The Four Marks of Existence

Impermanence, dukkha (suffering) and not-self have been the three marks of being or existence so far according to the canonical texts we find in the Pali canon. And many of us have gained a tremendous experiential background with impermanence, suffering, and not-self. I’d like to introduce a fourth mark of being which is “सुख ; sukha”, also translated with happiness, comfort, sperm, ease. I suggest that this term and its deeper meaning as an authentic positive, fulfilling state of being and as a qualifier of leading a meaningful life should be included as a fourth mark of existence. It is the intended result of cultivating the eightfold path. A perspective on the “human condition” – solely characterized by the previous three marks – lacks what is possible and vital to dharma practice (not only):
leading a life that flourishes out of the well of being freed from reactivity.

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