Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, by Chögyam Trungpa is a book addressing many common pitfalls of self-deception in seeking spirituality, which the. Spiritual materialism is a phrase originally coined by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche that he used to describe the grasping after material accomplishment within. Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism. By Chögyam Trungpa. If Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche had written no more than the title of this book, it would have been.

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It’s hard not to walk away from an initial reading feeling paranoid and deeply questioning one’s motives in spiritual practice. We open ourselves to the situation as it is, and then we make real communication with materixlism teacher. Thinking back, we feel nostalgic, getting a kick from our memories, but we do not know where we are at this very moment. Based on the reviews I had seen and the title of the book, I was expecting a book with a straightforward premise that it is trying to argue regarding the pitfalls of spiritua This book could have been so much more than it was.

Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism

It is no use to accumulate vast amounts of religious knowledge; nor is it beneficial to accumulate religious titles or honorifics. Such a position brought with it a certain degree of local promi- nence, but Marpa was more ambitious and so, although he was married by now and had a family, he continued to save his earnings until he had amassed a large amount of gold.

This is the moment when abhisheka — sprinkling and pouring — really takes place, because we are open and are really giving up the whole at- tempt to do anything, giving up all the busyness and over- crowding. The first part of the book deals with the fact that “ego can convert anything to its materialksm use, even spirituality.

Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism by Chögyam Trungpa

Kukuripa seemed to be speaking com- plete nonsense. But once we have attached ourselves to his side, the side of sanity, the side of stability, the side of wisdom, then to our 56 Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism surprise we discover that we have not succeeded in securing ourselves at all, because we have only committed our facade, our face, our suit of armor.

There will be no magic, because we cannot tell ourselves to get out of our depression. Actually, there does not seem to be any particular guid- ance. It was a continual ju’ocess of opening and surrender. We are so concerned with what we are going to get out of our potential operation that we have forgotten the doctor who is going to perform it. In despair, he decided to commit suicide and was just about to kill himself when Marpa came to him and told him that he was ready to receive the teaching.


Never before have I felt such a sense of being talked to by a book in terms of telling me not what to think about myself or my practice as with this one. Whenever we have a dualistic notion such as, “1 am doing this because I want to achieve a particular state of conscious- ness, a particular state of being,” then automatically we sepa- cutitng ourselves from the reality of what we are.

An interesting metaphor used in Tibetan Buddhism to de- scribe the functioning of ego is that of the “Three Lords of Materialism”: It is a continuous experience of our moment of open- ness with the guru. We know where we stand, therefore we make the gesture of surrendering, of opening, which means communication, link, direct communication with the object of our surrendering.

When I first began to delve into Buddhism I though, “Ah ha! Shallow spirituality can seem paradoxical, but it’s more common than we might imagine. I also think it is a necessary and thought-provoking read, because figuring out one’s motivation to be on this path is important if one is to thrpugh self-delusion and lose the plot completely.

We might decide that spirituality is something very exciting and colorful.

Aug 14, Melmcbride rated it really liked it. You can’t do it by yourself. The more we generate thoughts, the busier we are mentally and the more convinced we are of our exis- tence. After Marpa had finished studying with Kukuripa, he materialis, turned once more to his original guru, Naropa. They are dancing around us and playing music in the pretense of honoring us on this cere- monial occasion. When he arrived at Naropa’s hut and asked for more rare and exotic and advanced teachings, to his surprise Naropa told him, “I’m sorry, but you can’t receive these teachings from me.

The teacher opens avenues for progress and signposts of danger, perhaps in spite of himself. Sspiritual always come to the study of spirituality with some ideas already fixed in their minds of what it is they are going to get and how to deal with the person from whom they think they will get it.

The basic act of surrender does not involve the worship of an external power. As it moves along, the book becomes a little more complex. He had many stories to tell of his travels and studies, but he had nothing solid to prove his knowledge and experi- ence.


The neurotic state of mind is not difficult or impossible to deal with. He had an immense respect for Japanese Zen, and it shows in those lectures, and he emphasizes a lot of elements of Zen philosophy.

The hunter stalks the deer, kills it, and removes the musk. This is called the “honeymoon period” in which everything is seen as a part of this central being, the guru. It seems we have already achieved the level of Buddhahood. I heard many stories of this happening in the East: A guru should be a spiritual friend who communicates and presents his qualities to us, as Marpa did with Milarepa and Naropa with Marpa.

Generally, we find it very difficult to give out and surrender our raw and rugged qualities of ego. It’s certainly one of my favorites. They find it very difficult to reconcile so-called higher consciousness with practical affairs.

Compassion in this sense is not feeling sorry for someone. Real initiation takes place in terms of “the meeting of the two minds.

Aro – Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism

Whenever we begin to evaluate, deciding that we should or should not do this or that, then we have already associated our practice or our knowledge with categories, one pitted against the other, and that is spiri- tual materialism, the false spirituality of our spiritual advisor.

According to Chogyam Trungpa’s teachings and eastern philosophical thought in general, we are all here on this plane and in these bodies, leading these lives for a reason; the main reason being the we are charged with taking the best care of our bodies that we can so we may learn well from and meet head-on whatever challenges life, Karma and our relationship to Maya may set before us.

Is the guru The Guru 41 really able to see through your masks, communicate with you properly, directly? His teachers had trained him in recognizing the wiliness of ego and in avoiding seduction into seemingly beneficial activities that are really just mundane material pursuits in sacred garments.

Who is de- ceiving whom? This is often complicated further when the reader already has some expectations from or, dare I say, reverence for some or other portion of that corpus. In the second half of the book, he broadly describes the path of Bodhisattva.