Author Topic: The crazy wisdom of Chogyam Trungpa  (Read 26407 times)


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The crazy wisdom of Chogyam Trungpa
« on: February 13, 2012, 04:15:51 AM »
Recently I chanced upon this interesting video on the great Mahasiddha , Chogyam Trungpa.

Crazy Wisdom: The Life & Times of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche -Trailer -Shambhala

Do share with us-
1) what you learn from his methods of spreading the dharma
2) what are the similarities/ differences between him and your own Lama ( if you have a Lama).


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Re: The crazy wisdom of Chogyam Trungpa
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2012, 04:42:26 AM »
What I learn from his method of spreading the dharma :

1) He will do anything even it might seem "unconventional", "crazy", " controversial" to the norm just to benefit the people around him.

2) He does not mind jeoperdising his reputation for the benefit of others.

3) He is spreading buddhism without the "hard core" teaching stuff, so his followers or students didn't even know he was teaching buddhism but just enjoyed being around him and learn from him.

4) He understood the cultures, life styles and the level of minds of the group he was with,  he was able to use suitable methods to deliver buddhism/dharma in the most acceptable way to his followers, like art, table setting, painting, flower arrangement and even drugs etc...planting seeds for their future lives.

5) He always has a sense of "humour" which is important to the masses.

He is truely a Bodhisattva, as the lives of his followers whom he has touched upon, are still practising dharma now.....imagine where would they be without Chogyam Trungpa infusing dharma to them during the flower power period??


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Re: The crazy wisdom of Chogyam Trungpa
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2012, 08:47:25 AM »
What I learned is that teaching the Dharma isn't always about the pujas, ceremonies, meditation in the conventional sense. The real Lama always challenge your projections. In this world that is perhaps the most effective in reaching the optimum number of people.

With a Lama like that, people do not need to change their culture to get the Dharma. The Lama brings the Dharma to their environment.

Then the real transformation can occur. The type that matters most.

We need more Lama like that.

Positive Change

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Re: The crazy wisdom of Chogyam Trungpa
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2012, 09:37:45 AM »
1) What you learn from his methods of spreading the dharma?

Chogyam Trungpa is truly a great Mahasiddha as his methods are incredibly varied and skillful to the point of seemingly contradictory within themselves but in actual fact it is merely a switch of perception but with the same results. e.g. How he started exuding the "flower power" child persona moving into a more seemingly outward serious persona. It was all merely "adjusting" towards the delusions and perceptions of his students and the changing times!

2) What are the similarities/ differences between him and your own Lama (if you have a Lama)?

The Lama's or Guru's motivations are always to benefit the students and they will find any and every possible way or method to transform each and every student's mind. As each student is different from the other, many different methods need to be employed. Hence, whichever method/methods used there will always be similarities/differences between Chogyam Trungpa and my own Lama or any other Lama for that matter. We should be so lucky to have such a compassionate teacher to learn from and be guided by!


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Re: The crazy wisdom of Chogyam Trungpa
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2012, 04:10:58 PM »
Dear K,
TQ for bringing this extraordinary video here.
The similarities between CT and most mahasiddhas are so obvious. I would sum up my observation of Lamas who belong to the mahasiddha lineage.
1.   fearlessness – the full extent of this term applies to activities considered taboo and unconventional. One cannot claim to have overcome all fears if one avoid things like sex, wrathful methods, or unconventional behaviour which can be utilized to benefit others if applied skillfully. None of the above is bad /evil if performed with the sincere motivation to benefit others. Proper behaviour according to social norms does not necessarily guarantee the person has a good heart nor lead to inner transformation.
2.   Total awareness – the master may appear to be doing the same things as his students but they never lose control even when they appear drunk like his students. He still can benefit others I that state.
3.   Consistency – their actions are always in accord with dharma and karma but skillfully applied in 4 ways – pacifying, increasing, controlling and wrathfulness. Consistency can only come from having realized the truth which does not fluctuate and create uncertainties.
4.   Skillfulness – out of compassion ,they will try all methods and means to bring a student to awakening even if it means they have to endure suffering of reputation and rejection. They have no limitations in helping due to being free from worldly concerns.
5.   Natural /real– what the mahasiddhas do which we label  unconventional are actually things that we all want to do but dare not due to fear of being rejected. CT is just being who he is. We do not have this freedom due to us creating limitations based on what others or society dictates. We are all pretending and putting up a mask . He is showing us we are the fakes and holding back from experiencing untainted happiness. My Lama is always doing that and we are awakened by his example to become real like him.


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Re: The crazy wisdom of Chogyam Trungpa
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2012, 05:18:10 PM »
Dear Kurava,

Thank you for uploading this clip of Chogyam Trungpa. I learned the following things:
1.  Teaching the dharma varies from person to person, place, time and culture. Basically the teacher will have to custom make the method of delivery so that the person will eventually practice the dharma and gain attainments.

2.  The word "crazy" is used to describe the wisdom because it appears such to our fixated minds. Actually, the wisdom is beyond our capacity to grasp.

3.  All these innovative ways of teaching arise from Chogyam Trungpa's compassion regardless of how controversial they looked and even at the expense of his reputation.

4. Chogyam Trungpa has a great sense of humour and is very eloquent in his speech.

My guru has the above qualities as well except that my guru still holds on to his monk vows.


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Re: The crazy wisdom of Chogyam Trungpa
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2012, 06:55:42 AM »
I've read Chogyam Trungpa's books but did not know of his movie. I'm going to look for the movie this weekend.

This teacher has received so much criticisms due to his unconventional ways. He was unconventional not as a spiritual teacher alone but also as a person, as a lay person living in a normal lay community, as a husband, as a friend, as a member of the society.

When I read his books, what I found myself doing was to consciously tell myself to look beyond the unconventional aspects, what I hold to be the norm or not. There's a variation of what is the norm in every culture at different times in history. So what really is the norm to define a person to be "socially acceptable" or not. I looked beyond because I was interested to know what is this so called "crazy wisdom" and really is there such a thing.

At the end of the day, what Chogyam Trungpa left behind were people who became better people. He left behind institutions which teaches people to become better people. OK.. that has got to be some WISDOM at work in all the CRAZINESS to have such an accomplishment.

The fixated view of what is right and wrong we see in others can limit our opportunity to learn from people around us and most of all our spiritual teachers.


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Re: The crazy wisdom of Chogyam Trungpa
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2012, 04:19:42 PM »
Chugyam Trungpa is unconventional in every way and he manages to attract a lot of people to follow him and learn from him.

He breaks all barriers of the traditional teachings of buddhism and he teaches in a way where his audience can understand and able to absorb the dharma. He is a genius! His point is always to get the message across to his students, no matter what ways he uses. He may seem to behave crazily but in the end the dharma prevails.

I love the book "Dragon Thunder" written by his wife Diane Mukpo where she describes her life with Trungpa Rinpoche. It gave me a glimpse of what his craziness represent and I am amazed by him.

The movie was done recently ans has interviews with his students. His students still continued his work despite Trungpa Rinpoche has left years ago. They are so loyal to their guru. This shows how much he has touched the lives of his students with his teaching methods that they are so committed.


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Re: The crazy wisdom of Chogyam Trungpa
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2012, 08:07:08 AM »
There are many ways to teach the dharma and one of the ways is the unconventional method which some may think it is contradictory. If Chogyam Trungpa were to use the traditional methods, he may not be able to reach out to so many. But his methods brought benefits to his followers as he customized the teachings to suit the people, culture and lifestyle of that time.  He did not care about the controversies or what others think or said about him. In fact, his students accepted his method and through that they became better people. 

With a pure motivation to benefit others, Gurus or Lamas will use different methods, may it be “crazy”, “peaceful” or “wrathful” to tame and transform each and every student’s mind.


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Re: The crazy wisdom of Chogyam Trungpa
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2012, 08:01:10 AM »
Thank you for this video clip on Chogyam Trungpa.

I find that his methods, though very controversial , all come from a Bodhimind and they are all skillful methods that worked. The results speak for themselves. Many of his students, children of the Hippie era, are now great Dharma teachers and speak of him with so much respect and love.

My own Lama is also a great teacher who, with great love and compassion and patience, uses unconventional and skillful methods that are tailored to the individual needs of his students. Unfortunately, we, his students are not so passionately committed to our Lama and to the Dharma as Chogyam Trungpa's students were. They would leave their careers and their mundane concerns, without a second thought, and just follow him. We, on the other hand, cling to our mundane pursuits as though they are the very essence of this life.   

Positive Change

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Re: The crazy wisdom of Chogyam Trungpa
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2012, 11:38:12 AM »
The whole idea of crazy wisdom is such a profound yet simple catch phrase which really describes the "bizarre" yet purposeful methods of a Mahasiddha.

I was told that Chogyam Trungpa once told his assistance he wanted to visit a naval warship. His assistants were a little taken aback but of course did what was instructed. They even asked him why and how. And he just said tell them the "Prince of Bhutan" is visiting.

And lo and behold, a visit filled with fanfare and militia regalia was prepared for Chogyam Trungpa and his entourage. What happened soon after was that very warship was sent to the Falklands and it sank with all its men. In his clairvoyance and compassion Chogyam Trungpa had managed to bless the ship and all on board knowing their fate.

The accuracy of the story could differ as I only heard it relayed to me by another. So do excuse any inaccuracy if any and feel free to correct with details etc. :)

I guess it is important to note that we should never question our teacher's motives or intent and just do as we are told. Something as "mundane" as a visit could have much larger "reasons" behind it and a whole deeper understanding of which we may not begin to comprehend.

I just thought this would be interesting to share here as we "discuss" about Chogyam Trungpa.


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Re: The crazy wisdom of Chogyam Trungpa
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2012, 02:25:03 PM »
The fact of the matter is Chogyam Trungpa was perceived to be amazing by many, but psychotic and insane by many more. Chogyam Trungpa is perhaps one of the most controversial lamas of our era. He used many bizarre, weird, and spectacular ways to reach out to his students. He was a lama with no personal agenda, and used any means to change his students. He did not care about his own image, as long as he could benefit his students. And even though now we see Chogyam Trungpa as one of the most ingenious lamas ever, during his time, many people did not want to follow him, and even thought he was a disgrace to the tibetan lama lineage. To the extent where he was labelled as an alcoholic and a pedophile. And even still he managed to change so many people with his influence, during and even after his lifetime.

Because he was a lama with no personal agenda, he did whatever was necessary to benefit the people around him, even if it meant ridiculing himself. Many, many people did not accept him. However his impact and influence now is seen as something great. Anyhow he now has many works that are still benefiting people, this is the impact that he had, and he had to go to great measures to get it. No matter what he did, no matter how badly people perceived him, he now still have life long students which are still practicing after his death. How amazing!

"As the third Jamgön Kongtrül explained in a teaching given to students of Chögyam Trungpa, "You shouldn't imitate or judge the behavior of your teacher, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, unless you can imitate his mind."

Tenzin K

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Re: The crazy wisdom of Chogyam Trungpa
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2012, 05:14:11 PM »
Chogyam Trungpa indeed is a Mahasiddha.
His action throughout his life shows how much compassionate he is.

He learn and blend himself with the students lifestyle to insert the dharma teaching to them and give so much impact to their lives.
Only people with great wisdom and great determination able to do that.

Chogyam Trungpa's method was said to unconventional because of his action such as gave up his monastic vows and married a 16 years old British girl and have 2 children. Even his 2 children is not an ordinary kids where there are actual a high incarnation.

His ways of teaching look like against the odd but that is his skill of course with great wisdom to transfer the great teaching to all the students.

We also can see how his guru devotion when his guru coming to visit, Chogyam Trugpa follow through all the preparation. Make sure everything is in order.

Chogyam Trungpa  success in bring dharma to the west can be obviously seen from his students that still stay on even after he enter the clear lightened his teaching was  widely spread.

There are so much similarity between him and my Lama. They are from the same enlightened mind and are the great master.

Their method might look crazy but that is how it has to be in order to get the people at this age to understand. Time change and method change too.

We are fortunate to be able to learn directly from them and must have gain great merit in our previous lives to be able to meet such a great Lama in this life and in such condition.


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Re: The crazy wisdom of Chogyam Trungpa
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2012, 06:07:55 PM »
In his book called "Crazy Wisdom" (2001), Chogyam Trungpa refers to crazy wisdom as "the action of truth". It is completely ruthless because you want the complete truth, you want to be completely, wholely wholesome. This is the style of Padmasambhava. Chogyam Trungpa explains crazy wisdom by discussing the eight aspects of Padmasambhava. It is a process of cutting through one's expectations, of psychological penetration. In the process, there is also the sudden discovery of intelligence. Chogyam Trungpa says that ordinary human beings can "wake themselves up ... through an accident of life of one kind or another."


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Re: The crazy wisdom of Chogyam Trungpa
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2012, 06:26:55 PM »
I had watched this documentary recently.  Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche (CTR) was one of the greatest Mahasiddhas / Buddhist masters that had ever appeared in our lifetime. CTR was one of the pioneers to bring Vajrayana Buddhism to the West.  Due to his kindness, Vajrayana Buddhism has since flourished and become very well established in the Western World. 

CTR was very famous for his crazy wisdom methods of teaching Dharma in the West.  CTR was very skillful and adopted many unconventional methods to benefit the Western minds.  CTR went all the way by returning his robes and then later became a lay Dharma teacher. He immersed himself totally in the study and understanding of the Western way of life.  He even married a young 16-year British girl!  That shows how compassionate and devoted CTR was to ensure Dharma can penetrate the Western World.

One of CTR’s methods was getting his students to play the role of Shambala Warriors in the enlightened society.  CTR had prepared and trained his students in changing their ordinary views to pure views.  This would become useful later when the students practise the Highest Yoga Tantra meditations.

CTR’s unconventional methods helped the students to destroy their egoistic minds and see through the deceptive appearance of samsara. 

CTR appeared to be a very controversial lama because his methods were ‘crazy’ and beyond the accepted norm.  But on hindsight, these critics realized they were wrong because CTR’s motivation in helping others was pure and those were CTR’s skillful means to benefit the sentient beings.

CTR displayed the characteristics of a true bodhisattva where the concern was only to benefit others.  An example was that his wife Diane related in his biography  that CTR even went to the extent of jeopardizing his marriage by allowing his student to sleep with her!  Also CTR seemed to have affairs with many of his female students!  But all these events had deeper meanings that ordinary people like us could not comprehend.

During CTR’s funeral when his body was cremated, there were many signs like rainbows in the sky indicating CTR had gained full enlightenment.  CTR was Buddha Heruka/Vajrayagini. This had proven that all of CTR’s actions previously were enlightened deeds performed to benefit others.

A lama’s intention is to ultimately bring his students to liberation and enlightenment.  This is clearly seen in CTR’s case as well as my lama’s case.  There were countless bodhisattva acts that Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche had performed which could not be fully shared here.  We know that CTR's incarnation had already returned to benefit others continuing his bodhisattva way of life...