AND AS TO TODAY's SIT-A-LONG ... SOME QUOTES FROM TRUNGPA RINPOCHE on not falling into "SPIRITUAL MATERIALISM" ...
warning about the difference between false "Heroism" in our practice, and sincere, open, hard effort ...
The attitude of
"heroism" is based upon the assumption that we are bad, impure, that we
are not worthy, are not ready for spiritual understanding. We must
reform ourselves, be different from what we are. For instance, if we
are middle class Americans, we must give up our jobs or drop out of
college, move out of our suburban homes, let our hair grow, perhaps try
drugs. if we are hippies, we must give up drugs, cut our hair short,
throw away torn jeans. We think that we are special, heroic, that we
are turning away from temptation. We become vegetarians and we become
this and that. There are so many things to become. We think our path is
spiritual because it is literally against the flow of what we used to
be, but it is merely the way of false heroism, and the only one who is
heroic in this way is ego. We can carry this sort of false heroism to great
extremes, getting ourselves into completely austere situations. If the
teaching with which we are engaged recommends standing on our heads for
twenty-four hours a day, we do it ... I am not saying that foreign or
disciplinary traditions are not applicable to the spiritual path.
Rather, I am saying that we have the notion that there must be some kind of medicine or magic potion to help us attain the right state of mind.
So the point we come back to is that some kind of real
gift or sacrifice is needed if we are to open ourselves completely.
This gift may take any form. But in order for it to be meaningful, it
must entail giving up our hope of getting something in return. It does
not matter how many titles we have, nor how many suits of exotic
clothes we have worn through, nor how many philosophies, commitments
and sacramental ceremonies we have participated in. We must give up our
ambition to get something in return for our gift. That is the really
we ever experienced the process of stripping and opening and giving?
That is the fundamental question. We must really surrender, give
something, give something up in a very painful way. We must begin to
dismantle the basic structure of the ego we have managed to create
how," we might ask, "are we to conduct the examination? What method or
tool are we to use?" The method that the Buddha discovered is
meditation. He discovered that struggling to find answers did not work.
It was only when there were gaps in his struggle that insights came to
him. He began to realize that there was a sane, awake quality within
him which manifested itself only in the absence of struggle. So the
practice of meditation involves "letting be". ... said the Buddha, "in
your meditation practice you should not impose anything too forcefully
on your mind, nor should you let it wander." That is the feeling of
letting the mind -be- in a very open way. ... In true meditation there is no ambition
to stir up thoughts, nor is there an ambition to suppress them. They are
just allowed to occur spontaneously and become an expression of basic
(Cutting through Spiritual Materialism, PP 78-81 and Introduction)