Crazy Wisdom: The Life & Times of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Movie Review by Ron Wilkinson, Monsters and Critics, Nov 28, 2011

Los Angeles, CA (USA) -- Whether the viewer adheres to, or even grasps, Eastern religion, or not, this look inside the guru entertains.

Chogyam Trungpa (1939-1987) was the culmination of Buddhist lineage going back nearly to the beginning of Buddhism, several hundred years before the birth of Christ. He was Buddhist royalty. What made him famous was his embracing of Western civilization and his work is translating Buddhist doctrine into practical guidance for Western audiences.

He founded both Vajradhatu and Naropa Universities to explore and develop the Shambhala Training method, a secular approach to meditation. Shambhala teaches that a peaceful, meditative approach to self-awareness is a way towards an enlightened society.

It teaches that enlightenment is not something solely for the Gods or a chosen few. Rather, that it is possible for any person to achieve it through respectful discipline and self-examination.

He was also known as the "Bad Boy of Buddhism" for his denunciation of those who denounce what is supposed to be denounced by most modern religions. He smoked cigarettes, drank to extremes, was considered by many to be vigorously non-recovering alcoholic, and had open sexual relations with many women.

Very young women. He had thousands, if not millions of dedicated followers, lived a simple lifestyle, but had everything he wanted.

Nice work if you can get it, and you can get it if you try. At least according to Trungpa.

He was in the right place at the right time in the Western world. The 1960?s through 1980?s saw a period of deep introspection amongst a vast number of middle class and white-collar persons, especially the young. From the Beatles to the Beach Boys, everybody had a guru.

Trungpa was able to approach a society that was rapidly losing its moral guideposts as science slashed away at the traditional foundations/superstitions of Christianity. He translated many Tibetan texts into English and gained a better understanding of Western theological terminology and practice, than did other Buddhist luminaries.

He used this knowledge, coupled with an insatiable love of Western political and spiritual freedom, to couple with Americans and provide an alternative, workable solution to the determination of the pathway to, well, salvation.

This film is about all of that. Nothing more and nothing less.

The outstanding part of the film is the depiction of the fight that Trungpa waged with himself in the West. The first rule of science is that the scientific investigator never experiments on himself. Trungpa seemed to feel that exposing himself to all of the delusions, greed and egomania of the West was his best tool for giving himself to his followers.

The film shows the master with all of his warts and blemishes as it shows him wowing audiences around the world. He is caught up in superficial egotistical show business religion, breaks free, and then is drawn into a morass of xenophobic reactions from which only a magician could escape.

Throughout it all he keeps practicing what he termed ?crazy wisdom,? an anchoring to deep-seated convictions obtained through self-knowledge, and, most importantly, an unconditional love of the crazy world around him.

His followers saw the denunciations flow from his back as he radiated the knowledge that what others saw in him was really just a reflection of themselves.

A commendable collection of archival footage and present day interviews with the leaders of American alternative religious movements. This is a fun film even for those who will understand next to nothing about what the man has to say.

It is an easygoing look at a way of life that offers solutions to many of today?s emotional battles that are usually fought with drugs, prescription and non-prescription, conspicuous consumption and lawsuits. There might be a better way.

Genre: Documentary
Directed by: Johanna Demetrakas
Featuring: Pema Chodron, Ram Dass and Allen Ginsberg
Release Date: November 25, 2011
MPAA: Not Rated
Running Time: 86 Minutes
Country: USA
Language: Tibetan / English
Color: Color

We Need Your Help to Train the
Buddhist AI Chat Bot
(Neural Omniscient Robotic-Being for Buddhist Understanding)

For Malaysians who wants to donate in MYR, please use the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB

The SWIFT/BIC code for RHB Bank Berhad is: RHBBMYKLXXX
Address: 11-15, Jalan SS 24/11, Taman Megah, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Phone: 603-9206 8118

Note: Please indicate your name in the payment slip. Thank you.

Dear Friends in the Dharma,

We seek your generous support to help us train NORBU, the word's first Buddhist AI Chat Bot.

Here are some ways you can contribute to this noble cause:

One-time Donation or Loan: A single contribution, regardless of its size, will go a long way in helping us reach our goal and make the Buddhist LLM a beacon of wisdom for all.

How will your donation / loan be used? Download the NORBU White Paper for details.

For Malaysians who wants to donate in MYR, please use the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB

The SWIFT/BIC code for RHB Bank Berhad is: RHBBMYKLXXX
Address: 11-15, Jalan SS 24/11, Taman Megah, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Phone: 603-9206 8118

Note: Please indicate your purpose of payment (loan or donation) in the payment slip. Thank you.

Once payment is banked in, please send the payment slip via email to: Your donation/loan will be published and publicly acknowledged on the Buddhist Channel.

Spread the Word: Share this initiative with your friends, family and fellow Dharma enthusiasts. Join "Friends of Norbu" at: Together, we can build a stronger community and create a positive impact on a global scale.

Volunteer: If you possess expertise in AI, natural language processing, Dharma knowledge in terms of Buddhist sutras in various languages or related fields, and wish to lend your skills, please contact us. Your knowledge and passion could be invaluable to our project's success.

Your support is part of a collective effort to preserve and disseminate the profound teachings of Buddhism. By contributing to the NORBU, you become a "virtual Bodhisattva" to make Buddhist wisdom more accessible to seekers worldwide.

Thank you for helping to make NORBU a wise and compassionate Buddhist Chatbot!

May you be blessed with inner peace and wisdom,

With deepest gratitude,

Kooi F. Lim
On behalf of The Buddhist Channel Team

Note: To date, we have received the following contributions for NORBU:
US$ 75 from Gary Gach (Loan)
US$ 50 from Chong Sim Keong
MYR 300 from Wilson Tee
MYR 500 from Lim Yan Pok
MYR 50 from Oon Yeoh
MYR 200 from Ooi Poh Tin
MYR 300 from Lai Swee Pin
MYR 100 from Ong Hooi Sian
MYR 1,000 from Fam Sin Nin
MYR 500 from Oh teik Bin
MYR 300 from Yeoh Ai Guat
MYR 300 from Yong Lily
MYR 50 from Bandar Utama Buddhist Society
MYR 1,000 from Chiam Swee Ann
MYR 1,000 from Lye Veei Chiew
MYR 1,000 from Por Yong Tong
MYR 80 from Lee Wai Yee
MYR 500 from Pek Chee Hen
MYR 300 from Hor Tuck Loon
MYR 1,000 from Wise Payments Malaysia Sdn Bhd
MYR 200 from Teo Yen Hua
MYR 500 from Ng Wee Keat
MYR 10,000 from Chang Quai Hung, Jackie (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from K. C. Lim & Agnes (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from Juin & Jooky Tan (Loan)
MYR 100 from Poh Boon Fong (on behalf of SXI Buddhist Students Society)
MYR 10,000 from Fam Shan-Shan (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from John Fam (Loan)
MYR 500 from Phang Cheng Kar
MYR 100 from Lee Suat Yee
MYR 500 from Teo Chwee Hoon (on behalf of Lai Siow Kee)
MYR 200 from Mak Yuen Chau

We express our deep gratitude for the support and generosity.

If you have any enquiries, please write to: