The discourse advises that these facts are to be reflected upon often by all:
1. I am sure to become old; I cannot avoid ageing.
2. I am sure to become ill; I cannot avoid illness.
3. I am sure to die; I cannot avoid death.
4. I must be separated and parted from all that is dear and beloved to me.
5. I am the owner of my actions, heir of my actions, actions are the womb (from which I have sprung), actions are my relations, actions are my protection. Whatever actions I do, wholesome or unwholesome, of these I shall become the heir. This cause and effect will be my Kamma and not to blame others.
Reflection on The Universal Truths of Impermanence and Non-self:
Impermanence: there is no fixed or steady state. Everything is continually changing. Objects created by conditions arise, change, and fade away. All that arises will eventually cease to exist, this includes thoughts, feelings, people, places, and things. If someone longs for permanence, the mind will become discontent (Dukkha).
Non-self: there is no permanent self. Our own current existence is brought together by the arising and combining of five aggregates – the body, the mind, feelings, perceptions, and the free will to make decisions. That is what makes a living sentient being a living sentient being. The next existence will consist of an entirely new and updated set of aggregates according to one’s Old Kamma. The aggregates themselves are based on conditions, the aggregates are not permanent….they arise, they change, and they fade away. “Ashes to ashes and dust to dust.”
According to this discourse, contemplation of these facts leads to the abandonment of destructive attachments and actions and to the cultivation of factors necessary for Awakening. According to the Ariyapariyesana Sutta (Discourse on the Noble Quest) MN 26, the first three remembrances are the very insights that led Gotama Buddha to renounce his royal household status and become an ascetic after experiencing strong feelings of spiritual urgency (saṃvega).