Three seals

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The three seals (Sanskrit: trimudrā; C. 三印) or three dharma seals (Sanskrit: tri dharma mudra; C. 三法印) is a formulation of the fundamental tenets of Buddhism that is commonly used in East Asian Buddhism.[1][2]

According to the East Asian teachers Thich Nhat Hanh and Hsing Yun, the three seals are:[1]

According to Thich Nhat Hanh, "Any teaching that does not bear these Three Seals cannot be said to be a teaching of the Buddha."[1]

Formulations in other traditions

Slightly different formulations of the dharma seals are used in Theravada and Tibetan Buddhism:

  • in the Theravada tradition, the three dharma seals, more commonly known as the three marks of existence, are impermanence, nonself, and dukkha.
  • in the Tibetan tradition, the four dharma seals is the most common expression of the basic tenets. The four dharma seals are also referenced by East Asian Buddhist teachers.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Three Dharma Seals (Thich Nhat Hanh)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Yun, Hsing (2008). "The Core Teachings". Buddha's Light Publishing. p. 49. ISBN 9781932293326. 

Further reading