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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Impermanence \Im*per"ma*nence\, Impermanency \Im*per"ma*nen*cy\, n. Lack of permanence.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1796, from impermanent + -ence. Impermanency is from 1640s.


n. 1 Want of permanence or continued duration. 2 The quality or state of being impermanent.


n. the property of not existing for indefinitely long durations [syn: impermanency] [ant: permanence]


Impermanence, also called Anicca or Anitya, is one of the essential doctrines and a part of three marks of existence in Buddhism. The doctrine asserts that all of conditioned existence, without exception, is "transient, evanescent, inconstant". All temporal things, whether material or mental, are compounded objects in a continuous change of condition, subject to decline and destruction.

Anicca or impermanence is understood in Buddhism as the first of three marks of existence, the other two being dukkha (suffering, pain, unsatisfactoriness) and anatta (non-self, non-soul, no essence).

All physical and mental events, states Buddhism, come into being and dissolve. Human life embodies this flux in the aging process, the cycle of repeated birth and death ( Samsara), nothing lasts, and everything decays. This is applicable to all beings and their environs, including beings who have reincarnated in deva ( god) and naraka (hell) realms. This is in contrast to nirvana, the reality that is Nicca, or knows no change, decay or death.

Impermanence is intimately associated with the doctrine of anatta, according to which things have no essence, permanent self, or unchanging soul. The Buddha taught that because no physical or mental object is permanent, desires for or attachments to either causes suffering ( dukkha). Understanding Anicca and Anatta are steps in the Buddhist’s spiritual progress toward enlightenment.

Impermanence (album)

Impermanence is the twelfth album by Meredith Monk, released on March 18, 2008 through ECM New Series.

Usage examples of "impermanence".

The inevitable impermanence of every attempted solution led foreign statesmen to the conclusion that Samoa could be governed only by international agreement, and therefore a series of conferences was held between 1885 and 1889 to try to work out a formula.

In the beginning, there were always dislocations -- industries made obsolete, inflexible ruling classes displaced, a general aura of impermanence in the lives of the beings involved.

Her death in that transporter mishap was the defining moment that taught him the true impermanence of physical existence….

As always, mama-sans and older, more experienced courtesans gentled them, repeating the same dogma that Meikin was saying to Teko, Koiko's maiko, now in tears, who was to make her debut as a courtesan this night, "Dry your tears, Moonbeam, accept without thinking the sad impermanence of life, accept what lies ahead, laugh with your sisters, enjoy wine and song and your pretty clothes, gaze at the moon or at a flower and drift with the current of life like a gourd drifting downstream.

This tendency toward self-destructing impermanence lent to her romantic feelings the further quality of being transitory in the sense of being always poised with bags packed in readiness to depart.

Ah, a message of impermanence, a symbol saluting traditionthe power of the old ways of life and all that.