Reflective Mindfulness – no independent existence

Two of the principles of Buddhism are impermanence and no independent existence. From time to time, I like to reflect about those two principles. Today, I want to speak about how you can reflect about the principle of no independent existence.

Everything is connected. We don’t live in a vacuum. My actions will often affect others as well. There is no independent existence. Currently I read the story of how Siddhartha became the Buddha. In this book, there is a nice example how to reflect about this principle.

Buddha speaks to some children and uses an apple as the object of reflection. He says that you can see everything in this apple. The apple would not exist without the tree. It would not exist without the clouds, because they bring the water to nourish the tree. There would not be an apple without the sun, and so on. You can think further about it and see that you can see the whole universe in this apple. I like this exercise as it provides context and helps me to connect myself with other humans and also everything else.

In the movie: Walk with me, Thich Nhat Hanh speaks to a little girl. She tells him that she misses her doggy dearly, who died recently. He tells her that her doggy is not really gone. He uses the example of a cloud. If she looks in the sky and sees a lovely cloud and she loves that cloud so much and don’t want it to disappear. But when it disappears, it is not really gone. The cloud will turn into rain, and the water might end up in her cup of tea. Maybe the dog turns into soil. and the soil will help flowers grow. This way you can see the dog in a flower.

This is a good way to deal with death. We won’t disappear. We were already a part in our ancestors, because without them we would not exist. We will also don’t cease to exist, as we will also be a part of the generations who will follow us.

I invite you to sit down and reflect about this concept and see what it does with you.


Have a wonderful day and take care!


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