Saturday, May 6, 2017

A Meditation: on Impermanence

This is a post I was writing on Wednesday, during my lunch break at the office, before I became aware of the fire in the neighbor's garage and found myself without internet service to post it, in the evening.  I was writing it because one of my spiritual goals for May was to focus on meditations. 

Flowers for the Altar

In Buddhism, the concept of impermanence is a fundamental tenet.  All things, physical and mental, are subject to change.  Nothing is permanent; nothing stays the same.

With this tenet in mind, placing a vase of fresh flowers on the altar becomes an act of meditation. 

On Monday, I cut some fresh flowers from the garden and placed a vase of roses on the altar.  These symbolic offerings nurture generosity, which, in turn, cultivates non-attachment to the things being given to another.

As we do so, we recite a stanza, which states that we are honoring the Buddha with the presentation of these flowers and by that meritorious deed, may we receive release from the endless cycle of birth and death.

The stanza goes on to say, "Just as these flowers fade and die, so will our body undergo decay."

Thus, the flowers become a visual reminder of impermanence and thus, an act of meditation.

A Visual Meditation

Looking back, I find it eerie that I should be writing about change and impermanence, just before my neighbor's garage caught fire and could have spread to my own house!  Nothing like the threat of ones home catching fire to illustrate the concept of just how subject to change and how impermanent it can all be!


  1. I find it very interesting to learn about your practices in Buddhism. Thanks for sharing.

    1. My pleasure. I am glad you find it interesting. :)

  2. These thoughts sound like our Ash Wednesday ashes on our foreheads in my faith. I find death and birth so mysterious. Babies are so amazing and the thought of death is really just a journey to our heavenly home, yet so unknown. It is good to contemplate these things. Something we all need to do more often. Andrea

    1. Andrea, yes, the placement of ashes on Ash Wednesday is a reminder of our mortality, isn't it? That we are dust and will return to dust. Religions have their fundamental differences, of course, but yet, there are so many parallels, too!


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