By some kind of crazy reasoning and logic people who engage with Zen Buddhism imagine that the quest for enlightenment or satori allows them to continue with their everyday materialistic lifestyle, the orientation of which is always towards Darwinian fitness. But they are deceiving themselves in today's world.
First some facts. To awaken, is to awaken to a transcendent reality outside the ambit of the human body and its human constructed world with its never ceasing demands. To get here we cannot go by way of having a rich and rewarding lifestyle that faces opposite to the transcendent.
To make Zen Buddhism appealing to those who don't want to be challenged too much, Zen centers sell their members on a romantic vision of Zen in which the modern lifestyle and enlightenment can coexist. But in truth, they cannot coexist. First, the modern lifestyle has to modify itself in such a way that it is more than just possible to become enlightened.
The current economic structure and conditions do not allow for too much modification of the lifestyle to accommodate the quest for enlightenment. But it allowed it for me in the 1960s and 1970s when in 1972 I could make almost ninety dollars an hour picking cherries in today’s money! I also had much more leisure. Tuition was much, much cheaper and in most cases free. The list goes on. I could work for three months and hang out in the mountains away from the city for almost nine months and still have money left over.
The current economic conditions concern me. Most young people I know in their early 30s are hamstrung by excessive student loans they have to pay back. They don’t earn much money—so where is the leisure necessary for spiritual practice? It takes a lot of leisure time. Walking, meditation, studying the discourses of the Buddha takes time—lots of leisure time. Today's lifestyle doesn't permit very much leisure.