Many years ago, I had the pleasure of being in a crowded outdoor amphitheater during a beautiful day in Salt Lake City, Utah where the Dalai Lama spoke. I was sitting high in the stands and from my vantage point, he was little more than a dot in the distance. Still, I felt a certain peaceful energy in his presence. He greeted the crowd in broken English before deferring his remarks to a translator. I don’t remember anything he said save for one thing: “It is not wise to change one’s religion. If you and your family are a part of any religion, it is best that you stay a part of that religion.”

This struck me. I was in my early 20s at the time and had only recently emancipated myself from the religion of my family. For whatever reason, their faith didn’t sit well with me and I was, at the time, in the early stages of finding my own way. I wondered about what the Dalai Lama had said and I thought about how difficult my choice had been for my parents, my extended family and some of our shared social circles. I wondered if this suffering was the reason the Dalai Lama advised against rejecting the religion of one’s upbringing.

By now, this episode is a closed chapter of my life story. It’s rare that I even give it much thought anymore. But I do occasionally think about the advice the Dalai Lama gave to the crowd that day, and when I do, I wonder if I had made a mistake.

Then, as I was reading about Humanity’s Codes on the THEE website, I stumbled across something that eased any residual doubts I had.

But before I get to the point, a little background information:

Each of us must find our own purpose in life—that’s easy enough to accept. And though there are seven broad “Quests,” each of us must find our own way of expressing or pursuing them. This is one of THEE’s most basic principles. While it may look on the surface that THEE places us in a series of pre-defined categories, so much more comes into play—one’s frame of reference, one’s social context, the limits of one’s abilities, the traditions of one’s family and culture, the mixture and interplay of mentalities within one’s identity, and more. Only we can truly realize who we are, what we want, and more to the point, what our purpose might be. (There has been some speculation among TOP team members that realizing one’s Quest is actually quite difficult and may not come until later than life, but I think the thee-online website facilitates this realization.)

Still, despite context, these quests drive our ambitions toward personal fulfillment.

Now, on to the point.

The account of Humanity’s Codes highlights how religion came about in history to counteract the potentially destructive forces of humanity’s innate animal nature. In doing so, the connection between fundamental aspects of many of the major religions and each of the aforementioned Quests is exposed. I couldn’t write it better myself, so I've adapted the original text:

  • Taoism is mysterious and focuses on Spirituality so it naturally supports those on the Spirituality Quest 

  • Islam is controlling and focuses on Obedience so it naturally supports those on the Obedience Quest 

  • Christianity is sin-preoccupied and focuses on Salvation so it naturally supports those on the Salvation Quest 

  • Buddhism is atheistic and focuses on Enlightenment so it naturally supports those on the Enlightenment Quest 

  • Judaism is practical and focuses on Meaning so it naturally supports those on the Meaning Quest 

It is pointed out that no major religion seems to focus on the Creation Quest or the Pleasure Quest, though certain philosophical movements such as Epicureanism do glorify pleasure in a certain way. 

What this meant for me was perhaps I had not made a mistake. I must follow my own path, and I did. The one laid out before me was Christian. But I’m sure not on a Salvation Quest. If anything, (I think) I’m on a Creation Quest.

And so, begrudgingly I must dispute the wisdom of the Dalai Lama in this particular matter; because it is imperative that I, and you, and everyone is authentic and true to themselves. A little bit of hardship is to be expected.

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