The Four Seals of Dharma are:
All compounded things are impermanent.
All contaminated contacts are painful.
The Tibetan word for contaminated contacts this context is zagche, which means “contaminated” or “stained,” in the sense of being permeated by confusion or duality. The dualistic mind includes almost every thought we have. Why is this painful? Because it is mistaken. Every dualistic mind is a mistaken mind, a mind that doesn’t understand the nature of things. Whenever there is a dualistic mind, there is hope and fear. Hope is perfect, systematized pain. We tend to think that hope is not painful, but actually it’s a big pain. As for the pain of fear, that’s not something we need to explain. The Buddha said, “Understand suffering.” That is the first Noble Truth. Many of us mistake pain for pleasure—the pleasure we now have is actually the very cause of the pain that we are going to get sooner or later. Another Buddhist way of explaining this is to say that when a big pain becomes smaller, we call it pleasure. That’s what we call happiness.
All phenomena are without inherent existence.
Nirvana is peace beyond extremes.