When he came to North America, he made Four-Armed Mahakala the protector of the meditation centres that he established, called Dharmadhatus, and an invocation he wrote for this protector is still chanted by practitioners in these meditation centres, now called Shambhala Centres. He also associated this protector with the Dorje Kasung, a discipline of meditation-in-action drawing on the monastic traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, the Shambhala vision of an enlightened society and some forms of the Western military traditions.
Four-Armed Mahakala is closely associated with Chakrasamvara, one of the principal male deities or yidams of the Kagyü lineage to which Chögyam Trungpa belonged. In The Myth of Freedom, published in 1976 by Shambhala Publications, he writes about this protector in a chapter entitled "Working with Negativity." He says: "The whole structure of the [Mahakala] image is based on energy and complete compassion devoid of idiot compassion. . . . The mahakala is traditionally surrounded by flames, representing the unceasing energy of anger without hatred, the energy of compassion. The skull crown symbolizes the negativity or emotions that are not destroyed or abandoned or condemned for being bad. Rather, they are used by the mahakala for his ornaments and crown." (p. 80)
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