Oct 28, 2022

Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism

Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism

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Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism audiobook

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Review #1

Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism audiobook free

Spiritual materialism means making use of spirituality to gratify the desires of ego. On the grossest level, it can be like in the old song, “So Long It’s Been Good to Know You,” where the preacher talks to his flock about the coming of the end of this world, and then takes up a big collection and disappears with it. It can be traveling around the world, collecting the statues and icons of all the different spiritual traditions, and then displaying them in one’s home to show off to the neighbors how culturally sophisticated and religiously open-minded we are. Or it can be even more subtle in the sense that we do not gain any overt benefit from our spiritual practice at all, but we merely collect spiritual credentials in order to demonstrate to ourselves, “See, I am a good person” or “See, I am a wise person.” “I have helped so many people! I am always on the giving end of things, and I am proud to realize it!” .

The problem with spiritual materialism is that we cheat ourselves with it; we try to profit from it, but we lose as a result. Maybe we feel wonderful about having earned an important sounding credential within our church; we have now become one of those people who walk around with a VIP button on their lapel. Maybe there is nothing wrong with the button, but if we mistake it for genuine spiritual accomplishment and stop working on our own hearts and minds as a result, then we have truly done ourselves a disservice.

Although spiritual materialism is rampant nowadays, Chogyam Trungpa made its dangers very clear in his original teachings, many of which are contained in this book. I would say that Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism is a must read for everyone who may be considering embarking upon a spiritual journey, or even for those people who have already begun and wish to stop, catch their breath, and take a second look at where they are going.


Review #2

Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism audiobook streamming online

This is, by all measures, the most magical and powerful book on spirituality in general and Buddhism in particular, I have ever read. This is nothing like the usual New Age “positive thinking” garbage, which otherwise tends to pollute the spiritual book department. This is living, breathing wisdom in book form.

It manages to strike the head of the nail of a cancerous issue in modern Western spirituality: The desire to wear your spiritual “achievements” as a crown and a proof of your superiority. Trungpa disassembles this notion, in a very direct and easy-to-understand way, and leaves you naked and (hopefully) with a little less ego. Back in the human realm.

This is not a book for the faint-hearted. It is a book for people who would like to expand their understanding of the human condition and the traps and dead-ends of spiritual communities.


Review #3

Audiobook Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism by Chögyam Trungpa John Baker – editor Marvin Casper – editor Sakyong Mipham – foreword

In a nutshell, worth reading over and over. I keep coming back to it. I also decided to buy the Audible version to listen to while commuting. I won’t attempt to explain in detail why it supersedes many other books of this genre. I will say it is very direct and relevant. I am older in age, but I believe the original audience was relatively young. In this and other respects I believe you will find it unbiased and universally applicable. But it is especially for those who feel drawn to a life path characterized by an exceptionally deep wish to help all living beings.


Review #4

Audio Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism narrated by Jim Gimian

This is a collection of talks given in the early 1970s at Karme Choling in Barnet, VT. by my root teacher, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. I first read this book in 1973. Now, my students at Sokukoji Buddhist Monastery are still studying this book as a group every Tuesday evening. Probably, one of the best introductions in the west to training the mind and to understanding the Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhist path.


Review #5

Free audio Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism – in the audio player below

Of all the Buddhist discourses I have read, those of Chogyam Trungpa strike me as cutting deeper and having a fresher quality of fearlessness. I say fearless because I have a sense that the author often borders on irreverence, but this turns out to be the right way to approach these topics. It seems like the sense of reverence I get from many other authors has an aspect of caution to it, like they have to be careful not to speak too clearly or too specifically for fear that they may say the wrong thing or explain incorrectly. Probably this is a false kind of reverence that is rooted in lack of understanding.


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