Crazy Wisdom

2009     1 x 90/60 min     Color: HD or Digi Beta 16:9     English

A Crazy Wisdom Films production in association with BOS/Netherlands

Lisa Leeman (Out of Faith, Metamorphosis, Who Needs Sleep?)

Johanna Demetrakas (The World According the Sesame Street, Amandala!, Womanhouse)

Kate Amend

Sean Callery

Crazy Wisdom is the story of the life, teachings, and crazy wisdom of Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche, “the bad boy of Buddhism.” Called a genius, rascal, and social visionary, Trungpa is widely considered the most influential figure to bring Tibetan Buddhism to the West. Trained in Tibet in a rigorous monastic tradition, Trungpa came to the West and shattered our preconceived notions about how an enlightened teacher should behave. In Britain, he renounced his monk’s vows, eloped with a sixteen year- old aristocrat, and lived as a westerner. In the U.S., he openly drank alcohol and had intimate relations with students. Was this crazy wisdom? His life’s work was to wake people up from their blind addiction to materialism, which he saw as breaking down both human society and the earth at a rapid rate. He was known to say “I’ll do anything to wake people up.”

Trungpa’s gift for translating ancient teachings from a far off land into a sophisticated, relevant path in the west is unique. Initially judged harshly by the Tibetan establishment, Trungpa’s teachings are now widely recognized by both western philosophers and spiritual leaders such as the Dalai Lama as authentic and profound. Twenty years after his death, Trungpa’s name still evokes admiration and outrage: how to reconcile his brilliant teachings with his frequently confounding behavior? And just what is Crazy Wisdom anyway?

Director Johanna Demetrakas uses archival footage, animation, interviews, home movies, and original imagery to build a film that mirrors Trungpa’s challenging energy, brings it face to face with the 21st century and invites viewers to go beyond fixed ideas about our teachers and leaders. With unprecedented access to Trungpa’s inner circle and exclusive archival material, Crazy Wisdom looks at the man and the myths about him, and attempts to set the record straight.