A. Berzin: Overview of Kalachakra

His Holiness the Dalai Lama preparing the Kalachakra Mandala

Dr. Alexander Berzin: Overview of Kalachakra

The word kalachakra means cycles of time, and the Kalachakra system presents three such cycles – external, internal and alternative. The external and internal cycles deal with time as we normally know it, while the alternative cycles are practices for gaining liberation from these two. The structures of the external and internal cycles are analogous, similar to the parallel between macrocosm and microcosm discussed in Western philosophy. This means that the same laws that govern a universe also pertain to atoms, the body and our experience of life. The practices of the alternative cycles also follow this structure so as to allow us to engage with and surmount these forces in an efficient manner. Such mimicking is, in fact, one of the distinguishing features of the anuttarayoga tantra method. Continue reading »

A. Berzin: Why Study and Practice Kalachakra?

Kalachakra Mandala

Alexander Berzin: Why Study and Practice Kalachakra?

An important question to ask ourselves before we receive a Kalachakara empowerment and to continue asking ourselves periodically after we have attained one is why study and practice Kalachakra?Before that, we need to ask ourselves why study and practice anuttarayoga tantra? And before that, why study and practice tantra in general? And before that, why study and practice the sutra methods of Buddhism at all?

Why Practice Sutra?

We practice the Mahayana sutra methods in order to rid ourselves of suffering in future lives, in samsara in general, and to be able to help others to do the same. To attain true stoppings of these sufferings, we need to attain true stoppings of their true cause, grasping for self-established existence.

The habits of grasping for self-established existence have no beginning, and thus everything that is based on this grasping also has no beginning. These include the tendencies of unawareness, the tendencies of the disturbing emotions, both positive and negative karmic force and both positive and negative karmic tendencies.

Continue reading »

Jamgon Kongtrul: Buddha Nature


Buddha Nature by Jamgon Kongtrul

Toronto, August 8, 1990

Translated by Ken McLeod

The principal reason for my visiting Toronto at this time is to present what is known as the empowerment of Kalachakra, Wheel of Time. This is a preliminary talk on Buddhism, about the Dharma, the teachings of Buddha. What I wish to talk about this evening is a very important teaching from the final cycle of teachings, which come from Buddha Shakyamuni. The principal theme of this cycle of teachings is Buddha Nature.

Generally the teachings of Buddhism, teachings which come down to us from the Buddha Shakyamuni, are extraordinarily profound and extensive. The reason for this spread in both profundity and extent is basically the very varied motivations, temperaments and capabilities of individual people. Some of the teachings, which Buddha presented, were directed towards people very much in the midst of their lay lives, ordinary lives and daily lives. Some were provisional teachings, which were intended to lead a person into a deeper appreciation. Some of the teachings were about how things actually are what we call the definitive or certain sections of the teachings.

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Jhado Rinpoche: Introduction to Kalachakra 1

Ven. Jadho Rinpoche

Ven. Jadho Rinpoche

1 – Introduction to Kalachakra by Ven. Jhado Rinpoche

Bodhgaya, January 2002

Today Rinpoche is beginning with the introduction, because many of you have come to Bodhgaya to receive the Kalachakra empowerment from His Holiness the Dalai Lama, so for this Jhado Rinpoche is extremely thankful for your presence. Rinpoche personally is also here to receive the Kalachakra empowerment from His Holiness and hence from this point of view we are all the same in the sense that we are all here to receive this empowerment. Rinpoche is here in order that we do not waste this precious opportunity, he says that we are all here to help each other and he hopes that through tonight’s talk he will be able to be of some benefit or help or service to everybody in providing and sharing with all of us as much knowledge as he has of Kalachakra. Continue reading »

Jhado Rinpoche: Introduction to Kalachakra 2

Kalachakra mandala

Kalachakra mandala

2 – Introduction to Kalachakra by Jhado Rinpoche

Bodhgaya, January 2002

The speciality of Kalachakra tantra

The third outline was showing how the Vajrayana path is more supreme and superior to the Sutrayana path and the fourth outline was showing how the highest yoga tantra is more supreme than the three lower tantras. And here we come to the fifth outline, which is explaining about the speciality of the Kalachakra tantra.

In the path of secret mantra there’s this practice of Kalachakra, which is extremely profound, extremely well known through all the world. When we try to achieve enlightenment, we try to cultivate the path to buddhahood. Continue reading »

Jadho Rinpoche: Practice of Six Sessions Guru Yoga of Kalachakra

Kalachakra Mandala

Question and Answer Session by Jhado Rinpoche

Bodhgaya, January 2002

Q: What are the most important points to focus on in one’s practice after having received the Kalachakra initiation?

A: In general there are many things to practice after having received the Kalachakra empowerments, however the main thing is to train one’s mind in the common path, so Rinpoche quotes a verse from the “Foundation of All Good Qualities”, that was composed by Lama Tsong Khapa which says:

Having trained well my mind in the common pathways,

please bless me to enter the Vajaryana,

the gateway of the fortunate ones.

Continue reading »

Kirti Rinpoche: The Kalachakra Mantra

kalachakraThe Kalachakra Mantra

Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche: Graz, Austria, September 1999

In the following the main mantra of Kalachakra will be explained. The mantra is as follows:


The first four syllables OM AH HUM HOH of the mantra are the four vajra syllables of body, speech, mind and wisdom: OM is the vajra of body, AH the vajra of speech, HUM the vajra of mind, and HOH is the vajra of wisdom. These are the four vajra syllables.

The next two syllables, HAM and KSHAH, are the seed syllables for the father Kalachakra (HAM) and, correspondingly, his consort Vishvamata (KSHAH).

The subsequent syllable MA is the basis for the inestimable mansion of Kalachakra. The mansion is a threefold mandala: in the center there is the mandala of the mind, around that the mandala of the speech, and again around that the mandala of the body. These are the three mandalas of the mansion and it is represented by the seed syllable MA. Continue reading »

Alexander Berzin: Explanation of the Kalachakra initiation – 1

His Holiness the Dalai Lama prepares the Kalachakra mandala.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama prepares the Kalachakra mandala.

Explanation of the Kalachakra initiation.

By Alexander Berzin at Maitreya Institute, Maasbommel, Netherlands on 26 – 28th of April 1985

Why Kalachakra is special.

Kalachakra means cycles of time. The initiation to Kalachakra is very special for many reasons. It’s special and worthwhile to do. First of all it’s special because His Holiness is giving the initiation some of his qualities. Continue reading »

Alexander Berzin: Explanation of the Kalachakra initiation – 2

kalachakraBuilding up the correct motivation

Why do we actually want to get involved with Kalachakra? There are many different reasons that might come to our minds and if we are going because it’s something which is very high and something which is so special then that really isn’t a very stable type of reason for going. Because in fact we could have the same type of motivation for going to a big rock concert or any type of festival, because it’s something so exciting so rare and so interesting. In fact there are many different things that we can think of in terms of why we might want to go.

As all the lamas always say: “Everybody wants to be happy and nobody wants to be unhappy or have problems”. And that’s very true. We can look at our lives and although we might want very much to be happy, we find very often that our lives don’t seem to have much meaning to them etc. and we just have the same type of routine, each day. Continue reading »

Alexander Berzin: Explanation of the Kalachakra initiation – 3


There are all these different deities and all of them have lots of arms and faces and this is something which a lot of western people have difficulty relating to, because they’d say that, “Well, this is some sort of Tibetan thing or Indian thing”. We can’t really relate to it, so, “Why don’t we just throw it out the window and do something a little bit more western style”. This is really missing the point of what’s involved with all these various deities because they have many different levels of purpose and meaning and symbolism for all the different parts they have.

First of all the Tibetan word for these deities is the word “Yi-dam” and a Yi-dam is a personal deity to bind our minds closely with. We shouldn’t get confused by this word “God” or “Deity” and think that we are talking abut the creator God. It’s completely different.

What is being discussed is a certain type of image, being that we want to bind ourselves closely with, so that we take it like an ideal model of what we want to be. Continue reading »

Detailed Outline of the Kalachakra Empowerment – 1

kalachakra tools

kalachakra tools

Detailed Outline of the Kalachakra Empowerment

This is a study document, initially drawn from by Alexander Berzin – Outline of the Kalachakra Empowerment prepared for the Mongolian translator of the Kalachakra empowerment conferred by His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama in Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia, August 1995 – then modified significantly with content from Kalachakra Tantra – Rite of Initiation by Tenzin Gyatso, the Dalai Lama; translated by Jeffrey Hopkins. Continue reading »

Detailed Outline of the Kalachakra Empowerment – 2

kalachakra mantraThe disciples are instructed to sleep on their right sides, with the kusha grass under their mattresses and pillows, as explained before, and with their heads facing the mandala. Even if their heads are not facing the mandala, they need to imagine that they are. They need to observe and remember the dreams they have at early morning, just as the sky begins to become light. In going to sleep, don’t allow the mind to be polluted by conceptuality; just be mindful of Kalachakra and, within that, think of the altruistic intention to become enlightened and the view of emptiness as much as you can. If you cannot do that, first cultivate faith and compassion and look straight forwardly at the mind itself.The students offer a mandala and then leave as the lama still has various things to do. Continue reading »

The Kalacakra Tantra on the Sadhana and Mandala

The Kalacakra Tantra on the Sadhana and Mandala: A Review Article

The Kalacakra Tantra: The Chapter onSadhana, Together with the Vimalaprabha Commentary, Translated from Sanskrit, Tibetan, and Mongolian, Introduced and Annotated by Vesna A. Wallace. (Treasury of the Buddhist Sciences Series, Tengyur Translation Initiative). New York, The American Institute of Buddhist Studies, Columbia University Center for Buddhist Studies, and Tibet House US, 2010.

The Kalacakra Tantra was the last Buddhist tantra to appear in India, before the disappearance of Buddhism there, roughly a thousand years ago. Continue reading »

Kalachakra Guru-Yoga

Kalachakra Guru-Yoga

(Integrating With The Sublime Teacher Kalachakra, Cycles Of Time: An Excellent Vase of Demon-Defying Nectars of Devoid-FormdPal dus-kyi ‘khor-lo’i bla-ma’i rnal-‘byor stong-gzugs bdud-rtsi’i bum-bzang) by Panchen Lama III Continue reading »