Don’t be a Bum, via Chögyam Trungpa, Buddhist guru & founder of Naropa, Shambhala.

Don’t be a Bum [my title]: an Ocean of Dharma email quote of the week.

Okay, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche wasn’t exactly talking about deadheads or often-troubled homeless nomads…this was back in 1968, when many of his young Buddhist students wanted to ‘get back to the land,’ renounce the corrupted, material world, live a currency-less life and live beneath the active strata of conventional society. If you like the below, subscribe—it’s free—and you’ll get a little enlightenment in your inbox from time to time. ~ elephantjournaldotcom ed-in-chief, Waylon Lewis.



We may try to be a spiritually inclined person who does not care about money. We want to be free of worldly concerns. However, trying to lead life completely free from money or materialism lacks clarity and real feeling. Particularly in this highly organized society, we live at the expense of others, unless we ourselves contribute something. Whether we are living in a remote place, such as the north of Scotland, or wherever we are, we still need food, and this food is produced by somebody. This food is the product of someone’s work. Someone has been working, going to a great deal of trouble to produce our food. Some people may spend their lives purely churning milk in order to produce butter. Some people spend their whole lives just screwing bolts into things. Most of their lives are just spent doing that. People are trained in the beginning to do regular, ordinary work, and they do it.

When the time comes to retire, they feel something is missing, something has been lost. Those people suffer, but they don’t think in terms of suffering or pain, because they have so bravely accepted their lives and ignored all the other aspects of life. They close one eye and just do it, just one thing. The world is made out of this, the present world anyway. Perhaps it has always been this way. This is not just a question of money alone, but appreciating the practicality of life and having compassion. There is a limit to how much freedom we take.
~ In OCEAN OF DHARMA: THE EVERYDAY WISDOM OF CHOGYAM TRUNGPA, #242. Originally from “Money,” an unpublished talk given in Scotland circa 1968.

Of interest to readers:

Waylon Lewis reviews OCEAN OF DHARMA in the new online version of ELEPHANT magazine.

All material by Chögyam Trungpa copyright Diana J. Mukpo and used by permission.

OCEAN OF DHARMA now has 6,317 subscribers. Please send comments on and contributions to OCEAN OF DHARMA to Carolyn Gimian, at: [email protected].

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Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of Elephant Journal & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat.” Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword’s Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by “Greatist”, Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: “the mindful life” beyond the choir & to all those who didn’t know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, touches on modern relationships from a Buddhist point of view. His dream of 9 years, the Elephant “Ecosystem” will find a way to pay 1,000s of writers a month, helping reverse the tide of low-quality, unpaid writing & reading for free online.