The Kalachakra (Sanskrit: Kālacakra, Tibetan: དུས་ཀྱི་འཁོར་ལོ།, Wylie: dus kyi 'khor lo; Mongolian: Цогт Цагийн Хүрдэн Tsogt Tsagiin Hurden; Chinese: 時輪) is a term used in Vajrayana Buddhism that means "wheel(s) of time".

"Kālacakra" is one of many tantric teachings and esoteric practices in Tibetan Buddhism.[1] It is an active Vajrayana tradition, and has been offered to large public audiences. The tradition combines myth and history, whereby actual historical events become an allegory for the spiritual drama within a person, drawing symbolic or allegorical lessons for inner transformation towards realizing buddha-nature.[1][2] The most important texts of this tradition include Kalachakra Tantra and Vimalaprabhā. The tradition's roots are in India, but its most active history and presence has been in the monasteries of Tibet.[1] The tradition is a form of nondualism, and devotees of the tradition believe that the Kalachakra was taught by Gautama Buddha himself.[3][4]

Kālacakra tradition

Kālacakra refers both to a patron Tantric deity or yidam (Wylie: yi dam) of Vajrayana Buddhism and to the philosophies and meditation practices contained within the Kālacakra Tantra and its many commentaries. The Kālacakra Tantra is more properly called the Kālacakra Laghutantra, and is said to be an abridged form of an original text, the Kālacakra Mūlatantra which is no longer extant. Some Buddhist masters assert that Kālacakra is the most advanced form of Vajrayana practice; it certainly is one of the most complex systems within tantric Buddhism.

The Kālacakra tradition revolves around the concept of time (kāla) and cycles (chakra): from the cycles of the planets,[5] to the cycles of human breathing, it teaches the practice of working with the most subtle energies within one's body on the path to enlightenment.

The Kālacakra deity represents a buddhahood and thus omniscience. Since Kālacakra is time and everything is the flow of time, Kālacakra knows all. Kālacakri, his spiritual consort and complement, is aware of everything that is timeless, not time-bound or out of the realm of time. In Yab-Yum, they are temporality and atemporality conjoined. Similarly, the wheel is without beginning or end. The term "wheel" evoked herewith is a principal polyvalent sign, teaching tool, organising metaphor and iconographic device within Indian religions. Some "wheel" cognates are the aṣṭamaṅgala symbol of the dharmacakra, Vishnu's Sudarshana Chakra and the theory of saṃsāra.

Kālacakra refers to many different traditions: for example, it is related to Hindu Shaiva, Samkhya, Vaishnava, Vedic, Upanishadic and Puranic traditions and also to Jainism. The Kālacakra mandala includes deities which are equally accepted by Hindus, Jains and Buddhists.[6]

The Kālacakra deity resides in the center of the mandala in his palace consisting of four mandalas, one within the other: the mandalas of body, speech, and mind, and in the very center, wisdom and great bliss.[7] The Kālacakra sand mandala is dedicated to both individual and world peace and physical balance. The Dalai Lama explains, "It is a way of planting a seed, and the seed will have karmic effect. One doesn’t need to be present at the Kalachakra ceremony in order to receive its benefits."

Kalachakra Tantra

Kālacakra Deity with consort Visvamata

The Kālacakra Tantra is a key text of the Kalacakra tradition.[8] It is divided into five chapters.[9]

Ground Kālacakra

The first two chapters are considered the "ground Kālacakra." The first chapter deals with what is called the "outer Kālacakra"—the physical world– and in particular the calculation system for the Kālacakra calendar, the birth and death of universes, our solar system and the workings of the elements.

The second chapter deals with the "inner Kālacakra," 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. Human experience is by some described in terms of four mind states: waking, dream, deep sleep, and a fourth state which is available through the energies of sexual orgasm. The potentials (drops) which give rise to these states are described, together with the processes that flow from them.

Path and fruition

The last three chapters describe the "other" or "alternative Kālacakra," and deal with the path and fruition. The third chapter deals with the preparation for the meditation practices of the system: the initiations of Kālacakra. The fourth chapter explains the actual meditation practices themselves, both the meditation on the mandala and its deities in the generation stage practices, and the perfection or completion stage practices of the Six Yogas of Kalacakra. The fifth and final chapter describes the state of enlightenment (Relijin) that results from the practice.


Holy war

The Kālacakra Tantra contains passages that refer to Islam, calling Muslims as mleccha (barbarians). It contains the prophecy of a holy war between Buddhists led by the twenty fifth warrior-king Chakravartin Kalki and the barbarians.[10][11][12] According to John Newman, the Buddhists who composed the Kalacakra Tantra likely borrowed the Hindu concept of Kalki and adapted the concept. They combined their idea of Shambhala with Kalki to reflect the theo-political situation they faced after the arrival of Islam in Central Asia and western Tibet.[13][14] The text prophecies a war fought by an army of Buddhists and the destruction of the Muslim persecutors of dhamma; then after the victory of good over evil and attainment of religious freedoms, Kalki ushers in a new era.[15][16][17]

One of the most important Buddhist commentaries on Kalachakra Tantra, named Vimalaprabha and dated to the 11th-century, provides further details of this holy war.[18] The Vimalaprabha mentions an event in the year "403" in Tibetan number symbols stating it to be the "year of the lord of the barbarians".[19] This combined by the text's statement that "Muhammad is the incarnation of al-Rahman" and the teacher of the barbarian dharma, states Newman, suggests that the 403 year must be in the era of Hijra, or equal 1012-1013 CE. The many Tibetan translations of the Kalachakra tantra and the commentaries therein, according to Alexander Berzin, mention practices such as the barbarians slaughtering cattle while reciting the name of its god, the veiling of women, circumcision, and five daily prayers facing their holy land, all of which leaves little doubt that the prophecy part of the text is referring to Islam.[20] Further, this supports the dating of this Kalachakra tradition text to the 11th-century by Tibetan and Western scholars, and linking it to the history of Buddhism of that period.[19] The Kalachakra was introduced into Tibet in 1027 CE according to Tibetan records and per the rabjung calculations of the Tibetan astronomical calendrical calculations.[21][22]

Symbolic inner war

Another interpretation of Kālacakra's prophecy is that it refers to internal war against mental and emotional aggression. Fifteenth century Gelug commentor Khedrub Je interprets "holy war" symbolically, teaching that it mainly refers to the inner battle of the religious practitioner against barbarian tendencies.

Cosmology and calendar

The phrase "as it is outside, so it is within the body" is often found in the Kālacakra tantra to emphasize the similarities and correspondence between human beings and the cosmos.

In Tibet, the Kālacakra text is the basis of Tibetan astrological calendars.[23] It is luni-solar system and employs complicated astronomical calculations to determine, for example, the exact location of the planets. The text also is the basis of some Tibetan astrology manuals.

History and origin

Rigdan Tagpa
Mañjushrīkīrti (Tibetan: འཇམ་དཔལ་གྲགས་པ, THL Jampel Drakpa), King of Shambhala

Original Teaching in India and Later Teachings in Kingdom of Shambhala

According to the Ka-tan system of time calculation in the Kalachakra tradition, Buddha is believed to have died about 833 BCE.[24]

According to the Kālacakra tantra, the Buddha taught the first Kālacakra root tantra in Dharanikota (near modern Amaravathi) in 5th century B.C. of southeastern India, supposedly bilocating (appearing in two places at once) at the same time as he was also delivering the Prajñāpāramitā sutras at Griddhraj Parvat in Bihar. Along with King Suchandra, ninety-six minor kings and emissaries from Shambhala were also said to have received the teachings. The Kālacakra thus passed directly to Shambhala, where it was held exclusively for hundreds of years. Later Kings of Shambhala, Mañjushrīkīrti and Pundarika, are said to have condensed and simplified the teachings into the Śri Kālacakra or Laghutantra and its main commentary, the Vimalaprabha, which remain extant today as the heart of the Kālacakra literature. Fragments of the original tantra have survived; the most significant fragment, the Sekkodesha, was commented upon by Naropa.

Mañjuśrīkīrti (Tibetan: འཇམ་དཔལ་གྲགས་པ, Wylie: 'jam dpal grags pa, THL: Jambé Drakpa) is said to have been born in 159 BCE and ruled over Shambhala and 100,000 cities. In his domain lived 300,510 Lalo Mutegpa (Mleccha, Yavana) with heretical beliefs in Nimai sinta (sun). He expelled all these heretics from his dominions but they accepted the piṭakas (Buddhist texts) and pleaded that they be allowed to return. He accepted their petitions and taught them the Kālacakra teachings. In 59 BCE he abdicated his throne to his son, Puṇḍārika, and died soon afterwards, entering the saṃbhogakāya of Buddhahood.[25]


There are currently two main traditions of Kālacakra, the Ra lineage (Wylie: rva lugs) and the Dro lineage (Wylie: bro lugs). Although there were many translations of the Kālacakra texts from Sanskrit into Tibetan, the Ra and Dro translations are considered to be the most reliable (more about the two lineages below). The two lineages offer slightly differing accounts of how the Kālacakra teachings returned to India from Shambhala.

In both traditions, the Kālacakra and its related commentaries (sometimes referred to as the Bodhisattvas Corpus) were returned to India in 966CE by an Indian pandit. In the Ra tradition this figure is known as Chilupa, and in the Dro tradition as Kālacakrapada the Greater. Scholars such as Helmut Hoffman have suggested they are the same person. The first masters of the tradition disguised themselves with pseudonyms, so the Indian oral traditions recorded by the Tibetans contain a mass of contradictions.

Chilupa/Kālacakrapada is said to have set out to receive the Kālacakra teachings in Shambhala, along the journey to which he encountered the Kulika (Shambhala) king Durjaya manifesting as Mañjuśrī, who conferred the Kālacakra initiation on him, based on his pure motivation.

Upon returning to India, Chilupa/Kālacakrapada is said to have defeated in debate Nadapada (Tib. Naropa), abbot of Nalanda, a great center of Buddhist thought at that time. Chilupa/Kālacakrapada then initiated Nadapada (who became known as Kālacakrapada the Lesser) into the Kālacakra, and the tradition thereafter in India and Tibet stems from these two. Nadapada established the teachings as legitimate in the eyes of the Nalanda community, and initiated into the Kālacakra such masters as Atiśa (who, in turn, initiated the Kālacakra master Pindo Acharya (Tib. Pitopa)).

A Tibetan history, the Dpag bsam ljon bzang, as well as architectural evidence, indicates that the Ratnagiri, Odisha mahavihara was an important center for the dissemination of the Kālacakratantra in India.

The Kālacakra tradition, along with all Buddhism, vanished from India in the wake of the Muslim invasions, surviving only in Nepal.

Spread to Tibet

The Dro lineage was established in Tibet by a Kashmiri disciple of Nalandapa named Pandita Somanatha, who traveled to Tibet in 1027 (or 1064CE, depending on the calendar used), and his translator Dro' Lotsawa Shérap Drak Wylie: bro lo tsa ba shes rab grags, from which it takes its name. The Ra lineage was brought to Tibet by another Kashmiri disciple of Nadapada named Samantashri, and translated by Ra Lotsawa Chörap Wylie: rwa lo tsa ba chos rab.

The Ra lineage became particularly important in the Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism, where it was held by such prominent masters as Sakya Pandita (1182–1251), Drogön Chögyal Phagpa (1235–1280), Butön Rinchen Drup (1290–1364), and Dölpopa Shérap Gyeltsen (1292–1361). The latter two, both of whom also held the Dro lineage, are particularly well known expositors of the Kālacakra in Tibet, the practice of which is said to have greatly informed Dölpopa's exposition of shentong. A strong emphasis on Kālacakra practice and exposition of the zhentong view were the principal distinguishing characteristics of the Jonang school that traces its roots to Dölpopa Shérap Gyeltsen.

The teaching of the Kālacakra was further advanced by the great Jonang scholar Taranatha (1575–1634). In the 17th century, the government of the 5th Dalai Lama outlawed the Jonang school, closing down or forcibly converting most of its monasteries. The writings of Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen, Taranatha, and other prominent zhentong scholars were banned. Ironically, it was also at this time that the Gelug school absorbed much of the Jonang Kālacakra tradition.

Today, Kālacakra is practiced by all schools of Tibetan Buddhism, although it appears most prominently in the Gelug lineage. It is the main tantric practice for the Jonangpa, whose school persists to this day with a small number of monasteries in Kham, Qinghai and Sichuan. Efforts are under way to have the Jonang tradition be recognized officially as a fifth tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.



Kalachakra0045 tiny
Monks attending the January 2003 Kālacakra initiation in Bodh Gaya, India

As in all Vajryana practices, the Kālacakra initiations empower the disciple to practice the Kālacakra tantra in the service of attaining Buddhahood. There are two main sets of initiations in Kālacakra, eleven in all. The first of these two sets concerns preparation for the generation stage meditations of Kālacakra. The second concerns preparation for the completion stage meditations known as the Six Yogas of Kālacakra. Attendees who don't intend to carry out the practice are often only given the lower seven initiations.

The Kālacakra sand Mandala is dedicated to both individual and world peace and physical balance. The Dalai Lama explains: "It is a way of planting a seed, and the seed will have karmic effect. One doesn't need to be present at the Kālacakra ceremony in order to receive its benefits."

Kālacakra practice today in the Tibetan Buddhist schools

Butön Rinchen Drup had considerable influence on the later development of the Gelug and Sakya traditions of Kālacakra and Dölpopa on the development of the Jonang tradition on which the Kagyu, Nyingma, and the Tsarpa branch of the Sakya draw. The Nyingma and Kagyu rely heavily on the extensive, Jonang-influenced Kālacakra commentaries of Jamgon Ju Mipham Gyatso and Jamgon Kongtrul, both of whom took a strong interest in the tradition. The Tsarpa branch of the Sakya maintain the practice lineage for the six branch yoga of Kālacakra in the Jonang tradition.

There were many other influences and much cross-fertilization between the different traditions, and indeed the Dalai Lama asserted that it is acceptable for those initiated in one Kālacakra tradition to practice in others.


DalaiLama0054 tiny
The Dalai Lama presiding over the Kālacakra initiation in Bodh Gaya, India, in January 2003.

The Dalai Lamas have had specific interest in the Kālacakra practice, particularly the First, Second, Seventh, Eighth, and the current (Fourteenth) Dalai Lamas. The present Dalai Lama has given over thirty Kālacakra initiations all over the world, and is the most prominent Kālacakra lineage holder alive today. Billed as the "Kālacakra for World Peace," they draw tens of thousands of people. Generally, it is unusual for tantric initiations to be given to large public assemblages, but the Kālacakra has always been an exception.

The Dalai Lama, Kalu Rinpoche, and others have stated that the public exposition of this tantra is necessary in the current degenerate age. The initiation may be received simply as a blessing for the majority of those attending, however, many of the more qualified attendees do take the commitments and subsequently engage in the practice.

Kālacakra Initiations given by XIV Dalai Lama .[26]

  • 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 January 1974
  • 6. Leh, Ladakh, India, in September 1976
  • 7. Deer Park Buddhist Center, Madison, Wisconsin, 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, Himachal Pradesh, 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.[27]
  • 27. Graz, Austria, in October 2002.
  • 28. Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India, in January 2003.
  • 29. Toronto, Canada, in April 2004.
  • 30. Amaravathi, India in January 2006.
  • 31. Washington, DC, USA, in July 2011.
  • 32. Bodh Gaya, India, in January 2012.
  • 33. Leh Ladakh, India July 2014
  • 34. Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India, in January 2017.

The 33rd Kalachakra ceremony was held in Leh town of Jammu and Kashmir, India from July 3 to July 12, 2014. About 150,000 devotees and 350,000 tourists were expected to participate in the festival.[28]

Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche (1926–2006), the 9th Jebtsundamba Khutughtu, Jhado Rinpoche and the late Gen Lamrimpa (d. 2003) were also among prominent Gelugpa Kālacakra masters.


Kalou Rimpoche Montpellier 1987
Kalu Rinpoche in 1987 at Kagyu Rintchen Tcheu Ling in Montpellier, France

The Kālacakra tradition practiced in the Karma Kagyu and Shangpa Kagyu schools is derived from the Jonang tradition and was largely systematized by Jamgon Kongtrul, who wrote the text that is now used for empowerment. The 2nd and 3rd Jamgon Kongtrul (1954–1992) were also prominent Kālacakra lineage holders, with the 3rd Jamgon Kongtrul giving the initiation publicly in North America on at least one occasion (Toronto 1990).[29]

The chief Kālacakra lineage holder for the Kagyu lineage was Kalu Rinpoche (1905–1990), who gave the initiation several times in Tibet, India, Europe and North America (e.g., New York 1982[30]). Upon his death, this mantle was assumed by his heart son, Bokar Tulku Rinpoche (1940–2004), who in turn passed it on to Khenpo Lodro Donyo Rinpoche. Bokar Monastery, of which Donyo Rinpoche is now the head, features a Kālacakra stupa and is a prominent retreat center for Kālacakra practice in the Kagyu lineage.

Tenga Rinpoche was also a prominent Kagyu holder of the Kālacakra; he gave the initiation in Grabnik, Poland in August, 2005.

Lopon Tsechu performed Kālacakra initiations and build Kālacakra stupa in Karma Guen buddhist center in southern Spain. Another prominent Kālacakra master is the Second Beru Khyentse.

Chögyam Trungpa, while not a noted Kālacakra master, became increasingly involved later in his life with what he termed Shambhala teachings, derived in part from the Kālacakra tradition, in particular, the mind terma which he received from the Kalki.


Among the prominent recent and contemporary Nyingma Kālacakra masters are Dzongsar Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö (1894–1959), Dilgo Khyentse (1910–1991), and Penor Rinpoche (1932–2009).


Kalachakra Mandala Samye Ling
Kālacakra Tenfold Powerful symbol in stained glass

Sakya Trizin, the present head of the Sakya lineage, has given the Kālacakra initiation many times and is a recognized master of the practice.

The Sakya master H.E. Chogye Trichen Rinpoche is one of the main holders of the Kālacakra teachings. Chogye Rinpoche is the head of the Tsharpa School, one of the three main schools of the Sakya tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.

One of the previous Chogye Trichen Rinpoches, Khyenrab Choje (1436–97), beheld the sustained vision of the female tantric deity Vajrayogini at Drak Yewa in central Tibet, and received extensive teachings and initiations directly from her. Two forms of Vajrayogini appeared out of the face of the rocks at Drak Yewa, one red in color and the other white, and they bestowed the Kālacakra initiation on Khyenrab Choje. When he asked if there was any proof of this, his attendant showed the master the kusha grass that Khyenrab Choje brought back with him from the initiation. It was unlike any kusha grass found in this world, with rainbow lights sparkling up and down the length of the dried blades of grass. This direct lineage from Vajrayogini is the 'shortest', the most recent and direct, lineage of the Kālacakra empowerment and teachings that exists in this world. In addition to being known as the emanation of Manjushri, Khyenrab Choje had previously been born as many of the Kings of Shambhala as well as numerous Buddhist masters of India. These are some indications of his unique relationship to the Kālacakra tradition.

Chogye Trichen Rinpoche is the holder of six different Kālacakra initiations, four of which, the Bulug, Jonang, Maitri-gyatsha, and Domjung, are contained within the Gyude Kuntu, the Collection of Tantras compiled by Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo and his disciple Loter Wangpo. Rinpoche has offered all six of these empowerments to Sakya Trizin, the head of the Sakya School of Tibetan Buddhism.

Rinpoche has given the Kālacakra initiation in Tibet, Mustang, Kathmandu, Malaysia, the United States, Taiwan, and Spain, and is widely regarded as a definitive authority on Kālacakra. In 1988 he traveled to the United States, giving the initiation and complete instructions in the practice of the six-branch Vajrayoga of Kālacakra according to the Jonangpa tradition in Boston.

Chogye Rinpoche has completed extensive retreat in the practice of Kālacakra, particularly of the six-branch yoga (sadangayoga) in the tradition of the Jonangpa school according to Jetsun Taranatha. In this way, Chogye Rinpoche has carried on the tradition of his predecessor Khyenrab Choje, the incarnation of the Shambhala kings who received the Kālacakra initiation from Vajrayogini herself. When Chogye Rinpoche was young, one of his teachers dreamed that Rinpoche was the son of the King of Shambhala, the pure land that upholds the tradition of Kālacakra. (See biography of Chogye Trichen Rinpoche in "Parting from the Four Attachments", Snow Lion Publications, 2003.)


Once deemed heretical by the 5th Dalai Lama and successors, and even thought to be extinct, the Jonang tradition has in fact survived and is now officially recognized by the Tibetan Government in exile as a fifth school of Tibetan Buddhism. Jonang is particularly important in that it has preserved the Kālacakra practice lineage, especially of the completion stage practices. In fact, the Kālacakra is the main tantric practice in the Jonang tradition. Khenpo Kunga Sherab Rinpoche[31] is one contemporary Jonangpa master of Kālacakra. Khentrul Rinpoche[32] who is based in Australia is another Kalachakra teacher who is travelling the world giving teachings and empowerments.


Tantric iconography including sharp weapons, shields, and corpses similarly appears in conflict with those tenets of non-violence but instead represent the transmutation of aggression into a method for overcoming illusion and ego. Both Kālacakra and his dharmapala protector Vajravega hold a sword and shield in their paired second right and left hands. This is an expression of the Buddha's triumph over the attack of Mara and his protection of all sentient beings.[33] Symbolism researcher Robert Beer writes the following about tantric iconography of weapons and mentions the charnel ground:

Many of these weapons and implements have their origins in the wrathful arena of the battlefield and the funereal realm of the charnel grounds. As primal images of destruction, slaughter, sacrifice, and necromancy these weapons were wrested from the hands of the evil and turned - as symbols - against the ultimate root of evil, the self-cherishing conceptual identity that gives rise to the five poisons of ignorance, desire, hatred, pride, and jealousy. In the hands of siddhas, dakinis, wrathful and semi-wrathful yidam deities, protective deities or dharmapalas these implements became pure symbols, weapons of transformation, and an expression of the deities' wrathful compassion which mercilessly destroys the manifold illusions of the inflated human ego.[34]

See also


  1. ^ a b c John Newman (1991). Geshe Lhundub Sopa, ed. The Wheel of Time: Kalachakra in Context. Shambhala. pp. 51–54, 62–77. ISBN 978-1-55939-779-7.
  2. ^ Dalai Lama (2016). Jeffrey Hopkins, ed. Kalachakra Tantra: Rite of Initiation. Wisdom Publications. pp. 13–17. ISBN 978-0-86171-886-3.
  3. ^ Dakpo Tashi Namgyal (2014). Mahamudra: The Moonlight: Quintessence of Mind and Meditation. Simon and Schuster. pp. 444 note 17. ISBN 978-0-86171-950-1.
  4. ^ Fabrice Midal (2005). Recalling Chogyam Trungpa. Shambhala Publications. pp. 457–458. ISBN 978-0-8348-2162-0.
  5. ^ 14th Dalai Lama (1985). Hopkins, Jeffrey, ed. Kālachakra Tantra: Rite of Initiation for the Stage of Generation: a Commentary on the Text of Kay-drup-ge-lek-bēl-sang-bō (2 ed.). London: Wisdom Publications. p. 212. ISBN 978-0-86171-028-7. The external Kālacakra refers to all of the environment - the mountains, fences, homes, planets, constellations of stars, solar systems, and so forth.
  6. ^ Kalachakra History //archived 16 Sep 2014
  7. ^ "Tibetan Buddhism - Kalachakra Tantra". Thewildrose.net. Retrieved 2014-06-02.
  8. ^ Khedrup Norsang Gyatso (2016). Ornament of Stainless Light: An Exposition of the Kalachakra Tantra. Wisdom Publications. pp. i–xiv. ISBN 978-0-86171-742-2.
  9. ^ Kilty, G Ornament of Stainless Light, Wisdom 2004, ISBN 0-86171-452-0
  10. ^ Yijiu JIN (2017). Islam. BRILL Academic. pp. 49–52. ISBN 978-90-474-2800-8.
  11. ^ Martin Riesebrodt (2010). The Promise of Salvation: A Theory of Religion. University of Chicago Press. pp. 167–168. ISBN 978-0-226-71394-6.
  12. ^ Donald S. Lopez Jr. (2015). Buddhism in Practice. Princeton University Press. pp. 203–204. ISBN 978-1-4008-8007-2.
  13. ^ John Newman (2015). Donald S. Lopez Jr., ed. Buddhism in Practice (Abridged ed.). Princeton University Press. p. 203.
  14. ^ Sopa, Lhundub. The Wheel of Time: Kalachakra in Context. Sambhala. pp. 83–84 with note 4.
  15. ^ Yijiu JIN (2017). Islam. BRILL Academic. pp. 49–52. ISBN 978-90-474-2800-8.
  16. ^ [a] Björn Dahla (2006). Exercising Power: The Role of Religions in Concord and Conflict. Donner Institute for Research in Religious and Cultural History. pp. 90–91. ISBN 978-952-12-1811-8., Quote: "(...) the Shambala-bodhisattva-king [Cakravartin Kalkin] and his army will defeat and destroy the enemy army, the barbarian Muslim army and their religion, in a kind of Buddhist Armadgeddon. Thereafter Buddhism will prevail.";
    [b] David Burton (2017). Buddhism: A Contemporary Philosophical Investigation. Taylor & Francis. p. 193. ISBN 978-1-351-83859-7.
    [c] Johan Elverskog (2011). Anna Akasoy; et al., eds. Islam and Tibet: Interactions Along the Musk Routes. Ashgate Publishing. pp. 293–310. ISBN 978-0-7546-6956-2.
  17. ^ John Newman (2015). Donald S. Lopez Jr., ed. Buddhism in Practice (Abridged ed.). Princeton University Press. pp. 202–205.;
    Jan Nattier (1991). Once Upon a Future Time: Studies in a Buddhist Prophecy of Decline. Jain Publishing. pp. 59–61 with footnotes. ISBN 978-0-89581-926-0.
  18. ^ John Newman (1985). Geshe Lhundub Sopa, ed. The Wheel of Time: Kalachakra in Context. Sambhala. pp. 56–78, 83–86 with notes.
  19. ^ a b John Newman (1985). Geshe Lhundub Sopa; et al., eds. The Wheel of Time: The Kalachakra in Context. Shambhala. pp. 56–79, 85–87 with notes. ISBN 978-15593-97-797.
  20. ^ Alexander Berzin (2007). Perry Schmidt-Leukel, ed. Islam and Inter-faith Relations: The Gerald Weisfeld Lectures 2006. SCM Press. pp. 230–238, context: 225–247.
  21. ^ Yijiu JIN (2017). Islam. BRILL Academic. p. 51. ISBN 978-90-474-2800-8.
  22. ^ Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal (2008). Light of Fearless Indestructible Wisdom: The Life and Legacy of His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche. Shambhala. pp. 248–249. ISBN 978-1-55939-839-8.
  23. ^ Tibetan Astrology by Philippe Cornu, Shambala 1997, ISBN 1-57062-217-5
  24. ^ Das, Sarat Chandra (1882). Contributions on the Religion and History of Tibet. First published in: Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Vol. LI. Reprint: Manjushri Publishing House, Delhi. 1970, pp. 81-82 footnote 6.
  25. ^ Das, Sarat Chandra (1882). Contributions on the Religion and History of Tibet. First published in: Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Vol. LI. Reprint: Manjushri Publishing House, Delhi. 1970, pp. 81-82; This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  26. ^ Kalachakra Initiations by His Holiness the Dalai Lama
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  29. ^ "Kālacakra History". International Kalachakra Network. Archived from the original on 2014-03-27. Retrieved 2008-01-07.
  30. ^ "Dorje Chang Kalu Rinpoche". The Lion's Roar. Simhanada. Archived from the original on 2007-10-24. Retrieved 2008-01-07.
  31. ^ Short Biography Archived January 3, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  32. ^ "Khentrul Rinpche". Khentrul Rinpoche.
  33. ^ Beer, Robert (2004) The Encyclopedia of Tibetan Symbols and Motifs ISBN 1-932476-10-5 p. 298
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  • ed, by Edward A. Arnold on behalf of Namgyal Monastery Institute of Buddhist Studies, fore. by Robert A. F. Thurman. As Long As Space Endures: Essays on the Kalacakra Tantra in Honor of the Dalai Lama Snow Lion Publications, 2009.
  • Berzin, A. Taking the Kalachakra Initiation, Snow Lion Publications, 1997, ISBN 1-55939-084-0 (available in German, French, Italian, Russian)
  • Brauen, M. Das Mandala, Dumont, ISBN 3-7701-2509-6 (also available in English, Italian, Dutch and other languages)
  • Bryant, B. The Wheel of Time Sand Mandala, Snow Lion Publications, 1995
  • Dalai Lama, Hopkins J. The Kalachakra Tantra, Rite of Initiation Wisdom, 1985
  • Dhargyey, N. et al. Kalachakra Tantra Motilal Barnassidas
  • Henning, Edward (2007). Kalacakra and the Tibetan Calendar. Treasury of the Buddhist Sciences. NY: Columbia University Press. p. 408. ISBN 0-9753734-9-8.
  • Khedrup Norsang Gyatso; Kilty, Gavin (translator) (2004). Jinpa, Thupten, ed. Ornament of Stainless Light: An Exposition of the Kālacakra Tantra. The Library of Tibetan Classics. Wisdom Publications. p. 736. ISBN 0-86171-452-0.
  • Gen Lamrimpa and B. Allan Wallace Transcending Time, an Explanation of the Kalachakra Six-Session Guru Yoga (Wisdom 1999)
  • Haas, Ernst and Minke, Gisela. (1976). "The Kālacakra Initiation." The Tibet Journal. Vol. 1, Nos. 3 & 4. Autumn 1976, pp. 29–31.
  • Mullin, G.H. The Practice of Kalachakra Snow Lion Publications, 1991
  • Namgyal Monastery Kalachakra, Tibet Domani 1999
  • Newman, J.R. The Outer Wheel of Time: Vajrayana Buddhist cosmology in the Kalacakra tantra, a dissertation 1987, dissertation. UMI number 8723348.
  • Reigle, D. Kalacakra Sadhana and Social ResponsibilitySpirit of the Sun Publications 1996
  • Wallace, V.A. The Inner Kalacakratantra: A Buddhist Tantric View of the Individual Oxford University Press, 2001
  • Wallace, Thurman, Yarnall Kalacakratantra: The Chapter On The Individual Together With The Vimalaprabha American Institute of Buddhist Studies, 2004

External links

8th Arjia Rinpoche

8th Agya Hotogtu (Lobsang Tubten Jigme Gyatso) (Tibetan: ཨ་རྒྱ་ཧོ་ཐོག་ཐུ་, Amdo Tibetan ar.ɟa.hɔ.tʰɔk.tʰʊ, born 1950) is one of the most prominent Buddhist teachers and lamas to have left Tibet. At age two, Arjia Rinpoche was recognized by Choekyi Gyaltsen, 10th Panchen Lama as the 20th Arjia Danpei Gyaltsen, the reincarnation of Je Tsongkhapa's father, Lumbum Ghe, the throne holder and abbot of Kumbum Monastery. He has trained with lineage teachers, such as the 14th Dalai Lama, the 10th Panchen Lama, and Gyayak Rinpoche—from whom he received many sacred teachings and ritual instructions.

During the Cultural Revolution in Chinese controlled Tibet, Arjia Rinpoche was forced to leave his monastery and attend a Chinese school, yet secretly continued to practice and study with his tutors. In addition, he was required to work in a forced Labor Camp for 16 years. Following the Cultural Revolution, Rinpoche continued serving as Abbot of Kumbum—overseeing the renovations in the monastery and reestablishing monastic studies. In 1998, due to the strained political climate in Tibet, Arjia Rinpoche went into exile because he would not compromise his spiritual beliefs and practices. He escaped to the United States where he now lives and started a Buddhist Center for Compassion and Wisdom (TCCW) in Mill Valley, California, a center committed to the preservation of Buddhist teachings, art and culture within and outside of Tibet and Mongolia. In 2005, he was appointed Director of the Tibetan Cultural Center (TCC) in Bloomington, Indiana by the 14th Dalai Lama. TCC was recently renamed the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center. Presently, he directs both TCCW and TMBCC.

Arjia Rinpoche excels in the knowledge and understanding of Tibetan art, architecture and the Tibetan Language. He has given classes in Buddhist Art and Sutra throughout the United States, Canada, Taiwan, India and Guatemala. In 1999, Rinpoche built a three-dimensional Kalachakra mandala and presented it to the Dalai Lama. Later, the Dalai Lama donated this mandala to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.

Kumbum Monastery, one of the six largest monasteries of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism, is the birthplace of Je Tsongkhapa (founder of the school which is now headed by the Dalai Lama). Kumbum Monastery was once the home of 3,600 monks and well revered by the four well known Buddhist Colleges for higher learning: The Institute of Sutra, Institute of Tantra, Institute of Tibetan Medicine, and the Institute of the Kalachakra (Astrology). In the 1980s, after Buddhism began to revive in Tibet and in China, Arjia Rinpoche reestablished monastic life and traditional studies at Kumbum.

Throughout his life, Arjia Rinpoche was tutored by specialized teachers in the area of Buddhist philosophy, sutra and tantra teachings, as well as in Buddhist art and architectural design. He was in charge of the renovations of Kumbum monastery in 1991 and launched several projects including the following: Red Cross Organization in Kumbum, Disaster Relief Project for local villages, a clinic for villagers run by monks of the Tibetan Medical Institute and a school for local village children.Arjia Rinpoche became vegetarian in 1999.


In Vajrayana Buddhism, the Adi-Buddha (Tibetan: དང་པོའི་སངས་རྒྱས།, Wylie: dang po'i sangs rgyas, THL: Dangpö Sanggyé), is the "First Buddha" or the "Primordial Buddha." The term reemerges in tantric literature, most prominently in the Kalachakra. Ãdi means "first", such that the ādibuddha was the first to attain Buddhahood. Ādi can also mean “primordial,” not referring to a person but to an innate wisdom that is present in all sentient beings.In Tibetan Buddhism, the term ādibuddha is often used to describe Samantabhadra, Vajradhara or Kalachakra. In East Asian Mahayana, the ādibuddha is typically considered to be Vairocana.The Guhyasamāja Tantra says of Vajradhāra, "Then Vajradhara, the Teacher, who is bowed to by all the Buddhas, best of the three diamonds, best of the great best, supreme lord of the three diamonds[.]"Alex Wayman notes that the Pradipoddyotana, a tantric commentary, states that the "three diamonds" are the three mysteries of Body, Speech, and Mind. Wayman further writes: "Tsong-kha-pa's Mchan-'grel explains the "lord of body": displays simultaneously innumerable materializations of body; "lord of speech": teaches the Dharma simultaneously to boundless sentient beings each in his own language; "lord of mind": understands all the knowable which seems impossible.According to the 14th Dalai Lama, the ādibuddha is also seen in Mahayana Buddhism as representation of the universe, its laws and its true nature, as a source of enlightenment and karmic manifestations and a representation of the Trikaya.Within the Nichiren school of Japanese Buddhism, the Nikko-lineage, specifically the Soka Gakkai and Nichiren Shoshu, regard Nichiren as the Adi-(primal) Buddha and dispute the contentions of other sects that view him as a bodhisattva.

Alexander Berzin (scholar)

Alexander Berzin (born 1944) is a scholar, translator, and teacher of Tibetan Buddhism.

Jain cosmology

Jain cosmology is the description of the shape and functioning of the Universe (loka) and its constituents (such as living beings, matter, space, time etc.) according to Jainism. Jain cosmology considers the universe, as an uncreated entity, existing since infinity, having neither beginning nor end. Jain texts describe the shape of the universe as similar to a man standing with legs apart and arm resting on his waist. This Universe, according to Jainism, is broad at the top, narrow at the middle and once again becomes broad at the bottom.


The Jonang (Tibetan: ཇོ་ནང་, Wylie: Jo-nang) is one of the schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Its origins in Tibet can be traced to early 12th century master Yumo Mikyo Dorje, but became much wider known with the help of Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen, a monk originally trained in the Sakya school. The Jonang school was widely thought to have become extinct in the late 17th century at the hands of the 5th Dalai Lama, who forcibly annexed the Jonang gompas (Tibetan-style monasteries) to his Gelug school, declaring them heretical.The Jonang re-established their religio-political center in Golok, Nakhi and Mongol areas of Kham and Amdo with the school's seat (Wylie: gdan sa) at Dzamtang Tsangwa (Tibetan: ཛམ་ཐང་གཙང་བ།) dzong and have continued practicing uninterrupted to this day. An estimated 5000 monks and nuns of the Jonang tradition practice today in these areas and at the edges of historic Gelug influence. However, their teachings were limited to these regions until the Rimé movement of the 19th century encouraged the study of non-Gelug schools of thought and practice.

Kalachakra stupa

In Buddhism, a Kalachakra stupa is a stupa whose symbolism is not connected to events in the Buddha's life, but instead to the symbolism of the Kalachakra Tantra, created to protect against negative energies. It is the rarest kind of stupa.


Kalki, also called Kalkin or Karki, is the tenth avatar of Hindu god Vishnu to end the Kali Yuga, one of the four periods in the endless cycle of existence (krita) in Vaishnavism cosmology. He is described in the Puranas as the avatar who rejuvenates existence by ending the darkest and destructive period to remove adharma and ushering in the Satya Yuga, while riding a white horse with a fiery sword. The description and details of Kalki are inconsistent among the Puranic texts. He is, for example, only an invisible force destroying evil and chaos in some texts, while an actual person who kills those who persecute others, and some texts portrayed him as someone leading an army of Brahmin warriors to eliminate adharma from the world. His mythology has been compared to the concepts of Messiah, Apocalypse, Frashokereti and Maitreya in other religions.Kalki is also found in Buddhist texts. In Tibetan Buddhism, the Kalachakra-Tantra describes 25 rulers, each named Kalki who rule from the heavenly Shambhala. The last Kalki of Shambhala destroys a barbarian Muslim army, after which Buddhism flourishes. This text is dated to about 10th-century CE.

Khedrup Gelek Pelzang, 1st Panchen Lama

Khedrup Gelek Pelzang, 1st Panchen Lama (1385–1438 CE) – better known as Khedrup Je – was one of the main disciples of Je Tsongkhapa, whose reforms to Atiśa's Kadam tradition are considered the beginnings of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism.

Khedrub Je is considered to be an emanation of Manjusri, the Buddha of Wisdom.

Kings of Shambhala

The thirty-two Kings of Shambhala reside in a mythical kingdom. They are part of the Indo-Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhist tradition.

Namgyal Monastery

Namgyal Monastery (Tibetan: རྣམ་གྱལ།, Wylie: rnam rgyal) (also often referred to as "Dalai Lama's Temple") is currently located in Mcleod Ganj, Dharamsala, India. It is the personal monastery of the 14th Dalai Lama. Another name for this temple-complex is Namgyal Tantric College.

This monastery's key role is to assist with rituals involving the Dalai Lama of Tibet. Its main tantric practices reportedly include those of Kalachakra, Yamantaka, Chakrasamvara, Guhyasamaja, and Vajrakilaya.


In Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhist tradition, Shambhala (Sanskrit: शम्भलः Śambhalaḥ, also spelled Shambala or Shamballa; Tibetan: བདེ་འབྱུང, Wylie: bde 'byung; Chinese: 香巴拉; pinyin: xiāngbālā) is a mythical kingdom. The kingdom is said to be laid out in precisely the same form as an eight-petalled lotus blossom surrounded by a chain of snow mountains. At the centre lies the palace of the King of Shambala who governed from the city called Kalapa. Shambhala is also often called Shangri-la in some texts. Shambhala is mentioned in various ancient texts, including the Kalacakra Tantra and the ancient Zhangzhung texts of western Tibet. The Bon scriptures speak of a closely related land called Tagzig Olmo Lung Ring.Hindu texts such as the Vishnu Purana (4.24) mention the village Shambhala as the birthplace of Kalki, the final incarnation of Vishnu, who will usher in a new Age (Satya Yuga).Whatever its historical basis, Shambhala (spelling derived from Buddhist transliterations) gradually came to be seen as a Buddhist pure land, a fabulous kingdom whose reality is visionary or spiritual as much as physical or geographic. It was in this form that the Shambhala myth reached Western Europe and the Americas, where it influenced non-Buddhist as well as Buddhist spiritual seekers—and, to some extent, popular culture in general.

Shankh Monastery

Shankh Monastery (Mongolian: Шанх хийд, Shankh Khiid) located in Övörkhangai Province, Central Mongolia, 25 kilometers South East of Kharkhorin city, is one of Mongolia’s oldest and most historically significant monasteries. It was founded in 1647 by Zanabazar, the first Jebtsundamba Khutuktu, or spiritual head of Tibetan Buddhism for the Khalkha in Outer Mongolia, around the same time as the establishment of the nearby Tövkhön Monastery.

The monastery belongs to the Gelupa, or Yellow Hat Sect, school of Tibetan Buddhism. Its main temple is famous for its seven Kalachakra Mandalas which portray all 722 Kalachakra deities, the only ones of their kind in Mongolia.

The meaning of the word shankh is unclear, with some speculating it refers to the small mountain range between the monastery and Erdene Zuu Monastery, while others claim it refers to “a group of objects arranged in a particular order”.


A stupa (Sanskrit: "heap") is a mound-like or hemispherical structure containing relics (such as śarīra – typically the remains of Buddhist monks or nuns) that is used as a place of meditation. A related architectural term is a chaitya, which is a prayer hall or temple containing a stupa.

In Buddhism, circumambulation or pradakhshina has been an important ritual and devotional practice since the earliest times, and stupas always have a pradakhshina path around them.


According to Indian and Tibetan legend, King Suchandra (Tib. Dawa Sangpo) of the northeastern Indian Kingdom of Shambhala was the one who 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 Kalachakra tantra initiation and teachings at Amaravati, a small town in Andhra Pradesh in southeastern India, supposedly emanating at the same time he was also delivering the Prajñā-Pāramitā Sūtras at Vulture Peak Mountain at Rajgir in North India. Along with King Suchandra, 96 minor kings and emissaries from Shambhala are also said to have received the teachings.

Suchandra is considered to be an emanation of Vajrapani, and a bodhisattva on the 10th ground. By practicing the Kalachakra, the whole of Shambhala became an enlightened society, with Suchandra as the ruler. King Suchandra wrote down the Kalachakra teachings he received, composing the 12,000-verse "Mula" or root text, which has not survived. He also built a huge three-dimensional Kalachakra mandala in the center of the kingdom. Suchandra is said to have died only two years after receiving the teachings. The six kings who followed him were known as "dharmarajas" or "truth kings," and each is said to have reigned for over 100 years. The twenty-five rulers that follow them are known as Kalki kings.

Tibetan astronomy

The Tantra of Kalachakra is the basis of Tibetan astronomy.

It explains some phenomena in a similar manner as modern astronomy science. Hence, Sun eclipse is described as the Moon passing between the Sun and the Earth.In 1318, the 3rd Karmapa received vision of Kalachakra which he used to introduce a revised system of astronomy and astrology named the "Tsurphu Tradition of Astrology" (Tibetan: Tsur-tsi) which is still used in the Karma Kagyu school for the calculation of the Tibetan calendar.


Tummo (Tibetan: gtum-mo; Sanskrit: caṇḍālī) is the fierce goddess of heat and passion in Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Tummo is found in the Mahasiddha Krishnacarya and the Hevajra Tantra texts.As a breathing exercise, tummo (Tumo or Chandali yoga) is a part of tantric meditation cycles for yogic heat, developed around the concept of the female deity. It is found in the Six Dharmas of Naropa, Lamdre, Kalachakra and Anuyoga teachings of Tibetan Vajrayana. The purpose of tummo is to gain control over body processes during the completion stage of 'highest yoga tantra' (Anuttarayoga Tantra) or Anuyoga.

Wheel of Time (film)

Wheel of Time is a 2003 documentary film about Tibetan Buddhism by German director Werner Herzog. The title refers to the Kalachakra sand mandala that provides a recurring image for the film.

The film documents the two Kalachakra initiations of 2002, presided over by the fourteenth Dalai Lama. The first, in Bodhgaya India, was disrupted by the Dalai Lama's illness. Later that same year, the event was held again, this time without disruption, in Graz, Austria. The film's first location is the Bodhgaya, the site of the Mahabodhi Temple and the Bodhi tree. Herzog then turns to the pilgrimage at Mount Kailash, after which the film then focuses on the second gathering in Graz.

Herzog includes a personal interview with the Dalai Lama, as well as Tibetan former political prisoner Takna Jigme Zangpo, who served 37 years in a Chinese prison for his support of the International Tibet Independence Movement.

Wheel of time

The Wheel of time or wheel of history (also known as Kalachakra) is a concept found in several religious traditions and philosophies, notably religions of Indian origin such as Hinduism, Sikhism, and Buddhism, which regard time as cyclical and consisting of repeating ages. Many other cultures contain belief in a similar concept: notably, the Q'ero Indians in Peru, as well as the Hopi Indians of Arizona.


Yidam is a type of deity associated with tantric or Vajrayana Buddhism said to be manifestations of Buddhahood or enlightened mind. During personal meditation (sādhana) practice, the yogi identifies their own form, attributes and mind with those of a yidam for the purpose of transformation. Yidam is sometimes translated by the terms "meditational deity" or "tutelary deity". Examples of yidams include the meditation deities Chakrasamvara, Kalachakra, Hevajra, Yamantaka, and Vajrayogini, all of whom have a distinctive iconography, mandala, mantra, rites of invocation and practice.

In Vajrayana, the yidam is one of the three roots of the "inner" refuge formula and is also the key element of Deity yoga since the 'deity' in the yoga is the yidam.

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