Everything Must Change
The song “Everything Must Change” (George Benson version) is one of my favorite songs, and to me, one of the most Buddhist contemporary songs:
Everything must change
Nothing stays the same
Everyone must change
No one stays the same
The young become the old
And mysteries do unfold
Cause that’s the way of time
Nothing and no one goes unchanged
There are not many things in life you can be sure of Except rain comes from the clouds
Sun lights up the sky
And hummingbirds do fly Winter turns to spring
A wounded heart will heal But never much too soon Yes everything must change Rain comes from the clouds Sun lights up the sky
Makes me cry
This song expresses the Buddhist teaching of “Impermanence” so beautifully. Intellectually, the teaching of impermanence is so simple that a five-year-old can understand it, but it is a hard teaching to truly embrace and realize in one’s life.
If we reflect a little bit about this teaching, we might find that we do not truly live in oneness with this teaching, no matter how much we think we understand it. Have you ever had an argument with your husband or wife and you said or thought to yourself, “Gee, you never used to be like this!”
Isn’t that proof that we don’t live in oneness with
Impermanence? We expect our spouse to be just like they were when we married them. We cannot accept that they have “changed.”
Buddhism is trying to teach us to embrace this truth of impermanence in our life. Impermanence means that we should not take this life for granted. This teaching of impermanence is not a bleak, negative teaching. It is a most positive teaching. If you are in a state of suffering, impermanence means you will not stay in that state forever, although it might feel that way. Impermanence makes this one life meaningful, and every phase of our life can be fully lived, enjoyed, and cherished.
We might not like some aspects of impermanence, like growing
old, facing health issues, and things of that nature, but impermanence means we can live our life to its fruition, even with the aches and pains that it brings. Impermanence means we can look forward to the birth of grandchildren or great grandchildren. Impermanence means we can greet new flowers every spring, and enjoy the radiant foliage of the fall. We live in oneness with this great flow of life.
The young become the old, and mysteries do unfold, cause that’s the way of time. Nothing and no one goes unchanged.
Namuamidabutsu, Rev. Marvin Harada