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Virtue

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Also: Righteousness

Virtue is a quality of moral goodness or excellence. When we speak of individual virtues, we are talking about qualities that we aspire to. A virtue must be cultivated for it to become a habitual way of living in the world around us.


For each of us, there is a core set of virtues or principles that serves our life mission. When we violate these, we violate ourselves. In addition, there are many other virtues that in turn serve this moral core. However, they are constantly in competition with each other, which creates a complicated sort of balancing act that some call relativism.


In any given situation, we must weigh these virtues against each other by considering how they serve our personal moral core and life mission. For example, sometimes a life mission will be served by cultivating tolerance or patience. Other times it will be better served by exercising judgment and activism. Knowing how to balance the virtues in any one situation requires us to make discerning judgments. The practices of meditation, study, and contemplation can guide us in this endeavor.