Monday, August 11, 2008

Zen | 3 | Flux

"Impermanence is, of course, the essential fact which must be
first experienced and understood by practice."

Sayagyi U Ba Khin

Impermanence is one of the essential doctrines or Three marks of existence in Buddhism. The term expresses the Buddhist notion that every conditioned existence, without exception, is inconstant and in flux.

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.

If you suffer, it is not because things are impermanent. It is because you believe things are permanent. This concept as it relates to Zentrepreneurship is very important. It is Impermanence that defines the entrepreneur. It is through change, entrepreneurs can exist.

As most of the world is stuck in permanence, the Zentrepreneur finds strength and path by seeing the world in a constant state of flux. It is through this lens that the Zentrepreneur can tap into innovation and continue to strengthen their ability to see the invisible.

The Practice of Impermanence:

1. Observe how things around you are changing, and adapt your daily routine. In the last chapter we discussed the importance of focusing on a daily routine and to avoid creating dependency on hypothetical events in the future. However, what is also important is to address impermanence by adapting your routine. Watch yourself change, your colleagues, your customers and the market change each day, and you will find strength in impermanence.

2. Do not trust that everything you believe is true. Your experiences of the past have a powerful influence over what you believe to be true. By holding on to these truths you are practicing permanence. Re-affirm your thoughts and beliefs each day when you are faced with an important decision. It is not just experience that enables wisdom, but the ability to accept that impermanence exists in all things - even your own truths.

3. Don't just observe impermanence, accept your impermanence. As a Zentrepreneur you need to accept that everything is in flux. As the saying goes - "Men plan, God laughs." By being focused on the plan (e.g. the future) - you are not only not focusing on the NOW but also not practicing impermanence. Accept that your thoughts, ideas and ultimately your business will change.


All things we know are in a state of constant flux - Impermanence. The Zentrepreneur must adapt their daily routine to the flux around them, and also accept that they are impermenent as well.

Impermanence empowers you to make the changes necessary to build your path.

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