When I practice Tibetan Buddhism am I engaging in spiritual materialism?

Picture of an image that came up when the old man googled spiritual materialism he instagramed to illustrate this episode of Pulp Buddhism in which the Naropa Prairie Dog Players discuss whether or not their practice of Tibetan Buddhism is an example of spiritual materialism…

Virginia begins.

“As a 501c3 Karma Triyana Dharmachakra and its affiliate centers are prohibited from advocating for a political cause.”

Karl replies.

“That isn’t the issue.”

Caroline replies.

“Is advocating for a political cause an example of spiritual materialism?”

Caroline adds.

“I think not.”

Allen replies.

“When Trungpa coined the phrasspiritual materialism he was speaking to the materialism of Tibetan culture, spiritual but no less corrupted by materialism than our own.”

Sally replies.

“That’s how I read Trungpa’s Cutting through spiritual materialism.”

Sally adds.

“He was calling out those early adopters of Tibetan Buddhism in the West who wished they had been born Tibetan.”

Allen replies.

“This was actual a thing back in the day.”

Sally replies.

“It still is in some circles.”

Allen continues.

“The belief that if we could only be more like Tibetans, the better.”

Caroline replies.

“As if being Tibetan was required to benefit from the practice of Tibetan Buddhism.”

Caroline adds.

“Which simply isn’t true.”

Virginia replies.

“At least as far as Chogyam Trungpa was concerned.”

Karl replies.

“No Rinpoche ever came to the West telling their students they were wasting their time practicing Tibetan Buddhism because they aren’t Tibetan,”

Sally replies.

“Perhaps so.”

Sally adds.

“Their lamas do, though.”

Virginia replies.

“That’s because they aren’t as good as Tibetans.”

Karl replies.

“You learned that in retreat, as do all Westerners when they do their three year retreat, that you suck at being Tibetan.”

Karl adds.

“It’s part of the process.”

Sally replies.

“As such the materialism is in the process itself.”

Karl continues.

“It’s no different than what I went through in basic training when I enlisted in the Air Force to avoid the draft.”

Karl adds.

“You end up spending four years out of your life and forty grand better spent on anything but three plus years in retreat to become a lama and have the rest of your life to regret having done so.”

Allen replies.

“Which is exactly what Trungpa was talking about when he spoke about spiritual materialism back in the day.”

Virginia replies.

“That being said, if we could only all be more like Tibetans the world would be a better place.”

Virginia adds.

“That’s my story and I’m sticking to it regardless.”

End scene. Fini.

Another episode of Pulp Buddhism brought to you by the Naropa Prairie Dog Players and by viewers like you, thank you for your support.

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