Something I want to do on this blog is a review on some of the many books that I read and the decks that I use in my readings. I plan to do one of each a month for fun! I like to share my thoughts, opinions and ideas about these things. 🙂
First up: Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism by Chogyam Trungpa
Spiritual Materialism is a book I loved. It was a book that the Universe very strongly wanted me to read. Within a week I met a few people who told me about this book and how I need to read it. So when I found a copy in a community book case, I traded books. Now I own my own copy (gratefully so) because this is one book that I would read over again. Possibly again.
This particular book is actually a transcription of a series of lectures given by Trungpa Rinpoche in the early seventies. The book flows extremely well even with the lecture and a Q & A at the end of each major section to further explain the lecture. The author has a brilliant mastery of English and Sanskrit, teaching throughout the book Sanskrit words and their true meaning from the very root, which I found interesting.
We are guided humorously yet deeply through the inner workings of the ego and mind, and all of the stages from where we begin on the path, to when we get a guru, to beyond the guru and into Tantra. It’s all done with a Tibetan Buddhist point of view and context, with stories to illustrate important points. I felt that I was uncovering things within myself as I read the lectures, and often had to stop and contemplate what was being said.
I found the material covered in the book to be deep and intense. A sense of humor is one of the things most valued by the speaker, and he certainly makes use of it in his lectures. The details of what Spiritual Materialism is – the pursuit of spirituality that feeds the ego- starts off the book, but it quickly turns onto another topic: The ego. The line of thinking is that in order to understand how spirituality can feed our ego, we need to understand the ego. Rinpoche guides us with a very simple metaphor of a monkey being stuck in a room. With this monkey we learn how ego is created and the patterns it has.
One of the things I enjoyed most in the book is that there seems to contain a guide of a spiritual path that most people tend to follow. As different parts were described I could identify with particular parts that I have witnessed in my life, some of the good parts and some of the bad ones. This book is definitely a keeper, and one that I will definitely enjoy re-reading.
Near the end of the book, even though I was reading through the book rather slowly for my pace my brain started to feel overwhelmed. I felt that there was a lot of information coming from the book, and I’m not confident in my ability to recall information from the last chapter or two of the book. There were a few incidences in the book where my beliefs don’t match up with Rinpoches beliefs, and that’s okay. This book is heavily from a Tibetan Buddhist point of view.
This book is one that I loved. I think it is one that I will keep in my library for a long time coming, and is one that many people would find a good read at some point on their path. It is an honest look at the ego and Spiritual Materialism, one that is rarely found.
To purchase this book and get more info, you can click here: Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism by Chogyam Trungpa.