Why Crazy Wisdom?

Spiritually inspiring documentaries

I assumed this odd pairing of words, crazy wisdom, when I introduced my poetic cinema films in 2001 was original.  I soon would be wrong. I first thought of crazy wisdom being a Drunken Master with Jackie Chan who ignited his super fighter through his drunkenness.  Getting people to make a short film in 24 hours and make it a film festival.  Or make a short film once a month for a year!

The phrase was a wordsmith acknowledgement to illustrate my early short films were not going to be easy to understand, were more Stan Brakhage in poetic abstracts, and would reveal themselves better in multiple viewings.  All of which go against you if you are trying to win the audience choice awards.

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Sometime in 2005, Raji Thron kindly pointed out to me that crazy wisdom had been first mentioned by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche in Boulder, Colorado in 1971!  This connection was more auspicious than incidental.

Trungpa Rinpoche is world famous with his founding of Naropa University, his work with Allen Ginsberg.  I had my own meditative retreats to Shambhala Mountain Center as a practicing Buddhist to reflect upon.   There was even a wonderful film named Crazy Wisdom about the live and times of Trungpa Rinpoche that I saw.

Of course, the meaning now was more complicated than I had anticipated but also more nuanced:

In the Buddhist scriptures, a crazy-wisdom person is described as “He who subdues whatever needs to be subdued and destroys whatever needs to be destroyed.” Whatever your neurosis demands, when you relate with a crazy-wisdom person, you get hit with that. Crazy-wisdom presents you with a mirror reflection. A mirror will not compromise with you. If you don’t like what you see, there’s no point in blaming the mirror.

~ Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

-Excerpted from “Fearlessness,” in CRAZY WISDOM, page 112.

51w6Qj699-L._SX325_BO1,204,203,200_There is clearly something a foot here.*

This strange coining of words has continued to grow with me. While my longer films are visually less crazy wisdom now in order to reach a wider audience,  I have kept the pairing of words since mystics, geniuses, misfits, rebels, troublemakers can also push our boundaries beyond the expected into the unexpected, and open us to to new possibilities.

Even my logo with the bear and the feather union stem from a personal experience with these totem animals.

Matthew Fox says not to put mystics, gurus and teachers (including today’s movie and rock stars, athletes) onto a pedestal but see them as a potential for us to bring forth our own inner mystic.  We all have the capacity to do something amazing.

Besides yourself, I am sure you know a few.

 

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*…most serious problem with the concept of crazy wisdom is its dependence on the assumption that the teacher isipso facto enlightened or at least highly developed. This assumption depends entirely on the acceptance of certain beliefs; e.g. in the Tibetan tradition that the teacher is supposedly the reincarnation of a great teacher of the past, in India on the traditional assertion that gurus have mystical powers and that surrender to them is the key to spiritual advancement. Like all such assumptions and assertions these ones are not open to critical examination but have to be taken on faith.  More dharma musings can be found here.