Mahamudra Meditation Center is a Buddhist Dharma study and practice group established in 1990 at the encouragement
of Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche to facilitate the study and practice of Mahamudra. Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche is a senior Buddhist monk renowned among Tibetans as one of the foremost teachers of this profound, and yet simple and direct, path of
liberation based on the "mind teachings" of India and Tibet.
Rinpoche summarizes his view on the relevancy of this approach for students of Dharma in the West in the following:
"In my experience and judgment Mahamudra is especially appropriate and beneficial in this modern age, in particular for
people in the West who are very busy. It is a path that is extremely simple, meaning that it does not require a lot
of preparation or devices, so it can be practiced at any time or in any situation, provided one possesses mindfulness and alertness."
Nowadays, anyone with sincere interest in Mahamudra can begin to study and practice this profound path in reliance upon these oral instructions and the traditional root texts, which at the end of the 20th Century became available through the express wishes of the Gyalwang Karmapa Rigpe Dorje, head of the Karma Kagyu lineage,
and Kyabje Thuksey Rinpoche, acting head of the Drukpa lineage.
In discussing how a student should approach some of the most advanced practices of Mahamudra and Dzogchen,
Thrangu Rinpoche summarizes the traditional approach utilized in Tibet in a lineage which has flourished for more than one thousand years:
"You need to attempt them again and again until you actually experience them...Once you have gained some experience through actual practice of the instructions found in the text, then go back and study the text again
and see how your experience compares with what you found in the text. Thus, by combining practical experience with the learning you have gained by studying the text, what you learn will actually become useful to you as a practitioner. In this way, the transmission of
instructions has been kept as a lineage of practical experience rather than simply a lineage of transmitted information."
Mahamudra Programs and Resources
Each year, starting in September, we offer a Nine-Month Mahamudra Program suitable both for new and experienced students. For ongoing and/or scheduled events, please see:
To support those interested in Mahamudra or working with Mahamudra study and practice groups,
a summary of links to
Mahamudra Meditation Center Resources is provided.
Highlights of the latest releases therein follow:
Our program framework is organized into five series:
NEW!! The Mahamudra Meditation Center (MMC) Mahamudra Meditation Manual is now available as an e-Book on Amazon.com!!
Please see Amazon.com (or click on the following link) for more information and see a sample:
A Meditation Guide For Mahamudra
NEW!! The classic text on Mahamudra, "Piercing the Autumn Sky" is
NOW AVAILABLE in a NEW EDITION as an e-BOOK on Amazon.com!
Please see Amazon.com (or click on the following link) to find out more and/or see a sample:
Piercing the Autumn Sky
Also NEW!! Our guide to Longchen Rabjam's meditations, as studied at MMC, is now similarly available.
Please see Amazon.com (or click on the following link) to find out more and/or see a sample:
The Meditations of Longchen Rabjam
The approach utilized by our group, and emphasized by Rinpoche, is based on the view that, in general, it is most helpful that Mahamudra be taught to individuals "as a full system of instruction that they can implement on their own gradually through diligent application." According to our tradition, the texts on Mahamudra by Dakpo Tashi Namgyal and Wangchuk Dorje summarize the ancient key instructions in this regard.
Over the years, Rinpoche has given the oral instructions on each of these texts to help make them more accessible to folks and enable them to proceed with individual study and practice.
- Jewel Ornament of Liberation - The Teachings of Gampopa
- Moonbeams of Mahamudra - The Mahamudra Teachings of Dakpo Tashi Namgyal
- Eliminating the Darkness of Ignorance - The Mahamudra Teachings of Wangchuk Dorje
- Treasury of Basic Space - The Dzogchen Teachings of Longchen Rabjam
- Songs of the Mahasiddhas - Heart Instructions from the Lineage
In early years, our group maintained a library of transcripts of and notes on some of Rinpoche's teachings to support our efforts. These days, many of his Mahamudra and Dharma teachings are
available in a variety of formats (for example, see Namo Buddha Publications, Namse Bangdzo and Amazon.com .) In addition, many of the underlying root texts and commentaries have been translated into English and other languages.
These teachings present in great detail the elaborate and pith instructions on Mahamudra, specifically with the purpose of providing them for study and putting them into practice.
Finally, students interested in pursuing a broader range of traditional teachings and/or retreats related to Mahamudra,
specifically, or the Buddha Dharma, in general, are referred to Vajra Vidya Retreat Center in Crestone, Colorado for access to qualified teachers and an excellent retreat location.
For a list of program teachers certified by MMC, please see:
MMC's approach to classes is generally humanistic in nature (i.e., in the style of the "school of Carl Rogers"),
with a teacher facilitating the presentation and discussion of topics and/or guiding the meditations conducted by the participants.
For more detail regarding our recommended framework and range of resources for studying Mahamudra, please see:
Since the outset, the Senior Spiritual Advisors
of Mahamudra Meditation Center have been:
- Very Venerable Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, Karma Kagyu Great Abbot
- Very Venerable Khenchen Könchog Gyaltsen Rinpoche, Drikung Kagyu Great Abbot
Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche is the founding Senior Spiritual Advisor of
Mahamudra Meditation Center and provides the primary guidance for our activities (see his official website at rinpoche.com.) Since the start, we have also been strongly supported by Khenchen Könchog Gyaltsen Rinpoche, who has provided us with a wide
range of Dharma teachings and served as a continual source of inspiration.We are extremely fortunate in that we have had the continual guidance of these two leading
abbots of the Karma and Drikung Dakpo Kagyu lineages from 1990 up until the present day. In addition, we have had a strong connection with leading lamas of the Drukpa lineage.
Andrew Levine (Lama Rabjam) serves as the
Director and lead Dharma Teacher of MMC since 2015. He is continuing the group's activities largely as established by our
founding member, Peter Barth (Lama Thapkhay), who served as
its director from 1990 to 2015. Peter had studied Mahamudra and Tibetan Buddhism since 1970 and under the guidance of Drukpa teachers,
including Geagen Khyentse and Kyabje Thuksey Rinpoche, tutor to the 12th Gyalwang Drukpa, in Northern India in 1974. It was
due to Thuksey Rinpoche's request that, in later years, Lama Lobsang Lhalungpa translated
"the most important sacred text" of Mahamudra into English, Mahamudra : The Moonlight - Quintessence of Mind and Meditation (also known as "Moonbeams of Mahamudra") written by
Dakpo Tashi Namgyal (1511-1587.)
In 1989, Peter met Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche while Rinpoche was giving extensive teachings on this work, for the very first time, in the West. After completing a cycle of teachings, Rinpoche noted to him, "Now that it had been translated into English, per the Gyalwang Karmapa Rigpe Dorje's request,
and the corresponding oral instructions have been given, as I have been doing in fulfillment of his wishes,
the most important thing is to put it into practice." It was with this in mind that the Mahamudra Meditation Center (MMC) group was established in
California. Andy also has maintained a strong interest in Mahamudra spanning several decades and has studied
with various leading teachers, including Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche (since the 90's) and Lama Thapkhay.
Over the years, MMC has maintained a
"practice emphasis" to its teachings and studies and it has done so utilizing the humanistic, "circle of yogis" approach
traditional within the Dakpo Kagyu and Drukpa Buddhist lineages. Since it's inception, our teachers have held a variety of short retreats on commentaries and root texts listed on our framework webpage. Texts which have frequently served as the basis for nine-month programs include:
- Jewel Ornament of Liberation -
- Moonbeams of Mahamudra - Dakpo Tashi
- Clarifying the Natural State -
Dakpo Tashi Namgyal
- Pointing-out the Dharmakaya -
Ninth Karmapa Wangchuk Dorje (1556-1603)
- Eliminating the Darkness of
Ignorance - Ninth Karmapa Wangchuk Dorje
- Aspiration of Mahamudra - Third
Karmapa Rangjung Dorje (1284-1339)
On many occasions, Rinpoche has expressed his appreciation to us for cultivating Mahamudra
practice in accordance with his teachings and the lineage. In 2004, we felt fortunate to participate in hosting Rinpoche's visit to San Francisco including his empowerments
and teachings on Mahamudra and Chakrasamvara. In 2005, MMC held the first group Mahamudra retreat at
Vajra Vidya Retreat Center in Crestone, Colorado.
In 2010, shortly after the April 14 earthquake in Tibet which killed so many people and destroyed Thrangu Tashi Chöling, two of our participants offered to make their home available to MMC for some of its practice programs. Subsequently, Rinpoche gave this supportive group the name of Thrangu Chagchen Chögar. It is our hope that Thrangu Chagchen Chögar will be the seed
for lasting efforts "to preserve and maintain teachings and transmissions of Thrangu Rinpoche and his monastaries."
In 2014, we completed our twenty-fifth annual Nine-Month Program on Mahamudra. In addition, for several years now, we have averaged more than one thousand unique visitors
each month to our website and to our center's online resources.
Over the years, we have freely provided support to thousands of folks interested in these profound and most geunuine "mind teachings" without requiring membership in a religious organization or donations.
Finally, Affiliated Teachings are sometimes also included in our program schedules. These typically
consist of select programs from our spiritual advisors and/or teachings by Khenpo Jigme and Khenpo Lobsang from Vajra Vidya Retreat Center in Colorado. In addition, students of Nyingma lineage practices of our center are referred to the teachings of
Loppön Jigme Rinpoche. Loppön Rinpoche received the complete Tersar tradition
from H. H. Dudjom Rinpoche, the complete Kama tradition from Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, and the complete Longchen Nyingthig tradition from Chatral Rinpoche. Since 2005, he has most generously been available to support our members
in their Dharma studies and practice and has also provided a wide range of teachings to Dharma students in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Mahamudra Meditation Center is registered with H.H. Gyalwa Karmapa Ogyen Trinley at The Official Website of H.H. Gyalwa Karmapa.
In addition, we have been listed by The Office of Tibet, New York, The Official Agency of H.H. the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Government in Exile to the Americas at Office of Tibet, New York and
by Karma Triyana Dharmachakra, The North American Seat of H.H. the Gyalwa Karmapa.
For Further Information
Please note that we do not have a temple, residential facilities or a residential program.
Regarding the use of meditation and/or prayer for healing, we do not advocate meditation practices and/or prayers in place of conventional healing methods. This view was even espoused by the great Mahamudra teacher Dakpo Tashi Namgyal in the 16th century when he wrote: "Since this human body as the invaluable support
for seeking enlightenment cannot possibly be left to the fate of the live-or-die attitude of ignorant ones, meditators must rely upon the conventional healing methods and relevant practices for curing their ailments."
Please contact our director, Andy (Lama Rabjam) at
you have any further questions.
Please also note that, due to our limited resources, we may not be able to respond to all enquiries.
Go to www.rinpoche.com:
Photos copyrighted by H. Rhine, L. Miracle, and P. Barth
Web art courtesy of L. Miracle