Buddha’s advice to the laity parallels common sense traditions not only in ancient India but throughout the world and over all times. Renouncing self advantage and living virtuously gives credibility to the advice of spiritual holy men. When culture and customs are determined by kings or powerful priests corruption is always to be suspect. In times when rulers are also religious leaders tyranny of the most severe kind prevails and inevitably reformers come from the wilderness to set things right. Buddha might also be considered such a reformer.
Famously, ancient religions of the Middle East demonstrate this concept. In Mesopotamia primogeniture and forcing wives into temple brothels demoralized the people and in Canaan the sacrifice of the first born served the same function. The rulers usurped extreme power over the people and established customs and perverted traditions to perpetuate their rule and oppression. Abraham was a reformer questioning the killing of his son and the Old Testament is filled with prophets crying out from the hinterlands to bring their culture back in line with morality. Although Abrahamic sources are extolled the foundation of Western culture is Greco-Roman and the Canaanite abomination persisted until the Romans stamped it out with the demolition of Carthage. We must recognize that not all religions are dedicated to good as Buddhists and Christians might like to believe.
Leftists posit all morality and traditions are relative, varying between cultures and changing over time. But rules instituted by oppressive regimes are a perversion of tradition and instinctively revolting. The oldest written story, Gilgamesh, begins with men expressing their resentment while waiting for the king to deflower a newly wed girl. Customs are conflated as morality by leftists, one culture requires baring ones head in the temple while another demands wearing a covering. These are not morals or traditions that guide the foundational beneficial behavior of a people.
Buddha once encountered a man asking for a blessing and saying he was on his way to pay for a rite to give him luck. Buddha advised him to better use his money as an investment in his parents, wife, friends or neighbors, any of which would offer dividends in the future and gratitude in the act. These observations have always been true and are biological and sociological facts of best case human group behavior.
Christianity is a bulwark in the West for moral traditions guiding people to establish fair and thriving communities. Under the onslaught of leftist ideologies many churches have submitted to the same religious dynamics of oppression that have plagued humanity throughout history. Buddhists and Christians have been involved in war yet they both are predicated on love and virtuous living. For the West, Buddhism can offer Christianity a reflection of steadfast moral culture when their own commitment wavers. Buddha’s advise to the laity is exactly the remedy to the confusion introduced by the arguments coming from the left. Buddha has given humanity unsurpassed clear and sophisticated guidance for all peoples.