Kalachakra: A Tibetan Buddhist Tantric Initiation

“If you have the power to make someone happy, do it. The world needs more of that.”

Imagine the tingling feeling of awe you get when you stand, with 200,000 other people, to greet the Dalai Lama as he walks to his throne. Kalachakra, a complex and esoteric ten day tantric initiation took place in Leh, Ladakh, when Kevin and I were visiting. Kalachakra, which is a Sanskrit name which translates to “time-wheel” is the most advanced form of Vajrayana (a type or Buddhism) practice, and though most people receive the initiation simply as a blessing, there are a few given devotees who use this practice to advance their path to enlightenment.

Though I don’t understand it very well myself, I know that during the first few days the monks work diligently on an complex sand mandala that represents the universe. During this time there are hours of prayer a day which are said to help prepare the venue for the actual practice. Then the Dalai Lama teaches for a few days before the actual “Kalachakra” three day initiation begins. The practice itself revolves around the concepts of time and cycles and teaches the practice of working with the most subtle energies in ones body on the path to enlightenment. There is a certain text which is used which has been around for over a thousand years and the practice involves a deep and complicated type of meditation. Though I didn’t actually understand the more ritualistic parts and definitely don’t know how to meditate as they do, I enjoyed listening to the Dalai Lamas teachings which, as always, resonate very strongly as true for everyone.

There have been certain Dalai Lamas in the past who have done this initiation ceremony, with the current one (the fourteen) having completed the most, making this one in Leh his 33rd. Though tantric initiations are not usually given to such large groups, Kalachakra has always been an exception. The practice is a prayer for world peace, and though I may not understand the more ritualistic aspects to this practice, I don’t think anyone can disagree that 200,000 people meeting for the propagation of world peace is a bad thing. The current Dalai Lama especially feels it is for the whole world because our world is no longer separated by valleys and rivers as it use to be, our community now includes the entire planet through instant communication and rapid transportation.

2 thoughts on “Kalachakra: A Tibetan Buddhist Tantric Initiation

  1. Pingback: Mountains, Camping, and A Whole Lot of Cyclists: Part 1 | A Wandering Nomad

  2. Pingback: Tibet: Let the Voices of Oppression Be Heard | A Wandering Nomad

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