What is worth desiring from the world when everything is impermanent ?

I can't even desire Nirvana , because I never get it. Here it states that I can not say Nibbana as mine or me or myself( I can not say I am in state of Nibbana and I can not say Nibbana as mine):

“He directly knows Nibbāna as Nibbāna. Having directly known Nibbāna as Nibbāna, he should not conceive himself as Nibbāna, he should not conceive himself in Nibbāna, he should not conceive himself apart from Nibbāna, he should not conceive Nibbāna to be ‘mine,’ he should not delight in Nibbāna. Why is that? Because he must fully understand it, I say.

( I am asking this question to understand the depths of knowledge... I am trying not to take delight in asking such questions.Buddha says one should not even take delight in Nibbana.)

  • 1
    This is like asking, what can I eat? You should rephrase the question to something more meaningful. Feb 16, 2018 at 16:36
  • Everything is impermanent. If I want food then that food will also be impermanent and cause of suffering. I want that which remains permanently with me. Feb 17, 2018 at 0:58
  • Note it as "wanting... wanting... wanting...". Then you will realize that there's no 'I' to begin with. Feb 17, 2018 at 1:22
  • @SankhaKulathantille "You" realize that there is no "I" to begin with. In other words "I" realize that there is no "I" to begin with. Therefore it will be foolish for me to want or desire anything. But can I say I don't want money or food ? -I don't want- also involves an "I". Feb 17, 2018 at 8:41
  • I do not realize. Realization happens. Feb 17, 2018 at 9:32

6 Answers 6


Let's forget for a moment about "I", and "wanting". Here are some:

Learn to practice the noble eightfold path.

Practice good deeds (and speech), and generosity, which are for example "a support for the mind".

I think that, when a monk is dying, another monk may be advised to remind him of his "attainments" -- perhaps it's such "attainments", and "good deeds", that are not (or that are less) impermanent.

As for "I can't even desire Nirvana , because I never get it" -- that seems like a contradiction, you know.

Imagine "I" is like a drop of water, and "Nibbana" is like an ocean. Then "I desire Nibbana" or "I can't desire Nibbana" is like saying, "I wish this drop of water would be as big as the ocean, as permanent as the ocean, but still be the same individual drop of water."

Then people around you are like, "Dude! Let it go! Put the drop in the ocean, already!" (or, depending on the school of Buddhism, maybe, "That drop of water is already like the ocean").

I think a reason why Buddhism teaches anatta is because it's the characteristics of "I" that are associated with suffering -- craving to have things is associated with suffering; seeing and being attached to (and wanting to be attached to) an impermanent "self" that's going to die is associated with suffering; and so on.

One advice, which I remember from long ago, is to treat your sense of self (or your body) like a wound -- you take care of it, you try to treat it so as to minimize suffering, but you don't love it, you don't become attached to it. And you don't say "I can't want to be healthy because then this wound (my sense of self) would disappear."

Also there's some middle way, for example this sutta or this sutta imply that some wanting is "right".

  • 1
    Great!! It is by relying on craving that we abandon the craving. It is not an endless path.I found my answer. Feb 17, 2018 at 14:03

Nibbana is not of the world. Nibbana is experienced by the mind & not by the self. In Buddhism, the 'self' is merely a thought (SN 22.81).

There is, bhikkhus, that base (sense experience) where there is no earth, no water, no fire, no air; no base consisting of the infinity of space, no base consisting of the infinity of consciousness, no base consisting of nothingness, no base consisting of neither-perception-nor-non-perception; neither this world nor another world nor both; neither sun nor moon. Here, bhikkhus, I say there is no coming, no going, no staying, no deceasing, no uprising. Not fixed, not movable, it has no support. Just this is the end of suffering.

Ud 8.1


You used to desire stuff from the world before you understood the Dhamma.

After you understood the Dhamma, you can and will still desire stuff from the world. The only difference is you do it in accordance with the Middle Way, the Noble Eightfold Path, the five precepts and principles of virtue (sila).

You don't suddenly stop desiring all stuff because they are impermanent. Rather, when you desire stuff, you do so with an understanding that they are all impermanent and suffering.

What is worth desiring? This understanding.


You can want to be strong instead of weak. You can want to be a master instead of victim of circumstances. You can want to learn to control your mind. You can want to help others feel less suffering, in both ways (external and internal help). You can want to know the truth from the myths.

This world is a dream and everything here is like a phantom, but you can use it as gym to practice. Even if impermanent, this is good exercise.

  • If I want to be strong then I will be strong but the strength will not last forever. If I want to be master then I will become Master but it will not last forever. If I want to control my mind then I will be able to do so but such a control will not last forever. Because Sabbe Sankhara Annica. Feb 17, 2018 at 1:07
  • Now if you think like this and look at your mind, what do you see?
    – Andriy Volkov
    Feb 17, 2018 at 1:57
  • I see that there is nothing worth identifying as myself or mine. I better quit desiring anything from the world. My mind, if it follows the conclusion strictly, will become dispassionate. Feb 17, 2018 at 8:26
  • That's right. Everything has one taste. Even one's thoughts come and go. There's comfort in that.
    – Andriy Volkov
    Feb 17, 2018 at 15:41
  • There is no one taste. Taste is Anatta. Thoughts are Anatta. Feb 17, 2018 at 16:21

Maybe, upon further analysis of the terms of your question, the yearning for an answer will just... fade away.

That in the world by which one is a perceiver of the world, a conceiver of the world—this is called the world in the Noble One’s Discipline. SN 35.116

Yet it is just within this fathom-long body, with its perception & intellect, that I declare that there is the cosmos, the origination of the cosmos, the cessation of the cosmos, and the path of practice leading to the cessation of the cosmos. AN 4.45


Isn't a paradox to say everything is impermanent? Doesn't the view "everything is impermanent" remain in your mind until you die? So, there you have it, you can have something permanent until you die.

You can also permanently (until you die) abstain from killing, abstain from taking what is not given, avoid sexual misconduct, abstain from false speech and refrain from intoxicating drinks and drugs. These precepts wouldn't have been given if it not possible to maintain them permanently. So, if you want these you have them permanently until you die.

But don't wish to be strong, rich or healthy permanently (until you die) that may not happen.

Edit: I misunderstood you, I thought you are asking permanence in this life, if you are looking for inherently permanent to be declared before you follow the five precept and the Nobel eightfold then the permanence you are looking is not declared by The Tathagata.

"In the same way, if anyone were to say, 'I won't live the holy life under the Blessed One as long as he does not declare to me that 'The cosmos is eternal,'... or that 'After death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist,' the man would die and those things would still remain undeclared by the Tathagata.

  • You say I can get few things but only until I die. But do I die ever ? I either take rebirth or attain Niravana. Feb 17, 2018 at 1:16
  • Buddhism does not each everything is impermanent. Buddhism teaches compounded things are impermanent. Feb 17, 2018 at 1:54
  • @Dheeraj Verma ... in that case you're looking for inherent permanence, I have edited the response.
    – user13061
    Feb 17, 2018 at 5:57
  • @ Dhammadhatu, in that case, please do declare to Mr. Dheeraj eternally permanent uncompounded thing.
    – user13061
    Feb 17, 2018 at 6:04

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