Four characteristics of conditioned phenomena
Four characteristics of conditioned phenomena are identified in the Sanskrit tradition, where they are referred to as either saṃskṛtalakṣaṇa (T. ’dus byas kyi mtshan nyid; C. youwei xiang; E. characteristics of conditioned phenomena) or caturlakṣaṇa (T. mtshan nyid bzhi; C. sixiang; E. four characteristics).
The four characteristics are:
- jāti (T. skye ba) - birth
- sthiti (T. gnas pa) - abiding
- jarā (T. rga ba) - aging
- anityatā (T. mi rtag pa) - impermanence
In the Abhidharma tradition of the Vaibhāṣika school, the non-concurrent formations are understood as substantially existent entities. In the Sautrantika Abhidharma and in the Higher Abhidharma traditions, these formations are understood as imputations that arise from the mind.
For example, Science and Philosophy in the Indian Buddhist Classics states: "The Vaibashikas assert that these four arise simultaneously to the conditioned entity and that they are capable of being grasped as distinct in substance from the conditioned thing itself."
The Pali tradition has a similar list, called: