Bertrand Russell’s 1930 book examined “The conquest of happiness”. The converse of happiness, suffering, as ubiquitous is central to Buddhism.
Surprisingly there has been a collapse of British Christianity: the British Social Attitudes survey showed in 1983, 37 % of the population self-declared as Anglican, in 2017 it’s 17%. This is illustrated by images of a virtual tour throughout an empty York Minster, where regal power mixes with religion. Orthodox Christianity believes in contemplation and a god above, illustrated by Canterbury Cathedral cloisters and roof and a series of gilded roof bosses at York, usually unnoticed because of their height, showing the life of Christ. Attempts by a king to rise to divinity are shown by the mountainous world heritage giant statues at Nemrut.
In 1981, the moral philosopher Alasdair McIntyre wrote in “After Virtue “, that the Enlightenment’s inability to provide a authoritative source of morality to replace the Christian–Aristotelian one it rejected, had left the west adrift. Macintyre compared our age to the Roman Empire’s decline, a comparison that the sixth century saint, Pope Benedict XVI, also made. This is illustrated by images of homeless rough sleepers beside cathedrals, unheeded by people walking past cited by some as representing the disconnect of the church with the secular state. Rural images of children learning to kill animals and the desire for accumulation illustrate further examples of lapses in moral leadership.
Benedict promoted establishment of thirteen monastic communities in tune with nature; there are similarities to the teaching of Japanese zen master Dogan, seven hundred years later. Images are shown of senior Christian clergy and the Queen’s cousin taking up Benedict’s and Degen’s example, establishment of a zen sangha, recognition of lineage, and pursuit of the four Bodhisattva vows despite castigation from evangelists in the national press.