Anchor for this item posted by Bernard Tremblay at Sunday, May 19, 2002; Sunday, May 19, 2002

Whether we refer to it as a product of alienation or use the slightly more guilt-tripping phrase "inauthentic presence".the state of mind that comes from living according to nothing more than a conveniently plausible fiction is perverse. The lucidly cynical pessimism of the elite may be more immedately galling, but (memories of collaboration between Patrician and Plebien?) it operates at a societal level only given the less lucid and perhaps less cynical pessimism of those who labour. In such a context, anyone who speaks of virtue is looked upon as either a foor or a hypocrit, and yet (see The Healing Power of the Precepts, by Thanissaro Bhikku) virtue is virtuosity in seeking true happiness, nothing more.
N.B.: This evening I happened onto this quote of Thanissaro Bhikku in a 1995 edition of tricycle magazine: "real dharma practice in any culture, in order to be successful. must be countercultural". The piece goes on to quote Sangharakshita, "A necessary component of monasticism must be its critical edge, perhaps even a conscious anti-establishment stance."
Thanissaro Bhikku's works are listed at Access to Insight; Sangharakshita's work is best seen at Friends of the Western Buddhist Order.