'The perception of stress in what is inconstant, when developed & pursued, is of great fruit, of great benefit. It gains a footing in the Deathless, has the Deathless as its final end': Thus was it said. In reference to what was it said?

"'The perception of not-self in what is stressful, when developed & pursued, is of great fruit, of great benefit. It gains a footing in the Deathless, has the Deathless as its final end': Thus was it said. In reference to what was it said?

"'The perception of inconstancy, when developed & pursued, is of great fruit, of great benefit. It gains a footing in the Deathless, has the Deathless as its final end': Thus was it said. In reference to what was it said?

All just a matter of Sañña

...taking it for sure (nicca), one might even take on sticks and swords, miss the path eternaly just for being further unsatisfied and without refuge, staying meaningless.

Better to make the Dhamma really ones own at first place, before defending of what is not ones own yet, but just another Sañña

Why desire and passion connected with ~ is worth abandoning: SN 27.6

At Savatthi. "Monks, any desire-passion with regard to perception (naming, labeling) of forms is a defilement of the mind. Any desire-passion with regard to perception of sounds... perception of aromas... perception of flavors... perception of tactile sensations... perception of ideas is a defilement of the mind. When, with regard to these six bases, the defilements of awareness are abandoned, then the mind is inclined to renunciation. The mind fostered by renunciation feels malleable for the direct knowing of those qualities worth realizing."

[Note: This is a gift of Dhamma, not meant for commercial purpose or other low wordily gains by means of trade and exchange]

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