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in Buddhism, the doctrine of impermanence, one of the basic characteristics of all existence. Anicca, anatta (the absence of a self), and dukkha ("suffering") together make up the ti-lakkhana, or three characteristics of all phenomenal existence. That the human body is subject to change is empirically observable in the universal states of childhood, youth, maturity, and old age. Similarly, mental events come into being and dissolve. Recognition of the doctrine of impermanence is one of the first steps in the Buddhist's spiritual progress toward enlightenment.