The 9th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
|Articles by alphabetic order|
|Please consider making little donation to help us expand the encyclopedia Donate Enjoy your readings here and have a wonderful day|
The Kālacakra tradition revolves around the concept of time and cycles: from the cycles of the planets, to the cycles of human breathing, it teaches the practice of controlling the most subtle energies within one's body on the path to enlightenment.
The Kalachakra deity represents a Buddha and thus omniscience. Since the Buddha is time and everything is under the influence of time, the Buddha therefore knows all. Similarly, the wheel is without beginning or end.
The Kalachakra Tantra is divided into five chapters, the first two of which are considered the “ground Kalachakra.” The first chapter deals with what is called the “outer Kalachakra”—the physical world, in particular the calculation system for the Kalachakra calendar.
The second chapter deals with the “inner Kalachakra,” and concerns processes of human gestation and birth, the classification of the functions within the human body and experience, and the vajra-kaya—the expression of human physical existence in terms of channels, winds, drops and so forth.
The potentials (drops) which give rise to these states are described, together with the processes that flow from them.
The fourth chapter explains the actual meditation practices themselves, both the meditation on the mandala and deity of Kalachakra in the generation process, and the perfection process of the Six Yogas.
Attendees who don’t intend to carry out the practice are generally only given the lower seven initiations.
According to the Kalachakra legend, King Suchandra (Tib. Dawa Sangpo) of the northeastern Indian Kingdom of Shambhala requested teaching from the Buddha that would allow him to practice the dharma without renouncing his worldly enjoyments and responsibilities.
In response to his request, the Buddha gave the first Kālachakra root tantra in Dhanyakataka (present day Amravati), a small town in Andhra Pradesh in southeastern India, supposedly emanating at the same time he was also delivering the Prajna Paramita sutras at Vulture Peak Mountain.
Later Shambhalian kings, Manjushrikirti and Pundarika, are said to have condensed and simplified the teachings into the "Sri Kalachakra" and commentaries, all of which remain extant today as the heart of the Kalachakra.
Chilupa/Kalachakrapada is said to have set out to receive the Kalachakra teachings in Shambhala, along the journey to which he encounters the Kulika king Durjaya manifesting as Manjushri, who conferred the Kalachakra initiation on him based on his pure motivation.
Chilupa/Kalachakrapada then initiated Nadapada (who became known as Kalachakrapada the Lesser) into the Kalachakra, and the tradition as it was known thereafter in India and Tibet stemmed from these two.
Nadapada established the teachings as legitimate in the eyes of the Nalanda community, and initiated into the Kālachakra such masters as Atisha (who, in turn, initiated the Kālachakra master Pindo Acharya (Tib. Pitopa)).
The Dro lineage was established in Tibet by a Kashmiri disciple of Nalandapa named Pandita Somanatha, who traveled to Tibet in 1027 (or 1064 AD, depending on the calendar used), and his translator Droton Sherab Drak Lotsawa, from which it takes its name.
The Ra lineage became particularly important in the Sakya tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, where it was held by such prominent masters as Sakya Pandita (1182-1251), Drogon Chogyal Pagpa (1235-1280), Budon Rinchendrup (1290-1364), and Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen (1292-1361) who recieved a Sakya education at an early age but was one of the great Jonang masters.
The latter two, both of whom also held the Dro lineage, are particularly well known expositors of the Kalachakra in Tibet, the practice of which is said to have greatly informed Dolpopa’s exposition of the zhentong or shentong view upheld by the Jonang.
Kalachakra Practice Today in the Five Tibetan Buddhist Schools
It should be noted, however, that there were many other influences and much cross-fertilization between the different traditions, and indeed His Holiness the Dalai Lama has asserted that it is acceptable for those initiated in one Kalachakra tradition to practice in others.
Billed as the “Kalachakra for World Peace,” they draw tens of thousands of people. Generally, it is unusual for such advanced teachings to be given to large public assemblages, but the Kalachakra has long been an exception.
- 1. Norbu Lingka, Lhasa, Tibet, in May 1954
- 2. Norbu Lingka, Lhasa, Tibet, in April 1956
- 3. Dharamsala, India, in March 1970
- 4. Bylakuppe, South India, in May 1971
- 5. Bodh Gaya, India, in December 1974
- 6. Leh, Ladakh, India, in September 1976
- 7. Madison, USA, in July 1981
- 8. Dirang, Arunachal Pradesh, India, in April 1983
- 9. Lahaul & Spiti, India, in August 1983
- 10. Rikon, Switzerland, in July 1985
- 11. Bodh Gaya, India, in December 1985
- 12. Zanskar, Ladakh, India, in July 1988
- 13. Los Angeles, USA, in July 1989
- 14. Sarnath, India, in December 1990
- 15. New York, USA, in October 1991
- 16. Kalpa, HP, India, in August 1992
- 17. Gangtok, Sikkim, India, in April 1993
- 18. Jispa, HP, India, in August 1994
- 19. Barcelona, Spain, in December 1994
- 20. Mundgod, South India, in January 1995
- 21. Ulanbaator, Mongolia, in August 1995
- 22. Tabo, HP, India, in June 1996
- 23. Sydney, Australia, in September 1996
- 24. Salugara, West Bengal, India, in December 1996.
- 25. Bloomington, Indiana, USA, in August 1999.
- 26. Key Monastery, Spiti, Himachal Pradesh, India, in August 2000.
- 27a. Bodhgaya, Bihar, India, in January 2002 (postponed).
- 27b. Graz, Austria, in October 2002.
- 28. Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India, in January 2003.
- 29. Toronto, Canada, in April 2004.
- 30. Amaravati, Guntur Dt., Andhra Pradesh, India, in January 2006.
The Kalachakra tradition practiced in the Karma and Shangpa Kagyu schools is derived from the Jonang tradition , and was largely systematized by Jamgon Kongtrul the Great, who wrote the text that is now used for empowerment.
Ven. Tenga Rinpoche is also a prominent Kagyu holder of the Kālachakra; he gave the initiation in 1985 in Kuala Lumpur/Malaysia and Füssen/Germany, and in 2005 in Kathmandu/Nepal and in Grabnik/Poland.
Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, while not a noted Kalachakra master, became increasingly involved later in his life with what he termed Shambhala teachings, derived from the Kalachakra tradition, in particular, the mind terma which he claimed to have received from the Kulikas.
Among the prominent recent and contemporary Nyingma Kalachakra masters are H.H. Dzongsar Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö (1894-1959), H.H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (1910-1991), H.H. Penor Rinpoche, and Ven. Orgyen Kusum Lingpa Rinpoche.
- Ornament of Stainless Light : An Exposition of the Kalachakra Tantra by Khedrup Norsang Gyatso, ISBN 0861714520
- Ven. Bokar Rinpoche
- Jonang Foundation
- Tibetan Government in Exile
- Graz 2002
- Extensive Kalachakra section within the Archives of Alexander Berzin
- International Kalachakra Network
- Kalachakra Mandala
see also: Kalachakra