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Kalachakra mantra

Kalachakra ( Kālacakra Laghutantra ; Sanskrit , from time ( Kāla ) and wheel ( chakra ), mostly translated as The Wheel of Time ) is a special practice system from the group of anuttarayoga tantras (unsurpassable yogatantra) of Tibetan Buddhism . The name Kalachakra designates both the tantric deity and the root tantra on which the practice of this deity is based .


Kalachakra deity in union

According to Taranatha, Kalachakra was taught by Buddha Shakyamuni at the age of 80 at the stupa of Dhānyakaṭaka in southern India. The system of practice associated with Kalachakra was not spread in India until the 10th century and most likely came to Tibet in 1027 , when the Tibetan Kalachakra calendar began . The practice on the Kalachakra deity mandala is considered to be one of the higher tantric meditation practices, which is supposed to enable the practitioner to develop rapidly up to enlightenment in a lifetime. Kalachakra is a very late transmitted higher tantra belonging to the anuttarayoga tantra of the New Translation Traditions. Due to its late transmission and due to its more detailed representation, it stands next to the so-called eight great Heruka deities ( blood drinkers ), Hayagriva , Guhyasamaja , Hevajra , Vajrakilaya , Yamantaka , Chakrasamvara , Amrita and Mamo .

In addition to comprehensive practical instructions, the text of Kalachakra Tantra describes, in particular, presentations on the subtle energy paths of the human body and phenomena in external and internal time cycles as well as ways of harmonizing them . The Kalachakra Tantra therefore also contains many elements of Indian astrology and contributed greatly to the development of the Tibetan astrology known today. The transmission of Kalachakra Tantra can be found with some differences in all major schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Kalachakra is mainly taught by the Kagyu , Sakya and Gelug schools, much less often in the Nyingma tradition. With the school of Jonangpa there is also a Tibetan tradition that specializes solely in the transmission and practice of Kalachakra Tantra . Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltsen (1292-1361) and Buton Rinchendrup (1290-1364) are regarded as the oldest known teachers of Kalachakra Tantra in Tibet .

Shambala myth

According to one tradition, Buddha Shakyamuni first transmitted the Kalachakra tantra to King Suchandra of Shambala , since the time was not yet ripe to spread the Kalachakra tantra among people on earth. This transferred it to his co-rulers and their subjects in order to unite the kingdom of Shambala . The legendary kingdom of Shambala therefore played an important role in the spread of Kalachakra Tantra. Shambala should be an area of ​​life that is particularly favorable for spiritual development. Whether this legendary realm can be found on earth cannot be said with absolute certainty.

The 14th Dalai Lama Tendzin Gyatsho says about Shambala:

Regardless of whether Shambhala is a place anywhere on this planet or not, it can still only be seen by those whose minds and karmic tendencies are pure.
( Handbook of Tibetan Astrology )

The aim of the Kalachakra practice is not to find this legendary realm in the first place, although some lamas - including Panchen Lobsang Pälden Yeshe - have written guides to Shambala , but as with all Buddhist practices, to achieve enlightenment.

Prophetic content

With the transmission of the Kalachakra Tantra, prophetic texts were also transmitted, the content of which represented armed conflicts. Accordingly, armies that are hostile to spiritual practice are to attack the civilized world at the time of the 25th King of Shambala in order to destroy any possibility for spiritual development.

According to the Kalachakra texts, the civilized world will receive support from the kingdom of Shambala and the attackers will be repulsed. Then a new golden age is to begin, which brings particularly favorable circumstances for the spiritual development. Some relate these predictions to a real conflict that is expected to take place in a few hundred years. Others assume that these descriptions do not describe any real external conflict, but rather refer symbolically to the internal physical-mental processes of the tantric practitioner (yogi).

Tantric view

Usually tantric texts only refer to the tantric practitioner (yogi) himself, who combats his own mental poisons with the help of meditation and ritual . These mental poisons are also referred to in many Buddhist texts as the "enemies of the yogi". External enemies are alien to the internal view of higher tantra, as external reality is not viewed as something separate from the practitioner's essence. Even if the Kalachakra tantra differs in the prophetic and astrological parts from the other higher tantras, the practice of the Kalachakra is based on the same inner view. Without this background, tantric texts are sometimes misinterpreted.


The 14th Dalai Lama at the Kalachakra rite, January 2003 in Bodhgaya

Initiations into Kalachakra Tantra were given in the West by the 14th Dalai Lama, Kalu Rinpoche , Sakya Trizin and Penor Rinpoche , among others . During these initiations, teachings on rituals , lectures on ethics and Buddhist philosophy usually take place. The ceremony is intended to be a special blessing for the location of the event and the participants. The practice associated with Kalachakra is also known as Kalachakra for world peace , as it is also supposed to fulfill a function that unites people.

In 2002 Graz was the site of a Kalachakra transmission. There is a documentary by Werner Herzog : "Wheel of Time" ( BRD 2003). In 2006 there was a Kalachakra initiation by Sakya Trizin in Germany on the Lower Rhine.



Critical literature on the subject

  • Bruno Waldvogel-Frei: The Dalai Lama's smile ... and what's behind it. SCM R. Brockhaus, ISBN 978-3-417-26253-7
  • Victor and Victoria Trimondi: The Shadow of the Dalai Lama. Sexuality, Magic and Politics in Tibetan Buddhism . Patmos, Düsseldorf 1999, ISBN 3-491-72407-4


  • Nor-Bzan-Rgyal-n / Khedrup Norsang Gyatso : Ornament of Stainless Light - An Exposition of the Kalachakra Tantra (Library of Tibetan Classics) . Wisdom Publications, 2004, ISBN 0-86171-452-0
  • Gen Lamrimpa et al. a .: Transcending Time - An Explanation of the Kalachakra Six-Session Guruyoga . Wisdom Publications, 1999, ISBN 0-86171-152-1
  • Jonathan Landaw et al. a .: Taking the Kalachakra Initiation . Snow Lion Publications, 1997, ISBN 1-55939-084-0
  • Glenn H. Mullin: The Practice of Kalachakra . Snow Lion Publication, 1991, ISBN 0-937938-95-5
  • Geshe Lhundup Sopa: The Wheel of Time - The Kalachakra in Context . Snow Lion Publications, 1991, ISBN 1-55939-001-8

Web links

Commons : Kalachakra  - collection of images, videos and audio files