Instead of creatively realizing their freedoms, many choose the unreflective conformism dictated by television, indulgence in mass-consumerism, or numbing their feelings of alienation and anguish with drugs. In theory, freedom may be held in high regard; in practice it is experienced as a dizzying loss of meaning and direction.
Part of the appeal of any religious orthodoxy lies in its preserving a secure, structured, and purposeful vision of life, which stands in stark opposition to the insecurity, disorder, and aimlessness of contemporary society. In offering such a refuge, traditional forms of Buddhism provide a solid basis for the ethical, meditative, and philosophical values conducive to awakening. Yet they tend to be wary of participating in a translation of this liberating vision into a culture of awakening that addresses the specific anguish of the contemporary world. Preservation of the known and tested is preferable to the agony of imagination, where we are forced to risk that hazardous leap into the dark.
Stephen Batchelor, in Buddhism Without Beliefs, p. 110
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