In 2006 through an experience with psychedelic mushrooms I started down the path of becoming an adherent of Buddhism in this lifetime. Since then I have felt a close kinship to Buddhism that I know goes back to one of my past lives on this planet. In 2006 I was living in Colorado and was privileged to visit The Great Stupa of Dharmalaya in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado at the Shambhala Mountain Center. This Dharmadhatu meditation center was one of many founded by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, considered by some to be the best known Tibetan Buddhist Lama to live in the United States. Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche's brand of Buddhism falls under one of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism, called Kagyu. He was the founder of the first Buddhist University, (Naropa in Boulder, Colorado) in the West.
When I moved to New York two years ago I searched for that well of Buddhist spirituality here in New York and found it at the Shambhala Meditation Center at 118 West 22nd Street, 6th Floor. Since 2006 I have been constantly striving to experience and learn more about Vajrayana Buddhism and specifically Chogyam Trungpa's Shambhala Training. So when I heard that the Shambhala Meditation Center in partnership with the Rubin Museum of Art was going to show a documentary on the life of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, I knew I had to see it.
The documentary is called "Crazy Wisdom: The Life and Times of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche." Imagine if you will, if there had been a camera around in Jesus, Muhammad's or Buddha's day and pictures were taken and key people were interviewed that knew them. Well, Crazy Wisdom is just that.
The film, through historical pictures and interviews with people that were there from the beginning, documents Chogyam Trungpa's life. It starts out by going back to Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche's roots in Tibet and tells the fascinating story of his and the other monks escape through the mountains out of Tibet into India as they outran the Chinese Communists. If that were the only part of the documentary it would be worth seeing, but Crazy Wisdom continues on to give you a rich and insightful history of his life, how he adapted to the west, and saw a vision to bring the ancient teachings to a spiritually shallow and stagnant western society. He went to Oxford and then eventually moved to the United States.
He is known as the film points out as the "bad boy of Buddhism." This is because unlike our views of what a guru or monk should do in his private life, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche drank, smoked, and consorted with women while at the same time was teaching ancient wisdom to his students. I found this surprising for a monk, but was later to find out that in the Tibetan Buddhist tantra, sexual relations is one of the ways of gaining spiritual insights. Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche renounced his monastic vows in 1969. Overall his path to enlightenment reminded me of the path of other great prophets, gurus and spiritual men in our human history from Jesus, Muhammad, and Buddha. Each in his own way was a bad boy and not perfect. But each of them at some point realized (not always willingly) what their sacred contract was in this life and how their path to enlightenment was one destined to point mankind toward a better world.
After watching Crazy Wisdom, I was left with a feeling of sadness and joy. Sadness was watching an example of another enlightened human being that left this earth too early. Joy, was one of gratitude and privilege of being able to view this documentary and share in his life story. Crazy Wisdom is a must see especially in these days and times of change and transformation in our society as we approach 2012.
Due to popular demand for "Crazy Wisdom", additional screenings have been added to its schedule showing at the Rubin Museum of Art at 150 W. 17 St in Chelsea.
Thursday, December 15 - 2:30 p.m.
Saturday, December 17 - 1:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Sunday, December 18 - 1:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Trailer for "Crazy Wisdom":