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The Mahasiddha and His Idiot Servant Paperback – July 1, 2006


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Paperback, July 1, 2006
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 229 pages
  • Publisher: Crazy Heart Publishers; 1ST edition (July 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0975383604
  • ISBN-13: 978-0975383605
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #402,781 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Kathleen Pew on January 14, 2005
I found this book to be absolutely fantastic and only wish there were a volume II to go with it. Ven. John Perks is able to convey with clarity, the teaching methods and alternate view of reality that the Ven. Trungpa Rinpoche taught to his students, the essence of crazy wisdom, not as a mental exercise but rather a living and experiential blast of insight into emptyness. The razor's edge bleeds through this book, offering the reader a taste of what is was like to part of the Mandala of Kalapa Court and the Realm of Shambhala, in his presence of Trungpa Rinpoche. Kudos to John Perks for putting it on paper.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Eduarrdo Nietzsche on April 3, 2008
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...if only to get a more balanced view of Chogyam Trungpa than you'd get from reading most of the Shambhala-approved, hagiographic stuff, such as the autobiography by his widow, Diana Mukpo.

It's good to keep in mind that the author himself is not exactly the most mentally stable (at least in any conventional use of that term) individual, which becomes obvious through his wild visions/dreams that he continually goes back to throughout the book. From this book, Perks is probably best described as a spiritual eccentric, with a very colorful background, mercurial and impulsive personality---yet he does have a decent understanding of Buddhist psychology and teachings as well, underneath the sometimes outlandish, sometimes flaky and silly devotional zeal he has towards Trungpa as his guru.

[....]
The entire guru tradition is very problematic especially within a Western setting, and Trungpa is a good example of why---Perks is not shy about relating what we might perceive as the hedonistic excesses of Trungpa's personal life, though he does not dwell on them in any sensationalistic tabloid manner.

This book simply provides a fascinating glimpse into the reality of living up close and personal with a fascinatingly enigmatic and charismatic teacher, without whom it could be argued that Western Buddhism would not be what it is today. For better and for worse.

Shame on the whole Shambhala empire to suppress this book!
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38 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Elbert D. Porter on March 9, 2006
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The other reviewer's comment that Shambhala refused advertising for this book adds considerable interest to it. What does Perks have to say that Shambhala doesn't want us to hear? Why is the book self-published, and available only from the printer?

Shambhala's snub is all the more interesting in light of the devotion, the adoration, radiating from the text. This book is no guru-bashing expedition. It's practically a long love letter from disciple to guru. Shambhala seems to want to solidify a tame, unthreatening image of Trungpa for posterity.

Perks is not a good little boy; he is, in fact, very naughty and fairly fearless. A mother-approved thief as an English boy in WWII; happily ensconced in a special education class for his first couple years of school; marrying and divorcing passionately, starting schools from scratch and running them with creative panache. Making love in the open amidst night time thunderstorms in the Vermont summer with half-seen women he won't recognize the next day. Awe-struck stupid in his first interview with Trungpa.

Perks, having barely met Trungpa, attends the first Seminary (1973) and witnesses Bhagavan Das' hair being cut off, and gives us the sympathetic afterthought that there is an Indian tradition that the grieving devotee cuts his hair when his guru dies (which was Bhagavan Das' situation). We start to see Trungpa's prankster spirit here, and we see Perks distinguish himself by bringing Trungpa food when everyone else is saying "we're sorry, please come out." Perks goes on to serve Trungpa for a year-long retreat in Massachusetts, and we see a bit more of Trungpa the funny prankster, are disturbed by his cruelty to a dog (but a Bodhisattva cannot harm another?
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By D. J Penick on December 8, 2005
This book has been banned in many Buddhist bookstores and advertising for it has been refused by magazines such as the Shambhala Sun so it may be difficult to find offline.
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30 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Andrew D. Kirch on January 11, 2005
I've found that having read the Mahasidda and His Idiot Servant the quality of my Zazen practice has increased because I've got an understanding of what happened to someone who went through this.

I have read many of Trungpa Rinpoche's writings, in this book John describes a personal account of walking on the path, and stubbing his toes along the way. He recounts the games he played mentally as he learned to relate to his spiritual friend, Trunpa Rinpoche.

This is a story that needs to be told. Trungpa Rinpoche as he was is a dynamic and phenominal human being. His words, and his great crazy-energy allowed him to cut through to the center of a person, showing them their awakened mind. If you have read Trungpa's books, this is a first phenominal insight into the mind, and the humanity behind them.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Publishing pro on January 21, 2006
Mr. Perks has told his story of his time with Trungpa Rinpoche with humor and honesty, and has revealed how the center of the mandala can be a strange, wild and stormy place. Anyone holding preconceived notions of what the appropriate behavior of a realized being should be will benefit from reading this book.
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