Tibet (Three Terma Cycles), Bhutan (Sadhana of Mahamudra), North America (Shambhala)
The Vidyadhara discovered the terma (treasure teaching) of The Sadhana of Mahamudra at a transitional time in his life: between Tibet and North America, as he moved from a robed monastic to a Western lifestyle, and began transplanting the buddhadharma into North America soil. In 1976, having established a strong foundation for Buddhism in the West, he began to discover and teach the Shambhala terma in North America. Terma are discovered and then taught to people of a particular time and place, having been hidden for future use, when the time is right. For example, The Sadhana of Mahamudra is important now as the crazy wisdom of Dorje Trolö-Karma Pakshi conquers the widespread depression of our modern time.
Years after the Vidyadhara’s parinirvana, we learned that he had also discovered treasure teachings in Tibet from the very early age of three until he left Tibet when he was nineteen. In 2001, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche made his first trip to the Vidyadhara’s home monastery in Surmang, Tibet. He met many of his relatives there, notably Karma Senge Rinpoche, the Vidyadhara’s nephew, who gave the Sakyong many of the Vidyadhara’s terma and teachings from Tibet, carefully collected over two decades. This collection of teachings is now known as the Vidyadhara’s Sungbum, or Collected Tibetan Works.
Among the texts that survive are three ati terma cycles: from The Heart Treasure of Samantabhadra is a practice of the compassion and wisdom of Avalokiteshvara; The Embodiment of the Wisdom of the Three Roots contains a practice of Krodhikali, a black, wrathful form of Vajrayogini; and The Profound Heart Essence presents the practices of peaceful and wrathful manifestations of Guru Padmasambhava.
When the Sakyong returned home with these texts, he gave them to us to begin reading and translating. He continues to encourage us in this work, noting that it is very unlikely that we will receive more treasures of the Vidyadhara, so we need to take great care in protecting and translating these. It has been a profound delight to translate and learn some of the deeper meaning of these early terma and writings, and we know these texts will bring great benefit to many. Precisely how and when Karma Senge Rinpoche and Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche will transmit and teach these to students now and in the future is still unfolding.
Last year, after we spent a month working with Karma Senge Rinpoche, in his parting words of advice he said:
Even though Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche isn’t currently physically with us, the extent of his activity is always present, and this is my joy. I gathered all of Trungpa Rinpoche’s teachings in Tibet, and then I was able to make connections with his students in the West, and we’ve been able to practice together.
Trungpa Rinpoche was a great siddha. When it comes to the mind and realization of these great siddhas, it is extremely profound. There is still a lot of work left to translate all of Trungpa Rinpoche’s works into English, and arrange and publish them into his complete collected works, in both Tibetan and English. There is still quite a bit to do, so it is very important that we finish this quickly, because birth and death are out of our hands, and we never know what could happen. So it is important that we accomplish this quickly, as quickly as possible. This is what we need to do.
Based on his encouragement, we are returning to work with Karma Senge Rinpoche on the translation, refinement, and transmissions of these treasures of the Vidyadhara. In particular, we will be putting the finishing touches on the Avalokiteshvara Sadhana of Nonmeditation, reviewing our translation of the Vidyadhara’s terma ngöndro, completing the translation of the Krodhikali Sadhana and its abhisheka text, and opening further The Profound Heart Essence cycle.
The generosity of a small group donors is funding the special expenses for this trip. We are very grateful to them for helping to bring the Vidyadhara’s legacy to all of us.
From the terma cycle:
The Heart Treasure of Samantabhadra
The Sadhana of Nonmeditation,
A Practice of No Activity
Whose nature is ever free from increase and decrease,
Completely pure from the very beginning,
We pay homage to self-awareness, Avalokita.
Within you, all qualities are spontaneously complete.
Resting without effort, you see nakedly.
Your eyes, moist with great compassion,
Gaze impartially upon everyone.
Never weary of benefiting beings,
Pervading all of samsara and nirvana,
With the prajna that sees you within ourselves, we praise you.
When Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche was nineteen, he went on retreat at Kyere Gön, where he discovered many terma (where Karma Senge Rinpoche now lives). The abhisheka text, The Great Ship of Accomplishment, describes the discovery of this terma:
According to the prophecy, near the crystal Cave of Vajrasattva of Luminosity Sky Palace, at the temple of Karma Dharma Place of All-Pervading Great Bliss