Nothing remains the same for two consecutive moments. Heraclitus said we can never bathe twice in the same river. Confucius, while looking at a stream, said, "It is always flowing, day and night." The Buddha implored us not just to talk about impermanence, but to use it as an instrument to help us penetrate deeply into reality and obtain liberating insight.
We may be tempted to say that because things are impermanent, there is suffering. But the Buddha encouraged us to look again. Without impermanence, life is not possible. How can we transform our suffering if things are not impermanent? How can the situation in the world improve?
We need impermanence for justice and for hope. If you suffer, it is not because things are impermanent. It is because you believe things are permanent. When a flower dies, you don't suffer much, because you understand that flowers are impermanent. But you cannot accept the impermanence of your beloved ones, and you suffer deeply when they pass away. If you look deeply into impermanence, you will do your best to make them happy right now. Aware of impermanence, you become positive, loving and wise. Impermanence is good news.
Without impermanence, nothing would be possible. With impermanence, every door is open for change. Impermanence is an instrument for our liberation.
- Thich Nhat Hanh