May 05, 2011

Can Work, Sex, and Money be part of Spiritual Practice?

The opening paragraphs of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche's Work, Sex, Money: Real Life on the Path of Mindfulness,

    The discussion of work, sex, and money is quite a big undertaking. Usually people see these subjects as very private. Nevertheless, we have decided to discuss them. However, the subject matter is not purely work, sex, and money but something behind those things, another dimension that is connected with how we relate with life altogether.
    As Buddhist practitioners or practitioners of meditation, we are supposed to be immersed in the contemplative tradition and spiritual practice. Why would we discuss work, sex, and money? If you are involved in spirituality, you may think you should transcend work, sex, and money. Perhaps you think you should live the contemplative life, a life in which those things don't apply because you spend the whole day meditating. You should have nothing to do with those things. You shouldn't have to think about work. Nobody should be involved in sex, because people shouldn't have such lustful thoughts at all while living the contemplative life of meditation. And money—you should be involved with that the least of all! What money? Who has any anyhow? Money—that's the last thing we should think about. Spirituality, you may think, is not concerned with green energy.* Forget about money—we should have transcended that.
    On the other hand, you may find that in spite of your spiritual intentions, your life is involved with work, sex, and money anyway. In that case, maybe there is something to be said about those subjects after all. On the whole, we are not strictly spiritual or religious at all. People have to look for work. They have to find a j-o-b. We work for money. We may find that we are building our lives around sex and more generally on relationships.
    Then the question is, are we really working on spirituality or not? If so, there is something that we might not have thought about: that spirituality isn't really "spirituality" in an idealized sense. Do you think spirituality is something purely transcendental? It's questionable. Real spirituality might have something to do with ordinary life.

 

*Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche used the term green energy to refer to money. Today it has a much different meaning, connected with the use of renewable resources and energy that does not have a negative impact on the environment.

Discuss Work, Sex, Money here!

Share with a Friend

Email to a Friend

Already a member? Log in to share this content.

You must be a Tricycle Community member to use this feature.

1. Join as a Basic Member

Signing up to Tricycle newsletters will enroll you as a free Tricycle Basic Member.You can opt out of our emails at any time from your account screen.

2. Enter Your Message Details

Enter multiple email addresses on separate lines or separate them with commas.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.