>but you could also say that most people aren't capable of doing that coherently and that if they did you'd end up with a chaotic society where nobody agrees with anyone else's morals
Have you looked at our world at present?
Anyway, I do come to realize that most people are tools, unwilling to think for themselves and instead defer their decisions to their society or some hierarchy. On the other hand, as per the previous statement on deferring to the culture, this also means that without a hierarchical structure, a society develops a moral (perhaps even spiritual!) code of it's own in a sort of grassroots manner. This is mostly transmitted via oral tradition and kept alive in the idioms and sayings of the common people. It is believed the Daodejing came to being as a compilation of common wisdom of the ancient people of china, for example.
As for eastern religions, well buddhism I don't know in depth, but so far hasn't seemed very harmful for me. I am interested in the scriptires from India (Vedas), but the only contact I've had from them isn't hasn't been very nice. I me n those Hare Krishna people. Though what they have to say is quite beautiful, they fall into the same patterns mentioned in my other post (that's where the carrots comment came from, actually).
Generally it seems like such structures create an unhealthy form of competition and hierarchy that take the focus from the actual intended goal of spirituality and into the social structure itself. One is left not talking to god, but trying to look well in the eyes of the fellow followers.
That and trying to differentiate oneself from the /others/ who hold some other belief, or being coerced to follow habits (even in clothing and diet) which are not germane to the spiritual path but are proper of the particular religious society one engages in, and not those that can be identified with the "opposing" band (we're at the petty little game of the flags here, not unlike politics or soccer teams or linux users)
But everyone's path is their own I understand, I just wouldn't touch religion with a 10 foot pole.