The Soka Gakkai Dictionary of Buddhism
three Dharma seals[三法印] (Jpn samboin )
Also, three seals of Dharma. Three identifying principles of Buddhism: impermanence, nonself, and nirvana. Suffering is added to the above three to form the four Dharma seals. Impermanence means that nothing is lasting or fixed—all is temporary and changing. Non-self means that all things and phenomena are without self-nature, that they have no independent existence of their own. Nirvana is the highest state of calm and serenity, in which one is released from suffering. Suffering means that all existence is suffering. Dharma seals signify a guarantee of the authenticity of doctrines. The three Dharma seals were used as standards to determine whether or not a sutra or a doctrine was valid; if it met these three standards, it was determined to be a valid Buddhist teaching. Chinese Mahayana Buddhism regarded the three or four Dharma seals as a Hinayana concept; it established instead the one Dharma seal, which was the principle of the ultimate reality, or the true aspect of all phenomena. The Dharma seal of the ultimate reality is based on the Lotus Sutra, which sets forth the true aspect of all phenomena.