Professor Craig Warren Smith
is Chairman of Mudra Institute and is the Institute’s lead trainer and coach.
Beginning in1974 he has been teaching Mudra Space Awareness (shortened here to “Mudra” for almost 50 years. His relationship with Mudra has passed through four phases, as follows:
1972-1884: Empowerment from Three Teachers
He received his transmission to teach Mudra and convey its principles in the period from 1972 to through 1984 from three leading teachers of Tibetan Buddhism.
Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. The author of Mudra Space Awareness, Trungpa Rinpoche formally empowered Prof Smith to teach Mudra in 1984 in Bedford Spring, PA. At the same time, he encouraged him to bring Mudra out of the cloistered domain of Shambhala and directly to world leaders.
His Holiness Karmapa XVI: His Holiness Karmapa in 1980 encouraged Prof Craig to apply Trungpa Rinoches teachers to reduce inequality in the world, a theme that Craig later developed in his Mudra teachings.
Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, Trunga’s son, in 1996 encouraged Prof Craig to teach Mudra in month long meditation programs within the Shambhala community. After teaching ten of these monthlong retreats, in 2004 he produced a fully integrated basic meditation with Mudra exercises to produce a new framework for spiritual development.
As his relationship with Mudra evolved, he found that teaching Mudra was not limited to literal transmission of its exercises, but conveying certain principles and applying these.
After teaching Mura for 25 years, Prof Craig produced a model of an approach to Mudra that varied somehow from the techniques originally presented by Trungpa Rinpoche while adhering to the principles of Mudra. In March of 2004, he produced a framework presented in the following “Mudra Mandala” chart that shows how Mudra exercises interact with basic sitting meditation into a coherent model for transformation of cognition, lifestyles and society. This framework, presented in the chart below, is for the first time offered to participants of Mudra Institute, presented in this web site. :
2005 to 2019 Leveraging Connections to Academia and Silicon Valley
Educated in four top US universities (Stanford, UC Berkeley, Harvard and MIT and later assuming Visiting Professor status in two leading Asian Universities (National University of Singapore, and Peking University) he taught philosophy linking Western and Buddhist viewpoints and conducted laboratory research which he applied to developing a philosophic and neuroscience framework that he later applied to Mudra.
In 2006, he conducted a world tour of seminars at Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, IBM Labs, Nokia (Helsinki) on the topic of “spiritual computing,” in order to align the tech sector with mindfulness principles. This tour helped to augment the practice of Mindfulness in the tech sector and helped him to formulate the view and purpose of Mudra as a distinct form of mindfulness. Howver
2019 to 2022: A Sense of Mortality leads to New Collaboration
During this time, Prof Craig was hospitalized in Bali with a severe bout of Covid while he was advising the government of Indonesia regarding his model of the ethical use of the digital economy. Feelinig an acute sense of mortality, he realized that there was no time to lose in transmitting Mudra to a new generation of teachers, who could carry on the legacy. This led him to remotely join a collaboration with Mudra teachers centered in Karme Choling. While seriously ill he also resumed teaching Mudra weekly to students including Balinese who understood Mudra to be linked to Hindu ritual and meditation. (See photo)
An epitome of this period was a Mudra Summit, combining most surviving Mudra teachers along with a five talk series in which Prof Craig presented for the first time a framework which combined theory, method and application of Mudra (in the mind as well as in the world). It is inthe five talk series that Prof Craig linked the two syllable formulation Mu+Dra to formulate a totel system of activation that brings Mudra a model for overcoming materialism. The five talk series was followed by the activation of Mudra Institute in 2023, combined with teacher training, classes, retreats with the aim to activating a new generation of Mudra teachers and students. Mexico, it seems is the auspicious center to this activity, able to draw US and Canadian-based students to retreats during Winter time in Mexico whilel also working remotely everywhere.
2023: The Launch of Mudra Institute
This final phase of Prof Craig’s relationship with Mudra is presented, in 2023 via the full activation of Mudra Institute as an enduring platform for Mudra in the 21st century.
Mudra Institute Trainers
co-founder of Mudra Institute