In many religions or cultures one or more scriptures are considered to be authoritative. Although they promise a better world or even enlightenment through their distinctions they often lead to what can be called ego-consciousness. Same thing can even be said for certain rituals or morality based concepts.
Scriptures for example that describe some path to a better life in the future, in a next world or next existence are based on the presumption that there is an independent self that enables us to experience this better life, better existence in future. In some scriptures the behavioral patterns or exquisite character of certain groups of people are defined. These kinds of statements are only possible under the prerequisite that there are individuals that can be distinguished from other individuals. Same can be said for example for any system making a certain classification of certain groups within a community or society. This way it can be concluded scriptures that are considered to be authoritative eventually put forward thought patterns and distinctions leading to increased ego-consciousness.
The same can be said for rituals. Many religions know certain rituals for initiation or rituals that are performed to obtain certain things. Take for example baptism. Also these kinds of rituals are based on the presumption that there is an independent self that can be initiated in something, in this case the institution, or that can obtain the things for which a certain ritual is performed. In some religions certain rituals can only be executed by certain groups of people. In Hinduism for example there are rituals only to be performed by Brahmins. This identification with a certain class of society is only possible under the prerequisite that there is an independent self that makes this kind of classification possible.
In this way for many things promised or targeted by scriptures and rituals a differentiation on base of factors like race, status, stage of life, age, cultural background, etc. is implied. Once we start applying such kind of differentiations we artificially create objects with identity leading to the ego-concept, that on its turn is based on these phenomena we falsely consider to have an own individuality. But in the end these are all only ideas of our mind, sometimes imposed by society, culture, religion or a certain community we consider us to be part of.
In this phenomenal world our mind defines objects on base of duality. Because of this fact even causal-chain-concepts can easily be misinterpreted and under circumstances lead to increasing ego-consciousness. If we say good actions lead to good effects and negative actions will lead to negative effects, individuals who start concentrating on performing only actions that are classified as good, in some way will expect positive effects, otherwise they would probably not differentiate so much between good and bad actions. But these positive effects can only be enjoyed if there is an individual entity, which can effectively experience these effects, independent from the fact whether they are good or bad.
And on which base – except for the convention of a moral system – can we distinguish between good or bad, and what guarantee or proof do we actually have that every good deed fruits in good effects? Today for example a loving father can put his savings together to buy for his son the long desired motorbike, a deed with at least good intention, and tomorrow with that same motorbike the son can have a deadly accident. Something in the phenomenal world without doubt considered to be negative. Of course at this point can be argued that that the positive result of giving the motorbike sooner or later – not necessarily now – will have effect on the father who performed the action, and that this effect has to be seen completely independent from the accident, but then again we are in the boat of the prerequisite of the existence of an individual self, which can act as receiver of these effects.
Sorrow in some way can be seen as the shadow of desire, also the desire to do good can cast shadows if doing good deeds is driven by the desire to produce positive effects, and not initiated by being good just by pure intuition. So maybe also in this case it is better to avoid the distinction between good and bad and to simply say every action results in an effect, without attaching the notions ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ to neither action as effect.
When at night we dream the ‘reality’ of the phenomenal world is erased and replaced by another subject-object oriented world created in our mind. This effect shows us actually how much the phenomenal world which we experience when we are awake is purely based on the artificial distinction between objects and concepts that are defined and existing exclusively in this phenomenal world.
Of course reading scriptures or convictions of others or certain institutions always is helpful in finding our own path and in validating our own reflections but for the above mentioned reasons in regard to breaking through the delusion of our self-awareness in form of an ego it always should be considered to be essential not just to blindly echo existing scriptures, convictions, conventions, moral conducts, etc. but to be aware that eventually the distinctions put forward in those scriptures, rituals, conventions, systems and so on, imply a world of duality and henceforth lead to ignorance in form of increased ego-consciousness.