Similarly, sentient beings’ bodies, minds, environments, companions, and enjoyments arise and cease in each moment. To get a strong sense of sentient beings’ impermanence, imagine a reflection of the moon shimmering in rippling water as the breeze constantly blows. Then think that constant, rippling change is like the unstoppable momentary change of our body and mind in saṃsāra.
Blind to this transitory nature, we cling to the notion that we and everything around us is reliable and unchanging. When a loved one is injured or we receive a terminal diagnosis, when we lose our job or our country is torn apart by war, or when things don’t turn out as we wish, we sentient beings suffer.
Holding what is impermanent to be permanent makes the mind inflexible; we refuse to accept the reality of a situation that doesn’t agree with our expectations. Observing that sentient beings suffer by holding what is impermanent as permanent, bodhisattvas experience compassion for sentient beings.