When we talk about spiritual advancement or development, we are not talking about expanding ourselves and becoming more professional. We are talking about unknowing and undoing. One of the problems in the spiritually materialistic approach is that, as we begin to learn more, we add more tricks and trips of all kinds. More gadgets. The American society already has enough gadgets and tricks, but we want to add more because they seem to be fascinating and efficient ways to runs our “scenes” — our household scene, business scene, whatever. But in the long run this creates further chaos and more garbage.
That is precisely why we need to beware of spiritual materialism, because when we create more tricks and trips in our lives, we are creating all kinds of garbage. Some of the tricks are fantastic, outrageous, and one might wonder who even dreamt up such things. One feels dwarfed by such wisdom. However, it’s just more stuff. It’s garbage. it’s something that’s being imposed upon us, which has nothing to do with unlearning, undoing, or simplifying….Instead, we should think about this in terms of ecology. It is ecologically good not to collect more stuff, more garbage.
From “Surrender,” in Cynicism and Magic: Intelligence and Intuition on the Buddhist Path, page 42.