The Sutra on Impermanence

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Sutra on Impermanence (Skt. Anityatāsūtra; Tib. མི་རྟག་པ་ཉིད་ཀྱི་མདོ།, mitakpa nyi kyi do, Wyl. mi rtag pa nyid kyi mdo) (Toh. 309) — In this brief sutra, the Buddha reminds his followers of one of the principal characteristics of samsaric existence: the reality of impermanence. The four things cherished most in this world, the Buddha says—namely good health, youth, prosperity, and life—are all impermanent. He closes his teaching with a verse, asking how beings, afflicted as they are by impermanence, can take delight in anything desirable, indirectly urging his disciples to practise the path of liberation.[1]


  1. 84000 Translating the Words of the Buddha


  • 84000.png Anityatāsūtra, མི་རྟག་པ་ཉིད་ཀྱི་མདོ། The Sūtra on Impermanence
  • The Tibetan canon contains two sūtras with the title Sūtra on Impermanence (mi rtag pa nyid kyi mdo), both found in the same section of the Kangyur (mdo sde, Toh 309 and 310). The sūtra translated here is the first, the shorter of the two and can be found in Toh 309, Degé Kangyur vol 72 (mdo sde, sa), folios 155a-155b. Sūtras with equivalent titles are also found in other Buddhist canons, but their contents differ substantially from the one translated here.
  • The Chinese Tripiṭaka contains two sūtras so entitled (Taishō Nos. 801 and 759)
  • In the Samyutta Nikāya of the Pāli canon, the collection of discourses grouped by themes, there are a number of different texts with the title Sutta on Impermanence (Pali. Aniccasutta).