Saturday, October 15, 2011

Guest Blog about movie Crazy Wisdom

As someone learning about Chogyam Trungpa for the first time I found Crazy Wisdom to be a very interesting moving. There were times during the movie where I felt a little put off by him and other times during the movie where I felt inspired and intrigued by him. I don't know if this was part of the intent, but it certainly kept me paying attention and wanting more.

I'm not sure if I really picked up on the Crazy Wisdom thing though. From what I understand Crazy Wisdom is the behavior and way of teaching that can occur in someone who is very spiritually mature. Behavior that is seen to be 'unconventional, outrageous, or unexpected'. To me this means employing such behavior in order to spread the Dharma. Thinking outside of the box, albeit very far outside of the box, in order to get the message across. Other than his habit of drinking, smoking and sleeping with many of his disciples, I didn't see much outrageous behavior and I certainly didn't recognize any of this behavior in his actual teachings. Maybe I missed it though.

There were beautiful scenes in the movie and it was really fascinating to see images of the monastery where Padmasambhava meditated as well as the burial/cremation ceremony of Chogyam Trungpa.

I think the thing that struck me most in this movie was the level of attachment that his disciples seemed to have towards him. Breaking the cycle of craving and attachment is the key element in Buddhism and yet, Chogyam Trungpa's disciples seemed so attached to him. So much so, that it was cultish. Maybe it was the time in which he was around. And though he was a great man, I believe it is important to recognize and acknowledge this because it does affect one's view of Buddhism and there are too many people out there who still believe that Buddhism is a 'cult' society. And we are to grow the movement and change that view, we have to acknowledge it.

Another key element for me, which was a purposeful part of the story line, was his realness. His pure comfort with who he was and the ease with which he existed. He was himself, he was laid-back, but passionate and serious about his beliefs and teachings and I think this is a large part of why he was so revered. He was accessible. Many of the people who were interviewed about him said that had a certain light and lightness about him, that there was just something about him that was enchanting and glorious. I saw it too. Regardless of whether or not I was put off at times.

It is said that in wanting to bring Buddhism to the west, he decided that he needed to immerse himself in the ways and customs of the westerners in order to determine the most appropriate way to teach them. And though I understand the intent, many times he seemed as though he was behaving recklessly, showing a lack of thought or concern for his disciples. Almost as if he just wanted to go and see how the other half lived, so to speak. Perhaps this is what Crazy Wisdom refers to. As I said before, there were times when I felt put off, this was one of those times. But at the same time, I really wasn't sure because there were always teachings and quite frankly, he made a lot of people happy and helped to grow the movement and so, he was successful. That's not to say that reckless behavior is okay, but sometimes things are hard to decipher and many positive things came out of it and for now, for me, that's okay. I'm going to read more about him and his contributions and perhaps refine my thoughts a bit more.

All in all, he is just too interesting to not learn more about. The conflicting actions and behaviors between Chogyam Trungpa's life and the traditional Buddhist teachings are almost a perfect lesson in Buddhism and therefore deserve nothing less than further contemplation.

by Cori Viles

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