The so-called real world is a perpetual cycle of suffering and discontent called samsara, in which base emotions such as hatred, envy, grasping, and ignorance reign. In our own time the materialistic outlook is completely dominant and almost impossible to resist. Only by removing our blindfolds and confronting these forces of negativity can they be overcome.
My teacher, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, sometimes referred to our lifestyle of extraordinary privilege as a “god realm,” a neurotic oasis of security and smugness. The pseudo-security of the god realm is based on deliberately ignoring the larger world and hunkering down in a safe haven where we can enjoy pleasures at all levels—material, emotional, and spiritual. It is based on denying death and ignoring the First Noble Truth of suffering. In this realm we take little responsibility for contributing to the suffering around us and prefer not to notice the many ways we benefit from it. As our focus is on securing pleasure and avoiding suffering, our compassion is extremely limited in scope.
– Judith L. Lief, “Welcome to the Real World”