Mixed or average reviews - based on 7 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: Chogyam Trungpa, renowned Tibetan Buddhist leader, shattered notions about how an enlightened teacher should behave when he renounced his monk's vows & eloped with a sixteen year-old aristocrat. Twenty years after his death, Trungpa's name still evokes admiration and outrage. What made him tick? And just what is enlightenment, anyway? (Crazy Wisdom Productions) Collapse
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 7
  2. Negative: 1 out of 7
  1. Reviewed by: Dennis Harvey
    Dec 1, 2011
    The late Chogyam Trungpa's very colorful life makes for a most engaging narrative here.
  2. Reviewed by: Justin Lowe
    Dec 1, 2011
    Crazy Wisdom offers a perceptive, if one-sided, perspective on Trungpa's impact on American spirituality and the arts.
  3. Reviewed by: Joseph Jon Lanthier
    Nov 22, 2011
    Part of the issue here may be the nature of the talking heads themselves, most of whom are culled from Trungpa's inner circle and lack the objectivity needed to properly judge his philosophy or make it accessible.
  4. Reviewed by: Nick Pinkerton
    Nov 22, 2011
    It is suggested that Trungpa was in possession of yeshe chölwa-the title's "crazy wisdom" - and, as a sort of holy fool, his apparent misbehavior could be read as a manifestation of higher spiritual truths. If you're determined to see something, it's easy to find it - so those inclined to interest in Tibetan Buddhism will discover something here.
  5. Reviewed by: Rachel Saltz
    Nov 25, 2011
    The movie goes mushy when it should be critical, and leaves you with questions that it's not prepared to answer.
  6. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Dec 1, 2011
    Director Johanna Demetrakas has decided to simply present the man in all his demanding complexities and let him and his encounters with associates speak for themselves. Her only rubric is the one visible in her title: "Crazy Wisdom."
  7. Reviewed by: V.A. Musetto
    Dec 1, 2011
    A documentary hardly anybody has been waiting for.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 1 out of 1
  1. Jul 9, 2013
    The documentary is a retrospective on the unusual life and teachings of Trungpa Rinpoche, a high-profile author and teacher of Tibetan Buddhism. The film hinges on interviews with his former students, and it suffers greatly from their lack of objectivity. Obviously these folks admire the man, as they have devoted a lot of time and energy to his teachings and generally hanging around his community for many years. The potentially interesting topics here are completely missed because the subjects seem unable to criticize the human failings of their master (and by extension, themselves). The Master sat on a throne and selected a steady stream of young women (married or not) for special private lessons. Meanwhile his wife kept her mouth shut and the devoted throng dutifully sat for hours on their meditation cushions longing for enlightenment. How did he get a way with it?? As the title suggests, at the core of the saga is an allegedly powerful teaching technique known as "Crazy Wisdom". Unfortunately the film holds the concept in high esteem, failing to bring any of the skepticism it deserves, so it is doomed to being a wistful, biased, nostalgic love letter. What is Crazy Wisdom? According to the surviving students, it was their master's ingenious method of awakening his students by behaving wildly out of character, and shocking his students with confusing psychological challenges. Okay, maybe that is a real technique with some utility, but that's only one way of looking at it. Another would be to say it is a method of convincing a large group of gullible 1970's hippies that their guru's alcoholic philandering and his basket full of exotic Tibetan mumbo-jumbo is all part of a master plan aimed at guiding them to enlightenment. Why was any kind of disrespectful behavior that might have smelled funny reflexively deemed acceptable? Well, "it's just more of Trungpa's Crazy Wisdom, of course!" Basically, it is the kind of free pass that too many gurus have granted themselves since the beginnings of the cult racket. It was a heavenly sweet deal for the horny master, and all too easy in the free love era, which was also hungry for any kind of the exotic teachings that had begun to filter in "from The East". It was not such a sweet deal for the vulnerable students. Glaringly absent are the interviews with the hundreds or thousands of students who got burned by his selfish, manipulative behavior. Anyone who did find enlightenment in that milieu probably packed up and hit the road before the next sunrise sitting. Expand