To strive toward following the same path that Lord Buddha walked means taking responsibility for your own actions. In order to embark on such a path one must first come to understand what choices are good and what choices are bad---this is not just a matter of moral relativism, but rather is a matter having to do with the future of your eternal soul. That eternity does not imply either a punishment in a afterlife for so-called sins nor fancy payouts for blind obedience to divine mandates after you've moved on from your current life.
You cannot call a thing a true, right, holy, and moral action just because someone told you it was and that you must comply or else. Instead you must come to correct actions because they are properly sprung from the sole and willful force of your own mind. What does that mean, precisely? It means only this: that you own the action because it was the only action that was actually correct. It does not mean an action which is necessarily the most convenient, politically correct, the most lucrative, or even the most likeable. In fact doing the right thing may be something you'll from time to time find rather distasteful. That is too bad. However, once you get into the habit of always doing good then you'll see how rewarding and superior it is. When you do what is expected of you because you expect it of yourself then you have done your Duty and can feel secure in your own Integrity. Do your Duty then do nothing else.
Thus you will have the first step in the Buddhist Eightfold Factor: the Wisdom, which in Sanskrit is called prajñā. In plain English you can translate the word as Right View, for now you'll be able to view reality as it is and not just how you "wish it to be" or as it "appears to be."
Part II will be continued in the next piece.
A. L. Knight