Religion is the third of my examples of how impermanence is much more widespread than one might generally think; but no major connection to Buddhism until my 4th post, just maybe a hint or two! Whatever your religious beliefs or faith, a moment’s thought will reveal that your own religion has changed AND has changed peoples lives over the centuries. I will use Christianity as my primary example going back several hundred years to medieval times.
In England and across most of Europe the Catholic Church held sway, Kings not only paid homage to the Pope but obeyed him. Inside their own countries Bishops had equal power with monks living in comparative luxury in their monasteries compared to the general population. This was a population that believed that EVERYTHING was an act of God; plagues, floods, lightening, death in childbirth, victory in battles, movement of the sun and Earth, and comets were a sign from God of impending disaster. Can you believe all that!
Then, King Henry VIII decided to change things in England; separation from the Pope’s ruling power, destruction of the monasteries, many monks killed. But although Christianity didn’t die out it changed irrevocably in England with the persecution of Catholics, a civil war, and the rise of science with advances in medicine, astronomy, and chemistry that changed peoples understanding of disease and natural disasters for ever. It is changing even now; there has been a colossal drift away from Christianity, fewer people attend church, there are far more agnostics and atheists than before, there is tolerance far greater than in previous centuries, and the church no longer controls behaviour with the threat of eternal damnation. That such a powerful institution has changed so much over a relatively short time is one of the strongest example of impermanence you will find. But how does this connect with the concept of impermanence in Buddhism? Wednesday!