Program Details

Crazy Wisdom: The Life and Times of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

April 12 / 7:00 PM - April 12 / 9:30 PM

Crazy Wisdom is the long-awaited feature documentary to explore the life, teaching, and crazy wisdom of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, a pivotal figure in bringing Tibetan Buddhism to the West.  Called a genius, rascal, and social visionary, "one of the greatest spiritual teachers of the twentieth century," and "the bad boy of Buddhism," Trungpa defied categorization.

Raised and trained in the rigorous Tibetan monastic tradition, Trungpa came to the West and shattered our preconceived notions about how an enlightened teacher should behave — he openly smoked, drank, and had intimate relations with students — yet his teachings are recognized as authentic, vast, and influential.
For seventeen years in North America, Trungpa taught Buddhism as though it were a matter of life and death. He was committed to creating the foundation from which to build an enlightened society.  Allen Ginsberg considered him his guru; Thomas Merton wanted to write a book with him; Joni Mitchell wrote a song about him.
Filmed in the UK, Tibet, Canada, and the US twenty years after Trungpa's death, with unprecedented access and exclusive archival material, Crazy Wisdom looks at the man and the myths about him, and attempts to set the record straight.  "It wasn't what he taught, it was how he taught," says Pema Chodron, author, teacher, and former student of Trungpa.  So fasten your seatbelts and get ready to meet Chogyam Trungpa!
This is the premiere screening of Crazy Wisdom in Toronto. Director Johanna Demetrakas will share her experiences of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and the journey of making this film.
Doors open at 7:00 pm.  Film at 7:30 pm.
1.5 hours long.  Director Q&A after the film.

Buy tickets for $10 (plus $1.59 fee) through Event Brite here.


What Johanna Demetrakas, Director, says about the film:

From the first seminar, called “The Battle of Ego” in Los Angeles, to filming his cremation on a cloudless but rainbow-filled day in Vermont, Chogyam Trungpa literally blew my mind.  He always created a feeling of stark reality, compassion and biting humor at the same time.  Being in his presence was like being suddenly aware of an oncoming truck: it put every cell in your brain SMACK! into the present moment. And in that moment you could be outraged, moved to tears of intellectually inspired or all at once.

This brilliant energy was difficult to resist but exhausting to experience. On top of that, he lived an unapologetic life that challenged every one of us who crossed his path with fixed ideas about how a “spiritual teacher” should behave.  He wore suits, spoke precise English and lived like a bon vivant westerner, so it took years of practice and study to understand that in the rich history of Tibetan Buddhism, his outrageous “crazy wisdom teaching style” was just another tradition.  In fact it was impossible to separate his lifestyle from his teachings. He was living a life that was somehow utterly contemporary, western, controversial and totally Tibetan as well.

He loved film so we worked together on several projects.  He taught me how to recognize the energy of a situation both visually and emotionally, and how to direct a scene to express that energy.  It was like unearthing ancient wisdom and somehow capturing it through a contemporary medium, film.  It is my obvious prejudice that only film could come close to creating that kind of experience more than 22 years after Trungpa’s untimely death.

Ultimately what inspired this film was far beyond the paradox of his controversial lifestyle paired with the authentic teachings. It was the message of his life’s work, to wake people up from their blind addiction to materialism, which he saw as degrading both human society and the earth at an alarming rate.


Go to Toronto's website