the '3 characteristics of existence', or signata, are impermanency (anicca),
suffering or misery (dukkha; s.
"Whether Perfect Ones appear in the world, or whether Perfect Ones do not
appear in the world, it still remains a firm condition, an immutable fact and
fixed law: that all constructions are impermanent, that all constructions are subject
to suffering, that everything is without a self'' (A. III, 134).
"What do you think, o monks: Is materiality (rūpa) permanent or
impermanent? - Impermanent, o Venerable One. - Are feeling (vedanā),
perception (saññā), mental constructions (sankhāra) and consciousness
(viññāna), permanent or impermanent? - Impermanent, o Venerable One.
"But that which is impermanent, is it something pleasant or painful? - It is
painful, o Venerable One.
"But, of what is impermanent, painful and subject to change, could it be
rightly said, 'This belongs to me, this am I, this is my ego'? - No, Venerable
"Therefore, whatever there is of materiality, feeling, perception, mental
constructions and consciousness, whether past, present or future, one's own or
external, gross or subtle, lofty or low, far or near, of all these things one
should understand, according to reality and true wisdom: 'This does not belong
to me, this am I not, this is not my ego' " (S. XXII, 59).
"In one who understands eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and all the remaining
constructions as impermanent, painful and no-self, in him the fetters (samyojana,
q.v.) are dissolved" (S. XXXV, 53).
It is the full comprehension of the 3 characteristics by direct meditative
experience which constitutes liberating insight. About their relation to the
three gateways ot liberation', s. vimokkha I .
For further details, s. anicca,
- The Three Signata, by Prof. O. H. de A. Wijesekera (WHEEL 20). -
- The Three Basic Facts of Existence: I-III (WHEEL BPS),
- Vis.M. XX, 13ff. 18ff; XXI, 47f, 67f.