Anicca: 9 definitions


Anicca means something in Buddhism, Pali, Jainism, Prakrit, Jainism, Prakrit. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

Source: Access to Insight: A Glossary of Pali and Buddhist TermsInconstant; unsteady; impermanent.Source: Dhamma Dana: Pali English Glossary

T (That doesnt last). Characteristic of impermanence in all things.

anicca is an unescapable law owing to the fact that all that which does appear in the world or to consciousness must forcibly have an origination, a certain duration and enter un stage of decay. Here we deal with the second among the three characteristics.

See also: anicca

Source: Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines

'impermanent' (or, as abstract noun, aniccatā, 'impermanence') is the first of the three characteristics of existence (tilakkhana, q.v.). It is from the fact of impermanence that, in most texts, the other two characteristics, suffering (dukkha) and not-self (anattā), are derived (S.22. 15; Ud.IV. I)

"Impermanence of things is the rising, passing and changing of things, or the disappearance of things that have become or arisen. The meaning is that these things never persist in the same way, but that they are vanishing dissolving from moment to moment" (Vis.M. VII, 3).

Impermanence is a basic feature of all conditioned phenomena, be they material or mental, coarse or subtle, one's own or external: All formations are impermanent" (sabbe sankhārā aniccā; M. 35, Dhp. 277). That the totality of existence is impermanent is also often stated in terms of the five aggregates (khandha, q.v.), the twelve personal and external sense bases (āyatana q.v.), etc. Only Nibbāna (q.v.), which is unconditioned and not a formation (asankhata), is permanent (nicca, dhuva).

The insight leading to the first stage of deliverance, Stream-entry (sotāpatti; s. ariya-puggala), is often expressed in terms of impermanence: "Whatever is subject to origination, is subject to cessation" (s. Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta, S.46. 11). In his last exhortation, before his Parinibbāna, the Buddha reminded his monks of the impermanence of existence as a spur to earnest effort: "Behold now, Bhikkhus, I exhort you: Formations are bound to vanish. Strive earnestly!" (vayadhammā sankhārā, appamādena sampādetha; D. 16).

Without the deep insight into the impermanence and insubstantiality of all phenomena of existence there is no attainment of deliverance. Hence comprehension of impermanence gained by direct meditative experience heads two lists of insight knowledge: 

  • (a) contemplation of impermanence (aniccānupassanā) is the first of the 18 chief kinds of insight (q.v.); 

  • (b) the contemplation of arising and vanishing (udayabbayānupassanā-ñāna) is the first of 9 kinds of knowledge which lead to the 'purification by knowledge and vision of the path-progress' (s. visuddhi, VI). - 

Contemplation of impermanence leads to the conditionless deliverance (animitta-vimokkha; s. vimokkha). As herein the faculty of confidence (saddhindriya) is outstanding, he who attains in that way the path of Stream-entry is called a faith-devotee (saddhānusārī; s. ariya-puggala) and at the seven higher stages he is called faith-liberated (saddhā-vimutta), - See also anicca-saññā.

See The Three Basic Facts of Existence I: Impermanence (WHEEL 186/187)

context information

Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).

Discover the meaning of anicca in the context of Theravada from relevant books on Exotic India

General definition (in Buddhism)

Source: WikiPedia: Buddhism

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, even gods.

(Sanskrit: anitya; Pali: anicca; Tibetan: mi rtag pa; Chinese: wuchang; Japanese: mujo; Thai: anitchang)

According to the impermanence doctrine, human life embodies this flux in the aging process, the cycle of birth and rebirth (samsara), and in any experience of loss. The doctrine further asserts that because things are impermanent, attachment to them is futile, and leads to suffering (dukkha). Under the impermanence doctrine, all compounded and constructed things and states are impermanent.

Buddhists hold that the only true end of impermanence is nirvana, the reality that knows no change, decay or death.

Impermanence is intimately associated with the doctrine of anatta, according to which things have no fixed nature, essence, or self.

Source: Buddhism Tourism: Glossary of Buddhist Terms

One amongst the traditional three marks of conditioned existence taught in Buddhas second sermon. Most simply, it it implies that everything is in contual process of change.

Source: Amaravati: Glossary

(a nic cah)impermanent, transitory; one of the three characteristics of all worldly phenomena, according to the Buddha

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

Source: The University of Sydney: A study of the Twelve Reflections

Aṇicca (अणिच्च) [=aṇiccatta?] (Sanksrit: Anitya) refers to “(reflection on) impermanence” and represents one of the four types of “virtuous meditation” (dhammajhāṇa), a classification of the “meditation” (Jhāṇa), according to the Sthānāṅga Sūtra chapter 4.1.—The classification of meditation in the Sthānāṅga Sūtra comprises four kinds [e.g. “virtuous” (dhamma/dharma)]. [...] The four reflections that are prescribed for virtuous meditation are (dhammajhāṇa), [e.g., reflection on impermanence (aṇicca-aṇuppehā/anitya-anuprekṣā), ...].—Cf Aupapātika Sūtra and Bhagavatī (Bhagavaī), also known as the Vyākhyāprajñapti (Viyāhapannatti).

General definition book cover
context information

Jainism is an Indian religion of Dharma whose doctrine revolves around harmlessness (ahimsa) towards every living being. The two major branches (Digambara and Svetambara) of Jainism stimulate self-control (or, shramana, ‘self-reliance’) and spiritual development through a path of peace for the soul to progess to the ultimate goal.

Discover the meaning of anicca in the context of General definition from relevant books on Exotic India

Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

anicca : (adj.) not stable; impermanent.

Pali book cover
context information

Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

Discover the meaning of anicca in the context of Pali from relevant books on Exotic India

Prakrit-English dictionary

Source: DDSA: Paia-sadda-mahannavo; a comprehensive Prakrit Hindi dictionary

Aṇicca (अणिच्च) in the Prakrit language is related to the Sanskrit word: Anitya.

context information

Prakrit is an ancient language closely associated with both Pali and Sanskrit. Jain literature is often composed in this language or sub-dialects, such as the Agamas and their commentaries which are written in Ardhamagadhi and Maharashtri Prakrit. The earliest extant texts can be dated to as early as the 4th century BCE although core portions might be older.

Discover the meaning of anicca in the context of Prakrit from relevant books on Exotic India

See also (Relevant definitions)

Relevant text

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: