Dorje Töllö

Dorje Tröllö

Crazy Wisdom

Ngak’chang Rinpoche says of Dorje Tröllö:
Dorje Tröllö is the master of crazy wisdom. Crazy Wisdom is Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s translation, and it has thus been taken up by most people as the most suitable rendition of the term. Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche expands this further by saying that it is ‘the wisdom gone wild’

Some people in recent times have misunderstood this term – confusing it for any mode of buffoonery that comes to mind. I would hazard the guess that this was far from Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s intention. The Tibetan phrase of which Crazy Wisdom is a translation is yeshé ’cholwa (ye shes ’hol ba) ‘Ye’ means ‘primordial’, and ‘shes’ means ‘knowing’ – therefore yeshé means primordial wisdom or uncreated knowingness.

’Cholwa means crazy but it also signifies a broad variety of ideas including: actualisation, irregularity, thrown together at random, eccentricity, raving, and deviating from the norm.

The syllable ‘chol’ when found in these words expands the sense of meaning and gives us subtleties of meaning with regard to the word ‘crazy’; words such as: ’chol bar gro, meaning intermixing; ’chol bar byed, meaning contrivances; ’chol bar byed pa, meaning thrown into disorder; ’chol med, meaning randomness; ’chol ma, meaning sly sensual woman; ’chol ba pa, meaning crafty libidinous man; ’gLags ’chol, meaning seeking opportunities; ’chol gTam, meaning brazen speech; ’chol pa, meaning disorderly; ’chol spyod kyi mdzad pa, meaning wild actions.

When we consider the breadth of meaning supplied by these words, we can see that there is a precise application of language here – in terms of Vajrayana. When we say: ’chol bar byed pa, i.e. thrown into disorder – it means that samsara is thrown into disorder. When we say: gLags ’chol – it means that primordial wisdom is seeking opportunities to undermine samsara. When we say: ’chol ma – it means that the sly sensual woman of emptiness wishes to unite with our form in order to dissolve duality. When we say: ’chol ba pa – it means that the crafty libidinous man of empty form unites with our bewilderment in order to dissolve duality.

Crazy Wisdom is only crazy according to the point of view of samsara, and the more distorted samsara becomes the crazier the guise in which the Vajra Master may manifest.