I've noticed that the material world was not a priority for characters in history whom I consider fully awakened like Jesus, Buddha, and Mother Teresa.

asked 26 Feb '10, 19:53

Brian's gravatar image


Certainly possessions can be a distraction, but that doesn't necessarily mean you have to give them up to achieve enlightenment. You may find it harder than you think, however.

Consider the obstacles we must overcome just to find a quiet time and place for meditation. It's not so much that you can withdraw from the world for awhile; that part is easy. It's being able to empty your mind of daily concerns that is difficult. By the time you accomplish this, the hour you have devoted to touching the divine has passed, and the kids want to eat dinner. Or your blackberry goes off and...well, you get the idea.

If enlightenment is the primary goal, material possessions eventually become attachments. In order to bring something new into your life, sometimes you have to give up something else. This is not only true of material possessions (you only have so much space to put stuff), but also thoughts, habits, beliefs and attitudes.

You could argue that some modern conveniences free up our time to devote to more spiritual matters, and you would certainly be correct. Having a washing machine certainly makes keeping my clothes clean a trivial matter.

But at what cost? I own a car, and that makes it easy for me to get to work, but I have to put gas in the car. I have to change the oil from time to time, and check the air pressure in the tires. I do, in fact, have to clean it occasionally. There is also the matter of the car payment, which is part of the reason I drive to work in the first place.

Yes, owning a vehicle does give me freedom to move around in the physical world, but do I really need to drive somewhere to find enlightenment?

Jesus, Buddha and Mother Theresa eschewed material possessions, not because they thought it would prevent them from achieving enlightenment, but because they thought other things were more important than stuff.

In the end, maybe it's not the stuff that matters, but how you interact with it. Is putting air in your tires just another chore, or is it a spiritual act? I personally find things like that very zen-like. But maybe that's because I like working with my hands.


answered 26 Feb '10, 21:16

Vesuvius's gravatar image


edited 27 Feb '10, 03:05

I don't think it is the accumulation of stuff that matters but more importantly if we form an attachment to it. When we proceed on the path of awakening we realize that the material things do not hold as much importance to us anymore and our relationships and how we act toward and help others become more of a priority in our life. I don't think there is anything wrong with having stuff but when we become attached to material things and neeeeed to keep accumulating more, then, the stuff becomes a problem.


answered 27 Feb '10, 00:03

Michaela's gravatar image


I've noticed that the material world was not a priority for characters in history whom I consider fully awakened like Jesus, Buddha, and Mother Teresa.

I don't know about Buddha, but Jesus and Mother Teresa worked their butts of healing, nurturing, teaching, consoling, etc etc material people in a material world. One might suggest that it was partly through unselfish love that they reached their Awakening. AS YOU GIVE, SO SHALL YOU RECEIVE. Love your neighbour as yourself, and love God.


answered 01 Mar '10, 00:01

Inactive%20User's gravatar image

Inactive User ♦♦

I like that very much, Thanks.

(01 Mar '10, 00:11) Brian

everything material will one day vanish so attaching yourself to it will cause only suffering!it does not mean that you can't have stuff! it just mean to not attach yourself to it!


answered 16 May '11, 08:43

white%20tiger's gravatar image

white tiger

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