Evan's Reviews > Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism

Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism by Chögyam Trungpa
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's review
Jul 21, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: philosophy, religion, asia, _lfpl-library, ebook-special-coll, 2010-reads
Read from July 16 to 21, 2010

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 the process of putting them into practice, or, more precisely, how to start on the path of living in the now instead of in the past, the future or in a false and unfulfilling realm marked by our myriad confusions. A lot of this I have already found useful in helping me see things with a more open, forgiving, less possessive perspective.

Now, do I actually buy into *all* of this stuff? Maybe not -- or maybe that's just my ego defenses talking.

I suppose a world of people working hard communally to provide for the basic good and nourishment of the self and one's neighbors while living without tremendous ambition in the now and engaging in frequent meditation has a certain appeal, given how we've fucked over ourselves and everything else. But, I mean, if we took Buddhism to its ultimate extreme, how could language even develop? We can't label things or conceptualize? Hmmm. And I wonder how in a world entirely imbued by Buddhism could the better things of our industrialized society have even developed. Would there be wine, casual sex, electric guitar music and so on? I don't think so, and I kind of like those things, not just because they are possessions or opiates, but because they are beautiful. I'm skeptical that the human mind and body has evolved just to jettison a lot of its intellectual capabilities and other drives as Buddhism seems to want us to do. I just can't help but think that a Zen Buddhist world would be a really, really boring one.
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07/16/2010 page 21
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Chris Why be tyrranised by the fear of boredom. Why give up an expanded awareness for "the better things of industrialism" if it ultimately leads to the detsruction of the natural world for the sake of corporate wealth (that supplies the "better things' ?

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