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Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism [Kindle Edition]

Chogyam Trungpa
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Inthis modern spiritual classic, the Tibetan meditation master ChögyamTrungpa highlights the commonest pitfall to which every aspirant on thespiritual path falls prey: what he calls spiritualmaterialism.The universal tendency, he shows, is to see spirituality as a process ofself-improvement—the impulse to develop and refine the ego when the ego is, bynature, essentially empty. "The problem is that ego can convert anythingto its own use," he said, "even spirituality." His incisive,compassionate teachings serve to wake us up from this trick we all play onourselves, and to offer us a far brighter reality: the true and joyousliberation that inevitably involves letting go of the self rather than workingto improve it. It is a message that has resonated with students for nearlythirty years, and remains fresh as ever today.

Thisnew edition includes a foreword by Chögyam Trungpa's son and lineageholder, Sakyong Mipham.

Editorial Reviews


"The usefulness of this book lies in Trungpa's uncanny ability to cut right to the heart of the matter and presents his understanding of Buddhism and the way of life it teaches in a manner that is applicable to his students' living situation."— Journal of the American Academy of Religion

From the Inside Flap

Examines the self-deceptions, distortions, and sidetracks that imperil the spiritual journey as well as awareness and fearlessness of the true path.

Product Details

  • File Size: 899 KB
  • Print Length: 280 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1570629579
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications; New edition edition (September 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00452VFC6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #304,987 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
61 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It does what it says on the tin May 1, 2002
A no-nonsense, firm, but gentle warning note to those of us committed to the so-called path of self-development. Trungpa patiently brings into fresh air the dangerous and destructive method by which we typically approach the notion of spirituality: i.e. as something to be developed, learnt through discipline or otherwise achieved much as we seek to aquire the prizes in our everyday material life. Trungpa's message was ideally suited to that aspect of ourselves - the Eastern mind as much as the Western - which is constantly looking for something external through which we hope to secure our sense of self and make us happy. Exposing this tendency with great skill and clarity, he outlines a more open, direct and yet infinitely more challenging way to experience Mind beyond the self through correct meditation. Even amongst Buddhist literature this is wonderfully refreshing and at once destroys all hope of bettering oneself and yet points to a far brighter fact: that true liberation inevitably involves letting go of the self rather than working to improve it. The often rather painful process of spiritual awakening is made sense of in this book if we begin to see that our emotions and thoughts cloud our direct experience of reality. An apt message befitting an enlightened being who wore his suits 2 sizes too small as a constant reminder of the irritation and dissatisfaction of the samsaric world.
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50 of 53 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Chogyam Trungpa, often referred to as one of the few oriental, Buddhist lamas who truly understood the Western mind, here transcends East and West by addressing simply and eloquently, the processes of the mind and ego. Trungpa illuminates how some of these processes can undermine an otherwise wholesome relationship to ourselves and our basic goodness (buddha nature) and our relationship with others. These processes can cause our suffering and the suffering of others and disrupt our efforts to be decent and skillful. The non-theistic text, transmitted by this extraordinarily gifted meditation master, is presented freely without prostelytizing and is offered clearly without judgment, blame, guilt, hope or fear. Cutting Through is an important stepping-stone towards developing self-awareness, fearlessness, friendship and loving kindness. A 'must-read' for any diver or warrior of heart and courage. Also recommended are Trungpa's: Shambhala, Path of the Warrior and/or Meditation in Action.
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141 of 166 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You Will Get Hurt... September 4, 2000
Trungpa lets loose with his cannon in this book. Christianity, Islam, and Judiasm are totally false because they are "eternalists". They believe in a permanent soul that just goes on and on and on. Hindus are eternalists. Theravada Buddhists are what Trungpa calls "atomistic eternalists". They don't realize that an ant sees a flower as a jungle. Or a spot of dirt as a mountain. The obsever of phenomena is left out. Enlightenment consists of a Self observing impermanence, suffering, and selflessness. The Self is indicated from the fact that the observer is not dealt with. And there is no observer. So Trungpa states that "atomistic materialists" are "half right". Zen speaks of a Big Mind. There is no "Big Mind". And he isn't done with us yet. The spiritual path is horrible! All pain. My collecting of spiritual teachers is called "Spiritual Materialism". My examaning self-help books AND doing reviews on them is called "psychological materialsim". The last is "Physical Materialism". And Trungpa seems to indicate that this last form of materialism is the least harmful! He states that the Guru will cut through your suit of armor. He will keep at you until you are exposed naked. You will try and struggle to keep your armor intact. But the Guru will see your pretense and expose whatever you are hiding. He will strip you clean of all three forms of materialism. WOW! Please remember that this book is composed of his lectures to his students. It is simply brillant beyond belief in it's ability to destroy illogical assumptions made by people. It is a classic. Trungpa always had a way of examining the American Mind and striking at our delusions. It is a great read. Like seeing us all excited about our spiritual journey and kicking here and there until we fall. A must read. Buy it and read it three times like I did. Trunpa always cuts. See what you can do with this book. Thank you.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
THIS BOOK IS IDEAL FOR SOMEONE WHO HAS READ A NUMBER OF BUDHIST BOOKS AND BELIEVES HIMSELF TO UNDERSTAND THE INNER MEANING OF THE TEACHINGS. It will cut through your arrogance like butter and will help to keep your mind open and your spirit humble.

The book is a great and well rounded look at spirituality and the problems encountered. It gives a brief view of the proper attitude towards spirituality, then gives detailed account of how our attitudes obscure and constantly attempt to manipulate spirituality for personal gain. Also included are good overall views of the most basic budhist the Four Noble Truths and the Six Realms.
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for meditators July 27, 2000
This is a classic of Western Buddhism, by one of the most influential Tibetan Buddhist teachers in the West. Some of the stuff about relating to a guru may be justifiably off-putting to many Western readers, but don't let that keep you from seeing all the wonderful teaching in this book. I've read parts of it again and again over the past decade (especially the introduction and the first chapter) as the simple but elusive point has finally started to sink in that spiritual practice is not about getting anywhere or achieving anything.

This book is best for readers who are already involved in Buddhist practice. I also highly recommend Trungpa's "The Myth of Freedom," which is a better place to start if you're new to Buddhist practice, and "The Wisdom of No Escape" by Pema Chodron, a student of Trungpa.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Out of the Box Thinking!!
This book is a real mind blowing experience. The author Chogyam Trungpa, was a unique, one of a kind, controversial teacher of Buddhism. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jane Trezise
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic book on ego-based Spirituality
For people who are interested in spirituality the possible pitfalls of using spiritual practices (defined as, becoming more of a human being) to bolster your own ego is always... Read more
Published 2 months ago by David Park
5.0 out of 5 stars So happy
I really like the fact that I can find every book I'm looking for. I also have to say the condition of the book was impeccable . Like I just bought it at the store. Very happy.
Published 2 months ago by Suzie Martel
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Introduction
Clear and precise information on the wisdom of the path of Buddhist practice. A classic teaching for people in West who wish to understand what it means to be enlightened.
Published 2 months ago by Annette Seidenglanz
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the best book I wrote this year
This book is amazing. It really breaks down how we let our ego get caught up in our desire to become more into ourself and the world around us. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Michael Douglas Neely
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely essential
If you take the spiritual path, any spiritual path, seriously, then you want this book at your side. Read more
Published 7 months ago by William C.
5.0 out of 5 stars great wisdom
The book allows one to learn from examples of ancient stories and translates it into over coming common struggles. I'm very enlightened!
Published 8 months ago by Guadalupe
I ordered this so I could use it as a reference for life. After I borrowed it from the library & renewed 3 times (the limit) I knew I had to have a copy of my very own. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Gary O'Dell
4.0 out of 5 stars Take a break every fifteen minutes...
I can say that if you are a western practioner of religious practices, this book will shock you. It is like a temple being toppled over when you find that everything you had been... Read more
Published 9 months ago
5.0 out of 5 stars depends on where you sit - pun intended
If you are a person that thinks Buddhism is about creating a separate better, peaceful, loving, non-angry version of yourself that checks all the boxes and conveniently helps you... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Zach Zinn
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More About the Author

Chögyam Trungpa (1940-1987)--meditation master, teacher, and artist--founded Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, the first Buddhist-inspired university in North America; the Shambhala Training program; and an international association of meditation centers known as Shambhala International. He is the author of numerous books including Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, and The Myth of Freedom.

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