David Nichtern – Creativity, Spirituality & Making a Buck – Ep. 33 – The Three Marks of Existence


David Nichtern shares Buddha’s Three Marks of Existence—offering deep contemplation and prajna around interdependence, impermanence, & suffering.

In this special episode hand-plucked from Dharma Moon’s Mindfulness Teacher Training Program, host and monologist, Michael Kammers introduces a Dharma Talk from David Nichtern which dives into a timely contemplation on the three marks of existence—impermanence, non-self (interdependence), and suffering—three key foundations of the Buddhist view.

Dharma Moon’s 100 Hour Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Training led by David Nichtern starts May 18: https://www.dharmamoon.com/summer-teacher-training
Declaration of Interdependence // Reality & The Warrior

After opening the session with some coconut quips, David Nichtern makes his ‘declaration of interdependence,’ astutely exploring the nuances of being completely interconnected with every part of the universe. Contemplating the implications of this recognition in relation to our concept of ‘self,’ he challenges our ideas around the nature of existence and strips away notions of ‘Sky Daddy’ theism—thereby offering insight into walking the Path of the Warrior.

“One definition of a warrior is daring to be genuine in every moment of your life. And you’re also willing to be alone; you can be interdependent and experience your aloneness at the same time. That’s powerful poetry there—you recognize your solitary journey at the same time as you recognize the interconnectedness with all that has ever been, all that will ever be, all that is.” – David Nichtern

Dr. Robert Svoboda describes how we can live with what is, on Ep. 1 of Living With Reality
Contemplative Meditation // Impermanence & Prajna (12:22)

Describing contemplative (analytic) meditation, David shares how we can skillfully invite the ‘thinker’ onto the playing field without pushing it away or allowing it to take free control. Building from this, he introduces the simple-yet-shocking reality that if everything is impermanent…that includes you! Next, he offers insight around prajna – loosely translated as discriminating awareness wisdom, or discernment.

“Prajna is panoramically useful for every activity. It’s just like asking, ‘What’s going on? What’s up?’ That’s prajna. You don’t want somebody to say the party line, you don’t want to hear propaganda, you don’t want to hear a theological perspective. ‘What’s really going on?'” – David Nichtern

Amishi Jha PhD & David talk impermanence, interdependence, & neuroscience, on Ep. 30 of Creativity, Spirituality, & Making a Buck
The Three Marks of Existence (40:44)

Officially laying out the Buddha’s ‘Three Marks of Existence’ of the samsaric, conditioned, cause & effect reality we mostly inhabit, David reflects on how the earlier topics of interdependence and impermanence relate to the other mark, suffering. Through this lens, he shares on relationships, death, endings/beginnings, and being awake to change.

“Upon investigation, you look and go, ‘I think I might have to yield here to the fact that [impermanence] does seem to be the case, and my clinging to a more permanent idealistic version of reality may actually be putting me out of touch, out of balance.” – David Nichtern

 Joseph Goldstein explores impermanence & the cusp, on Ep. 116 of the Insight Hour

Photos via Antonello Marangi