December 18, 2010

Spiritual Materialism

Anxious man often walks too fast and stubs his toe. Anxious practitioner of Way may do same. Often, he falls prey to spiritual materialism. Spiritual materialism is defined as mistakes spiritual seekers commit which transpose the quest of spiritualism into ego inflating and confusion creating exercise. Chogyam Trungpa first came up with this phrase. We can see it in those desperate to achieve enlightenment. Find someone with many books on Zen or Tao and you may also find person suffering from this malady. Materialism cannot substitute for real understanding. Real understanding not bought in trendy bookstore same as man with no golf experience who tries to buy great golf game with expensive golf clubs.

Spiritual materialism causes confusion because there is no understanding. Man who tries to solve algebraic equation without knowing formula is doomed to failure. Materialism leads to many possessions but no possession of what matters most. A title, background of teachers, or how many retreats you have been on is meaningless though many boast of same. We must strive to avoid quicksand of spiritual materialism and to seek to walk path of purity and truth.

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