Overview of Adi Da's Crazy Wisdom and
"The Way That I Teach"

Chris Tong, Ph.D.



Crazy Wisdom: Introduction1. Introduction The "Crazy" in "Crazy Wisdom" refers to the unconventional means also traditionally referred to as "skillful means" in the Mahayana Buddhist tradition employed by the Master to serve the Spiritual liberation of His or Her devotee. For the purpose of this site, we will be using the term "Crazy Wisdom" to refer to any kind of "unconventional" behavior or viewpoint used by the Spiritual Master to serve the greater purpose of Spiritual liberation.

Surrender at the Master's Feet2. A Simple but Powerful Example of Crazy Wisdom: The Call to Surrender at the Feet of a Spiritual Transmitter Some kinds of "unconventional behavior" may be a normal part of a particular Spiritual tradition, but may seem odd to one who does not practice that tradition until he or she better understands its basis ideally through a firsthand account from practitioners who are in position to fully understand and appreciate its purpose. The call to surrender at the Master's feet the feet of someone who is a genuine Spiritual Transmission Master is a simple but powerful example.

Evil Superman3. The "Evil Superman" Form of Misunderstanding Genuine Crazy Wisdom Without the context of understanding that Adi Da is a genuine Spiritual Transmitter, misunderstanding occurs. As often as not, some "Crazy-Wise" behavior gets miscommunicated to the conventional world as: "There's this cult leader named Adi Da, who is on a 'power trip' and making His devotees do X (like surrender at His feet). What an ego! What a megolomaniac!" An uncommon, higher virtue gets mistakenly reinterpreted as a common lower vice. And so when those of us who have had much experience with Adi Da over the years read these kinds of misconceptions, it is something like entering the "evil Superman" parallel universe of the Superman cartoons.

Comparison with Encounter Group Work

4. Comparison with Encounter Group Work Adi Da's "Teaching Work" with devotees the modality He used that focused on teaching through incident rather than verbal instruction has many similarities with the exercises that can occur in encounter groups. We'll now explore the similarities in more detail, also noting two crucial differences: God-Realization as the purpose behind Adi Da's Teaching Work; and Divine Consciousness as the "creator" of the incidents used in the experiential teaching.

Voluntary Participation in Crazy Wisdom

5. Voluntary Participation in Crazy Wisdom The entire Way of Adidam is, without exception, completely voluntary. This doesn't mean that, as Adi Da's devotee, I casually do whatever I please from day to day: "No, I just don't feel like doing that part of the practice today." Or, if I am in Adi Da's company: "I don't feel like doing what He just asked me to do." Although that superficial approach to practice and the relationship to Adi Da does indeed happen, and no one is forced to do anything, that kind of casualness is not what I mean by "voluntary"! Rather, if it really is something that I cannot bring myself to do, even after very serious consideration and never losing touch with the profound respect for my Spiritual Master (which was the basis for my becoming a devotee) then it would be right to say "No". Indeed, more often than not, such a situation is one where I agree with what Adi Da is asking me to do I clearly see the virtue behind what He is asking me to do but I still don't feel I can do it.

Crazy Wisdom and The Way That I Teach

6. Crazy Wisdom and "the Way That I Teach" Adi Da's use of Crazy Wisdom took a very specific form: He used it for the specific purpose of reflecting devotees to themselves. This was necessary because His devotees simply didn't have the free energy and attention necessary to recognize and meditate on the Divine State that He was Transmitting. They were completely preoccupied with money, food, and sex, but so suppressed that they hardly were aware of their preoccupations. And until they became conscious of their preoccupation, they would have no conscious ability to turn their energy and attention to the Guru instead. In order to reflect devotees to themselves, Adi Da made use of an extraordinary means unique to His Divine Incarnation: He literally became His devotees taking on their state, acting out their unconscous tendencies, etc. so that His own human form became a mirror for His devotees.

The Teaching Years
7. The Ancient Walk-About Way, Crazy Wisdom, and the "Teaching Years" In some sense, Adi Da's Work with devotees from 1972 through the present could be viewed as an ordeal of transforming profoundly worldly people (by means of reflecting them to themselves) into a "culture of recognition", true spiritual practitioners of the "Ancient Walk-About Way", whose practice would be based on their direct sensitivity to Adi Da's Transmission. The "Teaching Years" is a term we generally use to formally delineate a period of Adi Da's Work with devotees (1973 - 1986) that necessarily included much reflection of devotees to themselves. Nonetheless, you will still see more recent examples (on our site and in the literature of Adidam) of Adi Da's "Crazy Wisdom" or "Teaching" Work. Over time, these instances became increasingly less frequent, and increasingly less active or dramatic in form. In the last few years of His life, Adi Da continued to serve as a "reflector", by virtue of His State but without any effort, or attention required on His Part.

The Question Is Not Did H or Didn't He?
8. The Fruitful Question Is Not "Did He or Didn't He?" But Rather, "Is He or Isn't He?" Spiritual seekers exploring the possibility of becoming Adi Da's devotee often encounter an obstacle course in the form of websites that accuse Adi Da of having done various things they consider inappropriate, that lampoon His manner of speaking and writing, etc. When such seekers arrive at our doorstep, they generally are quite confused. They are impressed and often deeply moved by Adi Da's obvious wisdom; they are often also deeply moved by seeing His pictures or videos, or hearing the extraordinary stories of Revelation by His devotees; but they are then confounded by the negative rumors going round. And so generally, they come to us with questions of the form, "Did He or didn't He?" (Or, "If He did, then can you account for it in Spiritual terms?"). We do address a lot of these questions (some on this site), and will be addressing more over time. But it is important for all inquirers to understand that asking or receiving answers to such questions is never the basis for becoming a devotee. Receiving Adi Da's Revelation that He is the Divine Person is the only basis for becoming a devotee. So what I'd like to recommend is that potential devotees focus on a different consideration, which resonates better with the possibility of receiving Adi Da's Revelation. And once you truly receive that Revelation, you will find that all those "Did He or Didn't He?" questions are besides the point.
Quotations from and/or photographs of Avatar Adi Da Samraj used by permission of the copyright owner:
Copyrighted materials used with the permission of The Avataric Samrajya of Adidam Pty Ltd, as trustee for The Avataric Samrajya of Adidam. All rights reserved. None of these materials may be disseminated or otherwise used for any non-personal purpose without the prior agreement of the copyright owner. ADIDAM is a trademark of The Avataric Samrajya of Adidam Pty Ltd, as Trustee for the Avataric Samrajya of Adidam.

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