Is this person describing the 3 marks of existence in the right way.

What the Buddha showed was that the actual reality of “this world” is described by the three characteristics of anicca, dukkha, anatta: No matter how hard we try, we cannot maintain things to our satisfaction in the long term (anicca), thus we get distraught (dukkha), and thus we are not in control (anatta).

3 Answers 3


The three characteristics are characteristics of phenomena and are not related to mental reactions to things. "Dukkha" here does not mean "getting distraught". "Dukkha" meaning "getting distraught" pertains to the subject of the Four Noble Truths but not to the subject of the Three Characteristics.

For example, a motor car is impermanent. Because a motor car is impermanent, the motor car cannot bring lasting happiness. Therefore it is "dukkha" ("unable to bring happiness"). The impermanence of the motor car also makes it "not-self" because it cannot be permanently owned, possessed or controlled. To view a motor car in this way does not mean the viewer "gets distraught". For the Enlightened, it is the opposite. Their minds attain peace when understanding a motor car cannot bring lasting true happiness.

  • Ok thank you that made it clear for me. How would you describe impermanence does it mean that everything is constantly changing without stop or is it only changing when conditions that it depends on change and then when the conditions it depends on doesnt change it stays unchanged for a time until the conditions it depends on change again. Thanks for your answers they are really helping me understand. This is a beginner question but I recently started learning about Buddhism so all answers are valueable for me Aug 5, 2019 at 3:20
  • The Buddha was concerned with what is visible & knowable. Impermanence refers to the change that can be experienced. This said, impermanence is both of what you described: (i) constant change; and (ii) change when conditions change. Aug 5, 2019 at 3:22
  • what category do my body belong to constant change or change when conditions change in what sense is it considered impermanent because while I can get that thoughts and feelings can come and go my body is here always never coming and going. Or is it meant by impermanence of my body that this body will die or is it meant that it changes every second like atoms etc. Also what about the times when a feeling is problematic and it cant leave does it mean that it is permanent during these times because it cant leave. is it permanent during that time until a condition changes and makes it impermanent Aug 5, 2019 at 4:04
  • Its both. If you are able to constantly observe your breathing coming & going, you will see the body is constantly changing. This said, there are times major events happen to the body dependent on conditions (such as getting sick). Regards Aug 5, 2019 at 5:26

Above should be revised as:

Everything that is conditioned is impermanent (anicca), thus we get distraught (dukkha), and thus we are not in control (anatta).


Hello with much metta!!! The Buddha taught three truths that are omnipresent in Samsara.

These are: - Impermanence - Suffering - No-Self

IMPERMANENCE With every thought moment, everything in Samsara is never the exact same thing it is, nor different than what it is. Some conditioned things might seem the exact same for a while, but be assured, it is changing & with time, one can come to see this, it’s only very slowly changing. Nothing can ever be lost, only changed, just like us with our awareness & Rebirth!

SUFFERING Dukkha is caused by the lack of accepting impermanence. Everything you cling to dearly is but a debt that will be payed fully with, ultimately, every death. When one comes to see the nature of Samsara suffering will end & peace will take its place.

NO-SELF Nothing in Samsara exists independent of the mind or as an intrinsic thing. All things are dependent on each other. Rid one thing, and all cannot exist. This also includes you. You do not have “self,” you are but five impermanent aggregates mixed together: Consciousness, form (body), sensations, perceptions, & mental formations. There is no you. What continues for a Rebirth you say? Awareness, ever changing consciousness, streaming though Samsara until it finds a way to evaporate into Nibbana.

Hopefully this helps!

Thank you Venerable Buddha for showing us the Dhamma in this time!

May you have loving-kindness, generosity, & wisdom!

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