Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism” as Want to Read:
Blank 133x176
Cutting Through Spirit...
Chögyam Trungpa
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism

4.27 of 5 stars 4.27  ·  rating details  ·  3,851 ratings  ·  120 reviews
Examines the self-deceptions, distortions, and sidetracks that imperil the spiritual journey as well as awareness and fearlessness of the true path.
Paperback, 250 pages
Published June 12th 1987 by Shambhala (first published January 1st 1973)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
I'd flipped through this many times before and read parts over the years, and it seems like there's always something new that stands out. This time, it's a reminder of what I love most about the Buddhist approach to the awakened state: that it's something that always exists, not something we need to try to create. Over the last year or so, I've seen (and been part of) so much striving and so much reaching, working, studying intensely, and taking Oh So Seriously the spiritual life ~ an approach t ...more
Jenifer Rune
The spiritual path is lonely. There is nothing to fall back on.
"It could be a terrifying experience to have no one to relate to, nothing to relate with."


I love this book. I first read it in the context of a reading group, and the collective feeling of discomfort in our discussions was palatable. As it moves along, the book becomes a little more complex. Trungpa goes further into Buddhism, to its psychology and understanding of mind, to the four noble truths, techniques of meditation, shuny
The concept of Spiritual materialism is very powerful. Not sure I fully understand it yet. After reading the book I immediately wanted to go back and reread it, because I know I will get a lot more out of it. Seldom do I read a book twice and then it is usually because I have forgotten I've already read it.
This may be a volume I pick up and add to my library so that I can high light passages in it. If I understand it right, Spiritual materialism applies not just to Buddhism, but to all spiritual
It was not until I moved to Boulder Colorado, Trungpa's last home after his Tibetan exile that understood why he was so insitent on teaching Americans about how shallow we are in our various approachs to the embodying the wisdom of the East. This text is designed as a sort of feedback mechanism for all the smarmy, new age, old school, rightous Americans who might be confusing the soil of India with Nirvana or the black robed Zen Roshi with the definative expression of kindness. Hard reading for ...more
This book is the most plain English explanation of the path of spirituality from the Tibetan Buddhist perspective I have ever read. It does not contradict what is taught by theistic religions and it describes all religions to be different methods of attaining the same goal. It has nothing to do with spirits or afterlife. It has everything to do with our subjective reality of the present moment. This book shows a path to a state of mind that allows you to flow like water through space and time ra ...more
I find that most of my pursuits are spiritual in their ends, but that they are contingent upon material winnings. I took an aura photograph and saw a chakra reader recently, most of my friends having gone and received a "lower" chakra and being a color like orange or red or indigo at best. I got a "white color" aura photo and was told that I have a "crown chakra" (the highest, most enlightened of them all). It seemed fishy to me because I feel just as full of anxieties and self-doubt as any othe ...more
This is my 100th read of the year! Obviously, boasting about this is a form of spiritual materialism. Sigh.

In a nutshell, spiritual materialism is that which accumulates within ourselves that obscures our ability to see things as they really are and hampers our ability to live within that context, without all the baggage of expectation and stress and judgment and egocentricity and so on.

This is a good, clear, non-jargon-heavy (if repetitive) explanation of the concepts of Zen and how to begin th
Ea Wirtavuori
Luin tämän suomeksi (Henkisen materialismin ylittäminen), mutten löytänyt täältä suomenkielistä versiota. Anyway, on ilo lukea kirjaa, jonka aiheen kirjoittaja tuntee säälimättömän läpikotaisesti. (Trungpa pakeni Tiibetistä vaikeissa olosuhteissa 1959 Intiaan, josta myöhemmin muutti Amerikkaan ja alkoi opettaa siellä). Trungpa käy alussa läpi itsepetoksen muotoja ja selventää mm. egon käsitettä (jonka merkitys buddhalaisessa "filosofiassa" on eri kuin länsimaisessa mielessä).

Kirjan jaksoja ovat
Chris Lemig
When I first began to delve into Buddhism I though, "Ah ha! Here it is! The TRUTH!!!" At first I thought that I would now just be able to read a few words and: "Wham, bam, thank you , Stan," I'm enlightened. I thought that the truth was supposed to be simple, profound and sublime. If we had to talk about it too much then it couldn't be the TRUTH. Well, I was wrong.

Yes, the truth is simple but the way to it is ever unfolding. It takes time, skill and effort to get to it. We must read about it, st
Michelle Margaret
I bought this book in 2004 and let it sit on my bookshelf in California, Austin, then Guatemala until finally reading it this spring. It's the kind of book I want to reread as soon as I finish.

Tibetan meditation master Chögyam Trungpa clearly explains how "walking the spiritual path properly is a very subtle process; it is not something to jump into naively. There are numerous sidetracks which lead to a distorted, ego-centered version of spirituality," and how to avoid these pitfalls on the path
This book is a re-read. First time I read it, I was seeking spiritual truth. Well, to be honest, it was very difficult, very layered. I read it to get something out of it, and was very disappointed. 2nd time through, I happened to be cleaning my book shelf up, and it fell out and open to a page on experiencing anger. I was just drawn in, and discovered to my delight that rereading this book was an entirely different experience. Straightforward, exact, precise, a joy to read, and a great pleasure ...more
This is one of the most important books I've read in my life. I highly recommend it to anyone considering Buddhism. Trungpa asks important questions about the motivation for faith in a materialist culture. For example, are you drawn to Buddhism because it's got a nice aesthetic or because you are ready to commit to some very difficult spritual practice?
One of those books that really needs to be read many times throughout the course of a life... it will reveal new things each time. Many books provide comfort or guidance, this one is like a mirror and what you see in it depends on how much you are willing to see... and what you see isn't often very pretty.
A phenomenal piece to the puzzle of Buddhist thought. Based off of the second turning of the wheel when basically the Buddha had been teaching for a while. He got all of his followers together and had one of his students explain that "form is emptiness and emptiness is form." He was basically saying that grasping on to anything - including the teachings of the Buddha - would cause suffering. This in itself caused suffering for many of the followers, but thus cut "through spiritual materialism". ...more
The subject matter here is at once profound and immediately applicable to anyone with a spiritual interest. This was an exhilarating read, unlike many of the others in its precise and straightforward style. Trungpa received a Western education at Oxford, and his writing/speaking reflects this -- there is none of the awkward phrasing that sometimes can be found in works by great spiritual teachers from other cultures. But what really made this book a gem for me, one that I will undoubtedly read a ...more
Todd Mertz
Trungpa's writing and thinking are a breath of fresh air in an often too-serious field. While I find his writing and personality to be as fun as Osho's, Trungpa consistently offers a simultaneous feeling of vitality and profundity (where Osho seems to evidence an adolescent form of "I've-got-enlightenment"). It took me a little time to begin to understand Trungpa's particular way of presenting nuance as well, but once I did, each subsequent book added more. After some time, you begin to see that ...more
Tim Weakley
I followed about two thirds of this book, and the parts I understood were quite good. The other third were very esoteric. That's not a fault of the book. It's the reader. I would offer this book to anyone looking for a good grounding in a lot of the central ideas.
Martin Röll
Apr 28, 2010 Martin Röll rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in spirituality, anyone practising meditation
I cannot praise this book enough. I recommend it to anyone practising meditation or anyone on any spiritual path. It is suitable for the absolute beginner and the experienced practitioner. Beginners find starting points and guidelines, more experienced meditators will find all of the traps into which they have trodded and encouragement to go on. The descriptions of different meditation techniques and the pitfalls of them are among the most lucid that I have ever read. The language and style is b ...more
Beverly Cooper
An excellent book for those people on just about any spiritual path, but particularly those who follow Eastern philosophy. Chogyam Trunga wrote this book for his students who were so into attaining enlightenment, nirvana, etc, they began thinking they didn't need to care for themselves on the earth plane (i.e, feeding oneself, washing, sleeping, etc,). In short, they were becoming becoming a bit too self-righteous, which rather is rather at odds with the philosophy itself. Trunga became alarmed ...more
Nov 23, 2008 Kathy marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I have spent years reading self-help books only to remain haunted by a sense of emptiness and dissatisfaction. Some time ago, I gave up on the self-improvement books, but did not know where to turn or how to cope with my unhappy ego. Finally, I began, after much trouble and confusion, to see that the ego is a hungry ghost that will never achieve fulfillment and that the excitement ego experiences when it is boosted is not the same thing as happiness.

I can't wait to read this book.
Essential reading for anyone of any religious or spiritual persuasion who fancies her/himself a spiritual aspirant or truth seeker. Reveals the need to be constantly aware of the tendency we have to fashion our spirituality into a commodity that actually bolsters egoism rather than liberating us from it. Gives many examples of how this process takes place. This book forced me toward a deeper honesty about the motivations behind my own spiritual quest.
Cicely Kolb
Wow. It took me a long time to read this book. I loved every word. It was difficult. It made me feel uncomfortable. Trungpa has such a way with words, he makes even the most complex concepts easy to understand. If I had read this book a year ago I would have had a hard time understanding it. I can't say that I have a better understanding of myself; that's not what this book is about. I do however see patterns in my thinking more clearly. Thankfully.
A.B. McFarland
This is the first book I've read by Chögyam Trungpa and it won't be my last. The man is a genius and this book is a marvelous gift of clear writing.

It starts with the premise that ego converts spirituality to its own use. You know how that works. You convert to a religion, then you buy a bunch of books, subscribe to the magazines, maybe buy some statues or pendants. You view the religion as something "over there" that you need to subsume into yourself over time, a long, struggle-filled process.
Phillip Moffitt
This book draws from a series of lectures given by Chogyam Trungpa, the founder of the Shambhala tradition in the US, in Boulder, Colo., in the early 1970s. Reading this book provides you with confidence on your own spiritual journey. It makes you reflect and helps you examine your own experience. Trungpa captures the experience of being on the path so clearly and in such a way that you recognize, “Ahhh, that’s what I experienced!”
Richard Curry
Spiritual materialism is found in any kind of religious faith, and one would not have to be a Buddhist to benefit from a discussion of it*.

Chögyam Trungpa was apparently from the same diaspora as the Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet at the time the Chinese took over. He first went to the UK and then to the US, where he became guru to members of the Beat and Hippie generation. It is a series of talks from the early 1970's including transcription of questions and his answers. In lecturing he explains m
My study of Buddhism continues. This one helped in some ways (new takes on the Four Noble Truths) and confused me in others (but that's part of being on the path).
Say what you want about this crazy, Tibetan monk who, in partnership with Allen Ginsberg, started Naropa, but he sure can get at the core of spirituality in a way that speaks to westerners. This is a fantastic book, and it encapsulates much of what his other works strive for. You won't be enlightened after reading it, but you will understand what it means to be.
Lama Trungpa is one of the best in his class when it comes to rendering the essence of Tibetan Buddhism accessible to the western intellect. In a nutshell, spirituality is NOT a goal oriented pursuit, it is a way of being, an authentic approach living life, at the source.

Mike Flattley
The most valuable reading experience of my life to date - how you can hand control of your spiritual life to your ego through the very process of seeking to transcend it. Highly recommended.
this is a foundation read if you are interested in beginning meditation or exploring buddhist theology. Although he was altogether human, his shortcomings make his writing all the more poignant
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Seva School of Lo...: Tea Tastings 2 6 Jun 18, 2013 08:02PM  
  • The Words of My Perfect Teacher
  • Indestructible Truth: The Living Spirituality of Tibetan Buddhism
  • No Time to Lose: A Timely Guide to the Way of the Bodhisattva
  • Turning the Mind Into an Ally
  • The Way of the Bodhisattva: A Translation of the Bodhicharyavatara
  • What Makes You Not a Buddhist
  • Not Always So: Practicing the True Spirit of Zen
  • Dakini's Warm Breath: The Feminine Principle in Tibetan Buddhism
  • Crooked Cucumber: The Life and Teaching of Shunryu Suzuki
  • The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way: Nāgārjuna's Mūlamadhyamakakārikā
  • The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Majjhima Nikaya
  • The Heart Sutra
  • The Long Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Digha Nikaya
  • The Life of Milarepa: A New Translation from the Tibetan
  • Everyday Zen: Love and Work
  • Buddhism without Beliefs : A Contemporary Guide to Awakening
  • Moon In a Dewdrop: Writings of Zen Master Dogen
  • Buddha Is as Buddha Does: The Ten Original Practices for Enlightened Living
Vidyadhara Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche (Tibetan: ཆོས་ རྒྱམ་ དྲུང་པ་ Wylie: Chos rgyam Drung pa; also known as Dorje Dradul of Mukpo, Surmang Trungpa, after his monastery, or Chökyi Gyatso, of which Chögyam is an abbreviation) was a Buddhist meditation master, scholar, teacher, poet, and artist. He was the 11th descendent in the line of Trungpa tulkus of the Kagyü school of Tibetan Buddhism. He was al ...more
More about Chögyam Trungpa...
Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior Training the Mind and Cultivating Loving-Kindness The Myth of Freedom and the Way of Meditation Meditation in Action Smile at Fear: Awakening the True Heart of Bravery

Share This Book

“We do not have to be ashamed of what we are. As sentient beings we have wonderful backgrounds. These backgrounds may not be particularly enlightened or peaceful or intelligent. Nevertheless, we have soil good enough to cultivate; we can plant anything in it.” 49 likes
“Are the great spiritual teachings really advocating that we fight evil because we are on the side of light, the side of peace? Are they telling us to fight against that other 'undesirable' side, the bad and the black. That is a big question. If there is wisdom in the sacred teachings, there should not be any war. As long as a person is involved with warfare, trying to defend or attack, then his action is not sacred; it is mundane, dualistic, a battlefield situation.” 28 likes
More quotes…