The law of impermanence asserts that all phenomena are subject to constant change, to rise and fall, and no permanent states, either physical or animate, exists. The dynamic nature of phenomena is today a commonplace of science. But until quite recently many physical features of the universe were considered immutable, and in the human plane the belief in enduring states or characteristics is still an article of faith in many religious systems. The law of anicca establishes impermanence as the basic universal law
The law of dukkha states that all complexes of phenomena, are in the final analysis unsatisfactory. It means that no compounded thing or state could be considered as a universal norm of goodness or beauty. It imparts the normative dimension into the consideration of objective reality which is the hallmark of the Dhamma. The law of dukkha is usually considered in relation to the human situation, and here unsatisfactoriness manifests itself as "suffering", which is the popular rendition of the term. It is in this sense that it constitutes the first of the four Noble Truths.
The third law states that there is no permanent essence, "self", ego, or soul in phenomena. The term originates as the negation of the concept of atta (âtman) which was the equivalent in the old Brahmanical religion of the Buddha's day to what other religions have called the "soul". The Buddha advanced psycho-physical explanation of the individual which leaves no room for a soul. The Buddha recognised that the delusion of self or ego was one of the most powerful of human instincts, and at the same time one of the most potent sources of ignorance and wrong action. In applying the anatta doctrine to the phenomena of the external world some care mush be exercised. Early Buddhism did not deny the reality of the external world. It argued that the phenomena of the external world could be broken down into its constituent components, and that nothing else other than these components existed. It was only in this sense that the phenomena of the external world were declared to be empty (suñña). Some schools of Mahayâna Buddhism have taken the doctrine of emptiness (suññâtâ) to imply a denial of the reality of the external world. This interpretation is foreign to early Buddhism. Early Buddhism only asserts that there is no fixed essence or being in phenomena, but only a process of becoming (bhâva).