Sunday Service: The Five Kinds of Poverty

Peter Kowalke

Week of Dec 14 – 20, 2014

I’m back in Bangkok this week after nearly two weeks meditating at Wat Suan Mokkh near Surat Thani, Thailand. The founder of the monastery, Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, was both rigorous in his approach to Buddhism (we slept on concrete slabs, used wooden pillows, and woke up at 4am every morning during the retreat) and also broadly advocated that all major spiritual traditions converged at the highest levels of practice. This is very similar to what American Vedanta espouses, so I’m back with plenty of inspiration and ideas to share.

The monastery has given us permission to reprint several essays by the prolific Buddhadasa, and we’ll start highlighting some of his work in the coming weeks. But for now, here’s a spiritual talk by one of our favorite Christian writers, Meister Eckhart.


Yours in service,


This Week’s Spiritual Talkpoverty2

The Five Kinds of Poverty

by Meister Eckhart

The really virtuous man does not need God. What I have I don’t lack. He makes no plans, he sets no store by things. As God is higher than man, so is he readier to give than man is to receive.

Not by his fasts and vigils and his many outward works does a man prove his progress in the spiritual life, but it is a sure sign of his growth if he finds eternal things more and more attractive than the things that pass. The man who has a thousand marks of God and gives it all away for love of God is doing a fine thing, yet I say it is far finer and far better for him to despise it, regarding it as nothing on God’s account.

A man should orient his will and all his works to God. Having only God in view, he should go forward unafraid, not thinking, “am I right or am I wrong?” One who worked out all the chances before starting his first fight would never fight at all. If going to some place we must think how to set the front foot down, we shall never get there.

It is our duty to do the next thing: go straight on. That is the right way.

There are five kinds of poverty: the first is devilish poverty; the second, golden poverty; the third is willing poverty; the fourth is spiritual poverty; the fifth, divine poverty.

(read more)


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American Vedanta on YouTube

Finding lasting happiness. Applying the Bhagavad Gita to daily life. Learning about the history of Vedanta in the U.S. These are some of the topics covered at American Vedanta’s YouTube channel. We curate a list of spiritual videos that will help advance your spirituality and expand your mind. When wanting spiritual videos, give our YouTube channel a look.

We also recommend other resources such as Booksaudio lectures and web sites, among other resources.


Spiritual Fitness

Do You have a Spiritual Routine?

Vedanta, if not practical, has no other relevancy. The key to practical Vedanta is an individualized spiritual routine.

There are six components of a good spiritual routine.

Swan1. Find a Community. If you have an existing church, temple or mosque, attend regularly. If not, join our Facebook group and see our list of recommended spiritual organizations.

2. Seek Guidance. Find a mentor within your existing spiritual community or contact us for a referral.

3. Attend Spiritual Services Regularly. If you don’t live near an appropriate spiritual community, we offer a weekly spiritual talk delivered by email, Facebook and Twitter. We also host a regular Vedanta Dinner for those who live in the New York City area.

4. Incorporate Individual Study. We keep a list of books and resources for your individual study needs.

5. Take Responsibility for Your Spiritual Life. Read our talk about listening to your own inner compass and contact us when you have a question that your spiritual community isn’t answering adequately.

6. Leverage Rituals Thoughtfully. As an example, read our essay about the power of saying grace.

Our longer talk about spiritual routine can be found here.

Happy Sunday! Peace be unto you. Peace be unto all.

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