Three Characteristics of Samsara
Samsara by definition is the eternal cycle of birth, suffering, death, and rebirth. During the Buddha's last lifetime he came to the understanding that Samsara has three characteristics that even the heavens abide by: impermanence, suffering, and no-self. It is these three characteristics that keep us trapped in the cycle of Samsara and until we come to realize the truth about each of them we will never gain Nirvana.
The first of the three characteristics is impermanence. According to the Buddha nothing in the universe is permanent, everything is constantly changing. In Sangitiyavamsa's view of the Buddha's life we see his first experience of impermanence. While in his garden where he was planning to go play he saw an old person. This was surprising to him because all of his life he was raised in a very sheltered surrounding; a life where he was prevented from witnessing old age.
So when he realized that we all grow old he realized that nothing is permanent and that everything is in constant change. This is not something that just the Buddha has taught throughout the history of the world, scientist also talk about their form of constant change; evolution. If we look closely at objects in the world we see that one consistent characteristic between everything is the characteristic of impermanence. Look at the Earth: you can never swim in the same ocean twice, the mountains are constantly eroding slowly, and islands are sinking because of global warming. They are all in constant change which proves that the Earth is not permanent. If we look at our bodies, it too is also in constant change. When we are born into this world we have no hair, we are small in size, and we have no teeth. As...