Work, Sex, Money: real life on the path of mindfulness, Chogyam Trungpa

I honestly did not look forward to reading this book. What do work, sex and money have to do with spirituality? On glancing through the book in ebook form that impression did not improve much. However, when I started reading the physical book, it gripped me.

And I really don’t know what I was thinking. As Chogyam Trungpa says in this book repeatedly: sex, work and money are the things that cause us most grief. It’s real life and facing up to that is real spirituality. Spirituality isn’t about finding an escape from those issues. It’s about learning how to deal with those issues.

Chogyam Trungpa is qualified to talk about these topics because he was raised a Tibetan Buddhist monk, but after moving to the West he married, had several businesses and of course taught Buddhism to all kinds of audiences.

The book is based on transcripts of three talks about work, sex and money, with material from a dozen or so other talks included where it fit. Sherab Chodzin Kohn and Carolyn Rose Gimian edited the material into this book. They tried to keep Trungpa’s voice alive while also giving the book a coherent form. Here and there Carolyn put in footnotes to put what Trungpa says in context, either Vajrayana Buddhist context or relating it to present day reality.

I thought the book was fascinating. Because he lived in several cultures, Trungpa brings to the topic not just Tibetan Buddhist wisdom, but also Tibetan practice. His examples range from every day western cultural patterns to Tibetan ones. He goes into the psychology of dealing with money, but also includes a thorough discussion of karma.

Most of this book can be read without any understanding of Buddhism, but every once in a while he uses examples from Vajrayana (tantric) Buddhism that most of the intended audience won’t be familiar with – that I am personally only vaguely familiar with, for instance.

What you’ll get out of this book most, I think, is a change in perspective. Work, sex and money are all expressions of the sacredness of life, as Trungpa says. Treat them as sacred, deal with your annoyances, and your life may be transformed.

Curiously enough, the book is more expensive for Kindle than in paperback.

See also these quotes from Work, Sex, Money: Real life on the Path of Mindfulness.

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