A Critique of Anicca (Impermanence) From the Position of Parmenides’ Concept of Being

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Seth Evans

Abstract

 This current research is interested in a comparison between the concept of No-Change from the philosophy of Parmenides and the doctrine of annica (impermanence) within Theravāda Buddhism.
A modal interpretation of Being as expounded by Parmenides will be touched upon and then contrasted with a detailed explanation of annica as taught by the Buddha, particular in his lessons on the Paṭiccasamuppāda, the Buddhist cycle of suffering. This cycle is used as the main example of annica to show a consistency in the flow of existence from life to life as change conditions change.  It is the opinion of this paper that the concept of Buddhist impermanence (anicca) based on the law of becoming or dependent origination implies a concept of Being and is consistent with Parmenides’ concept of Being. Showing a coherence between Buddhist doctrine and Parmenides’ concept of Being calls into question much current interpretation and opens new vistas in comparative study between philosophies of the East and West.

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Research Articles