Spirit Grooves Blogs

Published on February 27, 2015

The above quote is by Chögyam Trungpa, a teacher of mine, who first taught me to meditate in the early 1970s. I came across this piece on the Internet, but I could not find out where it came from, obviously a teaching. The following are his words, not mine. There is a lot in here.


I would like to continue from last night's talk. We have discussed the three levels of the teacher relationship in terms of the student's development. Tonight I would like to talk about whom we're relating to in the sadhana. We have a sense of relating with somewhat ideal, ethereal beings, who are known as Dorje Trolö or Karma Pakshi, people who have already existed, who have lived and died in the past. How can we relate those people to the present situation? And how is that different from worshipping Jesus Christ, for that matter?

That is an interesting question. Dorje Trolö or Karma Pakshi represent the notion of the embodiment of the siddhas. Siddha is a Sanskrit word which refers to those who are able to overpower the phenomenal world in their own enlightened way. A siddha is a crazy wisdom person. Crazy wisdom in Tibetan is yeshe chölwa. Yeshe means "wisdom," and chölwa, literally, is "gone wild." The closest translation for chölwa that we could come up with is "crazy," which creates some further understanding. In this case "crazy" goes along with "wisdom"; the two words work together well. So it is craziness gone wise rather than wisdom gone crazy. So from that point of view, craziness is related with wisdom.

The notion of wisdom here is very touchy, and we will have to get into the technical aspect of the whole thing. Wisdom is jnana in Sanskrit and yeshe in Tibetan. Yeshe refers to perception or to enlightenment, which exists eternally. Ye means "primordial"; she means "knowing," knowing primordially, knowing already. The idea is that you haven't suddenly acquired knowledge. It isn't that somebody has just told you something. Knowledge already exists; it is here and we are beginning to tune into that situation. Such a thing actually does exist already. Wisdom isn't purely manufactured by scholars and scientists and books.

The notion of "crazy" is connected with individual situations. When wisdom has been completely and thoroughly achieved, then it has to relate with something. It has to relate with its own radiation, its own light. When light begins to shine, it reflects on things. That is how we know whether it is bright or dim. Therefore, when light is very brilliant, when it reflects on things properly and fully, we know that there is some kind of communication taking place. That communication is expressed by the intensity of that wisdom light shining through. That communication is traditionally known as buddha-activity or compassion.

Compassion is not so much feeling sorry for somebody, feeling that you are in a better place and somebody is in a worse place. Compassion is not having any hesitation to reflect your light on things. That reflection is an automatic and natural process, an organic process. Since light has no hesitation, no inhibition about reflecting on things, it does not discriminate whether to reflect on a pile of shit or on a pile of rock or on a pile of diamonds. It reflects on everything it faces.

So that non-hesitating light reflects choicelessly all the time; it shines brilliantly and constantly on things. Craziness means not discriminating and being without cowardice and paranoia.

It isn't our duty to go around the corner and convert someone. This is a different approach. Whatever needs to be reflected on is reflected on, and whatever needs to be done is done-on the spot.

Maybe that idea doesn't seem to be particularly crazy from your point of view. You might think that if somebody is crazy, he won't leave you any space at all. He will just roll all over you and vomit all over you and make diarrhea all over you. He will make you terribly crazy, too; he will extend his own craziness. But this craziness is not so neurotic; it's just basic craziness, which is fearlessness and not giving up anything. Not giving up anything is the basic point. At the same time, you are willing to work with what is there on the basis of its primordial wakeful quality. So that is the definition of crazy wisdom, which is sometimes known as wisdom gone wild.

Crazy wisdom is connected not only with reflecting on things, it is also connected with the space around things. The crazy wisdom person provides immense space or environment around things. That environment is completely thronged with the energy of its own fearless wisdom. When a crazy wisdom person decides to work with you, when he decides to liberate you, you become his victim. You have no way to run away from him. If you try to run backward, that space has been already covered; if you try to run forward, that space has also been covered. You have a feeling of choicelessness in regard to the particular teacher that you relate with, so your relationship becomes very natural and open. So the crazy wisdom teacher is somewhat dictatorial. The space he creates is thronged, filled with a strong charge of heavy enlightenment, heavy primordial sanity.

That is usually our problem. We can't handle too much sanity; we would like to have a little corner somewhere for neurosis, a little pocket, just a little puff here and there. If we run into too much sanity, we say, "Boy, it was heavy!"

- Chogyam Trungpa

[Image of Amitabha Buddha, the Buddha of the setting sun.]