Triple Gem Meltdown

I seem to be totally obsessed with religions, particularly Buddhism. One reason is because, to me, religions seem to give the initial impression of possessing clusters of virtuous people among their ranks. Obviously virtuous people are socially all over the board (and never mind the fact that any group you think is special will look special to you), but this is the racket. Yeah, I think religions are idealized as clusters of virtuous people.

But then, like every social mechanism — government, law, science and research, business, and so forth, religious hierarchies are easily subject to social and financial corruption. Ah, too bad for us sorry saps who want to place lazy faith in something! So much for that idea…

Again, let me reiterate: the false connection a dopey person like me is making here, is aligning virtuous people with religious people. That’s like aligning artistic talent with financial success, really. It has no basis in reality. Oh, and never mind the whole freaking problem of defining “virtues” of virtuous people in the first place. But for the sake of convenience, let’s just assume virtues are like… classically positive, wholesome, energized character traits in some cosmic reference book.

Yah, the “virtuous people” do seem to exist. And I am somewhat a fan of them. I suppose my confusion as to associating them with religion is the way religions describe their paths to virtue. A religion like Buddhism defines the Triple Gem at the heart of the practice as: faith in the Buddha, the Dharma (teaching) and the Sangha (religious order). In other words, you gotta stick to the Buddhist Sangha if you plan to figure it all out. But don’t all the other religions say the same thing? It’s almost like they naively think their own path is the only path. Ha! Obviously false, but also obvious that it’s dumb to try and take all the different paths at once… I do smite thee, New-Ager!

Therefore, I have my own religious interpretation of dogma, one which declares, in order to shine super effing bright (spiritually speaking), an individual takes refuge in (1) virtuous people, (2) virtuous conduct and philosophy, and (3) virtuous peers and habits. Virtuous people are just any people who are wise and really cool and realized. And the last one is really easy because virtuous habits can be found in every person. That’s why we say absolute cock-a-mamey baloney about slimy businessmen, like, “although he’s a jerk, I can respect his drive for business.” Or maybe, “yeah, he’s a malicious businessman, but you have to admit he’s pretty smart.” Except unfortunately, intelligence is not really a virtue.

To admire someone’s positive traits, you don’t have to be all dorky and “New Age” about it, pretending to ignore the person’s glaring flaws, but just make sure the habits that one retains from others are positive ones.

There you go, totally excellent advice and nothing asked in return! Actually, promise me this, dear reader: pull me outta this torturous, illusory existence once you transcend the samsaric waves of all creation, will you? Pretty plz?

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