Sadhana of Mahamudra
The Sadhana of Mahamudra is a meditation practice and liturgy chanted by the Shambhala community on the new moon days of the lunar calendar. It was written by the Vidyadhara Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche while on retreat in Bhutan in 1968. This retreat marked a profound turning point in his presentation of the Buddhist teachings in the West. Afterward, he began teaching in a much more direct and penetrating way, traditionally known as "crazy wisdom."
The text itself evokes this sudden fruition view, as if we are awakened buddhas on the spot. It also expresses the devotional longing of a spiritual traveler seeking inspiration and insight in times of physical and spiritual materialism. Bringing together these two qualities of devotion and crazy wisdom, the sadhana presents in poetic language and symbolic imagery the most profound teachings of vajrayana Buddhism.
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"In writing the sadhana, I tried to bring together the Nyingma tradition and the Kagyu tradition. That is the basic idea of the sadhana: to bring together the ati and mahamudra traditions. There's no conflict at all between the two. The contemplative approach of the Kagyus is somewhat dramatic and perhaps too power-oriented. In order to tone it down, I added something from the Nyingma tradition, in order to create a better soup stock, a better flavoring. Bringing those two traditions together actually makes a lot of sense. Karma Pakshi, who is the main figure in the sadhana, is regarded as the same as Padmasambhava, who is the founder of the Nyingma lineage. It was Padmasambhava who introduced the Buddhist teachings to Tibet. He was also a tantric master. Karma Pakshi was a less powerful person historically. He was just a crazy wisdom person in the Kagyu tradition. So my purpose in writing the sadhana was to build a bridge between the two contemplative traditions. Even the wording of this sadhana, how each sentence and the whole thing is structured, is based on that idea of trying to bring together in a harmonious way the Mahamudra language of the newer school of tantra and the Ati language of the older school of tantra.
Underlying both Mahamudra and Maha Ati, there is some kind of basic foundation: the practice of surrendering, renunciation and devotion. That brings the whole thing together, very much in a nutshell. You have to surrender, and you actually have to develop some kind of devotion. Without that you can't see or hear or experience the real teachings properly and fully."
-- Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche
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