The Meaning of Mujō

mujo_inkan_sqrStone-stackMujō (無常) means ‘impermanence’ in Japanese. The Buddha taught that because all things within our lives and our world are constantly changing, it’s important to remember that nothing is permanent. By maintaining awareness of this basic truth, we can let go of attachments and learn to relax into the continual flow of life.

Mujō is the same as anicca, the word for ‘impermanence’ in Pāli, the language of the early Buddhist texts. According to the teachings of the Buddha, life is comparable to a river: a successive series of different moments, linked together to give the impression of one continuous flow. Life moves from cause to effect, one event to another, one state of existence to another, giving the impression that it is a continuous and unified movement, whereas in reality it is not.

The river of yesterday is not the same as the river of today. The river of this moment is not going to be the same as the river of the next moment. Life changes continuously.

“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it,
move with it, and join the dance.” ―Alan Watts