The Saddharma Ratna Mahamarga Krama (The Precious Series of Meditation Practices of the Pure Dharma) is a classical sutra based series of time-tested meditation practices and techniques practised and taught by teachers in unbroken enlightened lineages. Designed as a graduated path that one can cover at one’s own pace, it allows the dedicated practitioner to make swift progress through intensive practice, while at the same time taking into consideration, and making allowances for, the limitations and abilities of ordinary practitioners.
The Maha Krama involves the acquisition of both knowledge and experience. Great teachers have codified their experiences in a body of knowledge, and the practitioner is expected to verify this knowledge through personal experiences, while learning the concepts and ideas behind the methods.
The Maha Krama was designed by the Vidyadhara Acarya Mahayogi Shridhar Rana Rinpoche and draws from the Shravakayana, Bodhisattvayana (Mahayana), and Vajrayana schools of Buddhadharma. The Vidyadhara himself has practiced these methods during his two decades in retreat, and they embody his non-sectarian approach to the Dharma. The practices include a combination of both Vipashyana and Shamatha meditations. Shamatha helps build mental calmness (or quiescence) and Vipashyana helps the practitioner to ‘see directly’ into the nature of reality. Both are essential to progress in the path towards enlightenment.
The Maha Krama begins with Shravakayana practices, including the motivating preliminaries that help to develop mindfulness and Shamatha practices, along with a series of Vipashyana practices. Following this, the Mahayana Shamatha and Vipashyana meditations are practised, and after this the secret Vipashyana meditations that lead on to Vajrayana practices.
In addition to these traditional practices, the Vidyadhara also encourages the use of modern psychotherapeutic and other healing techniques as support to the Krama practice.
The Maha Krama practices require regular exchanges with instructors on one’s experiences. The meditations of the Shravakayana and Mahayana Krama can be practised under the guidance of instructors authorized by the Vidyadhara. Vajrayana practices, however, require one to receive oral instructions directly from the Vidyadhara himself. Also, Vajrayana practices are more intensive and require a higher level of commitment, effort and guidance.