Contemplation of impermanence


The Buddha exhorted us to contemplate the impermanence of conditioned
 
realities. Contemplation of impermanence is not merely thinking
 
about impermanence, it is the direct knowledge of the arising and
 
falling away of a nama or rupa that appears, one at a time. We should
 
realize our ignorance of realities which appear one at a time. We know, for
 
example, that pain does not last, that it falls away. But do we know the
 
realities which are there when we have pain? There are different namas and
 
rupas when we feel pain. The rupa that is hardness may appear, or the
 
nama that is bodily painful feeling, or the nama that is mental unpleasant
 
feeling and that accompanies dosa-mula-citta (citta rooted in aversion). We
 
are ignorant of the different namas and rupas that arise and fall away when
 
we have pain, we usually think of an idea or concept of pain, we take it for
 
“my pain”. There must be a precise understanding of the difference
 
between nama and rupa before their arising and falling away can be
 
realized. The direct understanding of impermanence is a later stage of
 
insight-knowledge and this stage cannot arise before the first stage of
 
insight-knowledge: the knowledge of the difference between the
 
characteristic of nama and the characteristic of rupa. 


Topic 227