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The most effective way to tame your materialism that you should not miss

Meditation, 10:07 AM, August, 14 2022
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We are living in a materialistic world. Technology and economy develop in a fast way, leading to the growth of our desire for material things, money, etc. Seriously, the desire for material goods does not bring long-term contentment, genuine feeling of happiness and peace. Dear Thay, can you please teach me how not to be controlled by superficiality and materialism?

According to Buddhism, there is a part called instinct or past karma in each of us, which manipulates us into following our material desires. This karma is not exclusive to humans, but present in all sentient beings. Once born, we have already had our desireful intent whose root is ignorance, also known as the lack of understanding since the past lifetimes. In other words, ignorance gives birth to desire, especially material desires. 

In this worldly realm, we have material desires. In higher realms of existence, beings there, like devas for example, also have desires, but more subtle. So, in Buddhism, desire is a karmic fruit present in all beings. 

Now that you ask how we can prevent ourselves from getting attached to this material world, with all its forms and colors. In order to do so, we must master ourselves and muster up courage. It takes learning a practice to become a self-dependent person, and that's not something that can be rushed. There is no shortcut to this. 

Therefore, firstly, we must study to have a thorough understanding of the value of everything. The material satisfaction we seek brings about pleasure, but is that a long lasting or only a temporary thing, is it true pleasure or a fleeting, false moment that is followed by suffering? Once aware of that, we will understand that all this pleasure is only fleeting, temporary, and precedes suffering and regret, then we will grow disillusioned by it. From disillusionment, we will grow detached by it. And from there, we won't be dependent on it anymore. 

It is like when we have a close friend whose every word we would listen to. Because that friend often brings us joy, we like him a lot, but he leads us into playing dangerous games all along. Now we must realize, even though he is really fun to be with, he will eventually lead us to suffering and sickness. 

Even though he is close to us and brings us joy, he is still a bad person. When we are aware of that, we begin to avoid and grow detached from him. Then, he has no more chance to drag us along and we will gain mastery over ourselves. When we are close to him, we are dependent on him and can't master ourselves.

Therefore, to a Buddhist, we must be aware of material desires, then become disillusioned by it, and grow detached from and avoid it. Only then can we master ourselves. It is a very accurate path, the path of our mind. This is the clear path. First we study and grow our awareness, then we understand and grow apart from desires. When we find something truly dangerous, we will stay away from it and we will stop being dependent on it. That is the path the Buddha showed us.

Practicing meditation regularly is an effective way to achieve awareness, thus taming your materialism

Practicing meditation regularly is an effective way to achieve awareness, thus taming your materialism

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