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Sadhana of Mahamudra

The Sadhana of Mahamudra is an important text composed by the Vidyadhara (Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche) and a turning point in his presentation of the buddhadharma in the West. The Sadhana is practiced at the Shambhala Center on the new and full moon days.

The Sadhana of Mahamudra is one of the first practices that the Vidyadhara encouraged his students to do, and has a number of important characteristics. This sadhana is a binding factor for our community because students at all levels of practice can participate and receive a true experience or understanding of the spiritual path. Its essential teaching is that the nature of the practice itself undercuts any ideas of spiritual materialism. The practice consists of meditation and chants, and lasts about an hour.

These teachings are precious in many ways. The Tibetan text is itself terma, and the translation was considered by the Vidyadhara to be terma because of the ease with which the English translation happened. Terma are teachings that were concealed by the great Tibetan teacher Padmasambhava for the sake of future generations, and are rediscovered by a terton (a teacher able to find these teachings), at the auspicious time when they are needed. Such is the case of the Sadhana of Mahamudra, a teaching on overcoming obstacles and degraded spiritual practices in our time.

Please feel free to join us at the Center for the Sadhana. Check the monthly Calendar of Events for dates and times.

(For more information on these teachings and how they came to be revealed and translated into English, see below.)


The Sadhana of Mahamudra was received as a mind terma by the Vidyadhara when he was in Bhutan at Taktsang cave. This is where Padmasambhava himself meditated in order to subdue obstacles to presenting the buddhadharma in Tibet. The Vidyadhara himself said that when he received these teachings it was a turbulent time in his life and the terma allowed him to break through obstacles and discover how to present the Buddhist teachings in the West. After receiving the terma he went back to England and shortly after married a young English woman, and moved to North America.

Interestingly, in his book Crazy Wisdom, by Chogyam Trungpa, the Vidyadhara talks about how the teachings of crazy wisdom can only be taught in savage countries where there is more opportunity to take advantage of chaos or speed. This skillful means is evident from the tremendous amount he accomplished in establishing Buddhism in the West. During a twenty year span from 1968 through 1987, he gathered several thousand students and established the Vajradhatu and Shambhala mandalas. We could say he was, for our time, a manifestation of Padmasambhava. The discovery of the Sadhana of Mahamudra was really the beginning of his activity in the West as an enlightened teacher.