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group study Misuse and Appropriation of Spiritual Labels to Encourage Greed

Group study openly invites people to learn and exchange thoughts together based on premises that are always explicitly pointed out, however loose they might be. Any fixed discussion outcomes aren't called for, but the intent is in personal growth and understanding. It's good to keep mindful and respectful of both what is and what isn't relevant for discussion though.

Misuse and Appropriation of Spiritual Labels to Encourage Greed​

Every so often we can see how spiritual labels are turned against their original aspirations: The search of true reality and its unconditional happiness becomes subverted for earthly ideals that lead away from these. In particular, we recognize the trends such as (1) marketing wisdom strategies for competitive advantage and (2) the suggestion to train meditative clarity as a dodgy "practical" application to enrich mundane goals or even plain lust. Very business oriented people may try openly to teach spiritual principles as something to monetize in good faith which the like-minded people might find endearing. Unfortunately, such open greed cannot account for naive ignorance and the fact this is superstitious fakery and fetishism at its best and hiding fraudulent intent behind a friendly face at its worst.

The way to wisdom is to realize that greed can grow without bounds if left unchecked with a heart of humility and modesty. If we take a wider look on the wisdom traditions of the world, this is why it's conveyed in the Christian Biblical tradition that the faithful and devout person lives in the world filled with temptations, but is not of the world and seeks higher reward in afterlife. The same principle is worded differently in Daoism: those who follow the Dao seem simple and foolish because they don't seek to maximize their personal gains nor apply their learning for self-gratifying material pursuits. Likewise, Mahayana Buddhism teaches responsible living according to the framework of Buddha Dharma which points to the unsatisfactory and illusionary nature of conventional self-cherishing existence and thus abandoning this for greater fulfillment in bodhicitta, wishing for everyone to be unconditionally happy and altruistically working towards it.

Those who teach wayward spiritual dabbling may however use the names of humility and modesty to manipulate others and with false expectations and abusive psychology like often happens with charismatic religious leaders. More on this side-tracking topic, see the the thread about personality cults here:

Let's continue with free discussion about spiritually sugar coated greed and optional illuminating study examples. A first serving here:
  • Equanimity

Earl Grey

Gonzo Daoist and Dharma Punk


The above comics illustrate why poor translations alone are problematic because they can give the wrong idea about the source material.

When it is appropriated to fit a framework, they're not narrowing down the text to apply it to something relevant--they're just using the name of the text as marketing material.

Nothing in those business and self-improvement texts relates to anything remotely similar to the essential wisdom teachings.

Sadly, these may need to exist if only for exposure and gradually inspiring people to seek out deeper lessons...but more often than not, they quote it like they quote movie characters, particularly Gordan Gekko from Wall Street and his love for The Art of War.
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  • Loving-kindness