Kalachakra Initiations given by H.H. XIV Dalai Lama

  • 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. 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, 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, India in January 2006.

Ven. Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche (1926-2006), The Ninth Khalkha Jetsun Dampa Rinpoche, Ven. Jhado Rinpoche, and late Ven. Gen Lamrimpa (?-2003) are also among the prominent Kalachakra masters of the Gelug school.


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

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. The Second and The Third Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche (1954-1992) were also prominent Kalachakra lineage holders, with the Jamgon Kontrul III giving the initiation publicly in North America on at least one occasion (Toronto 1990).4

The chief Kalachakra lineage holder for the Kagyu lineage was H.E. Kalu Rinpoche (1905-1990), who gave the initiation several times in Tibet, India, Europe and North America (e.g., New York 19825). Upon his death, this mantle was assumed by his heart son the Ven. Bokar Rinpoche (1940 - 2004), who in turn passed it on to Ven. Khenpo Lodro Donyo Rinpoche. Bokar Monastery, of which Donyo Rinpoche is now the head, features a Kalachakra stupa and is a prominent retreat center for Kalachakra practice in the Kagyu lineage. Ven. Tenga Rinpoche is also a prominent Kagyu holder of the Kālachakra; he gave the initiation in Grabnik, Poland in August, 2005. 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 received from the Kulika.


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), and H.H. Penor Rinpoche.


His Holiness Sakya Trizin, the present head of the Sakya lineage, has given the Kalachakra 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 Kalachakra 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

Chogye Trichen Rinpoche is the holder of six different Kalachakra 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 H.H. Sakya Trizin, the head of the Sakya School of Tibetan Buddhism. Rinpoche has given the Kalachakra initiation in Tibet, Mustang, Kathmandu, Malaysia, the United States, Taiwan, and Spain, and is widely regarded as a definitive authority on Kalachakra. In 1988, he traveled to the United States, giving the initiation and complete instructions in the practice of the six-branch Vajrayoga of Kalachakra according to the Jonangpa tradition in Boston.

Chogye Rinpoche has completed extensive retreat in the practice of Kalachakra, 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 Kalachakra 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 Kalachakra.6


Though not (yet) officially recognized as the fifth school of Tibetan Buddhism, the Jonang tradition is very important in that it has preserved the Kalachakra practice lineage, especially of the completion stage practices. In fact, the Kalachakra is the main tantric practice in the Jonang tradition. Khenpo Kunga Sherab Rinpoche is one contemporary Jonangpa master of Kalachakra.

Dalai Lama

The Kalachakra 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."7


The Kalachakra Tantra has occasionally been a source of controversy in the west because the text contains passages which may be interpreted as demonizing the Abrahamic religions, particularly Islam. This is principally because it contains the prophecy of a holy war between Buddhists and so-called "barbarians" (Sanskrit: mleccha). One passage of the Kalachakra (Shri Kalachakra I. 161) reads, "The Chakravartin shall come out at the end of the age, from the city the gods fashioned on Mount Kailasa. He shall smite the barbarians in battle with his own four-division army, on the entire surface of the earth."

Though the Kalachakra prophesies a future religious war, this appears in conflict with the vows of Mahayana and Theravada Buddhist teachings that prohibit violence. According to Alexander Berzin, the Kalachakra is not advocating violence but rather against inner mental and emotional aggression that results in intolerance, hatred, violence and war. Fifteenth-century Gelug commentor Kaydrubjey interprets "holy war" symbolically, teaching that it mainly refers to the inner battle of the religious practitioner against inner demonic and barbarian tendencies. This is the solution to violence, since according to the Kalachakra the outer conditions depend on the inner condition of the mindstreams of beings. Viewed that way, the prophesied war takes place in the mind and emotions. It depicts the transformation of the archaic mentality of violence in the name of religion and ideology into sublime moral power, insight and spiritual wisdom.8

Tantric iconography including sharp weapons, shields, and corpses similarly appears in conflict with those tenants of non-violence but instead represent the transmutation of aggression into a method for overcoming illusion and ego. Both Kalachakra 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.9 Symbolism researcher Robert Beers writes the following about tantric iconography of weapons:

Many of these weapons and implements have their origins in the wrathful arena of the battlefield and the funereal realm of the charnal 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.10

This prophecy could also be understood to refer in part to the Islamic incursions into central Asia and India which deliberately destroyed the Buddhist religion in those regions. The prophecy includes detailed descriptions of the future invaders as well as suggested (non-violent) ways for the Buddhist teachings to survive these onslaughts.1112

One interpretation of Buddhist teachings that portray military conflict-such as elements of the Kalachakra Tantra and the Gesar Epic-is that they may be taught for the sake of those who possess a karmic tendency towards militancy, for the purpose of taming their minds. The passages of the Kalachakra that address religious warfare can be viewed as teachings to turn away from any religious justification of war and violence, and to embrace the precepts of love and compassion.


  1. ↑ Tibetan Mandala, Art and Practice, The wheel of time ed. by Sylvie Crossman and Jean-Pierre Barou (2004), 20-26.
  2. ↑ G. Kilty, Ornament of Stainless Light (Wisdom 2004, ISBN 0-86171-452-0).
  3. ↑ Sarat Chandra Das (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), 81-82.
  4. ↑ Kalachakra History. International Kalachakra Network. Retrieved January 7, 2008.
  5. ↑ Dorje Chang Kalu Rinpoche. The Lion's Roar. Simhanada. Retrieved January 7, 2008.
  6. ↑ Chogye Trichen Rinpoche, "Parting from the Four Attachments" (Snow Lion Publications, 2003).
  7. ↑ Tibetan Buddhism from Website of the Wild Rose Dreamers Lodge. Retrieved June 22, 2008.
  8. ↑ Holy Wars in Buddhism and Islam: The Myth of Shambhala (Full Version) Retrieved June 22, 2008.
  9. ↑ Robert Beers, The Encyclopedia of Tibetan Symbols and Motifs (2004, ISBN 1-93247-610-5), 298.
  10. ↑ Beers, p. 233.
  11. ↑ The Historical Interaction between the Buddhist and Islamic Cultures before the Mongol Empire e-book by Alexander Berzin. Retrieved June 22, 2008.
  12. ↑ Will Durant, "The Story of Civilization" Volume 1.


  • Berzin, A. 1997. Taking the Kalachakra Initiation. Snowlion. ISBN 1-55939-084-0
  • Brauen, M. Das Mandala. Dumont. ISBN 3770125096
  • Bryant, B. 2003. The Wheel of Time Sand Mandala. Snow Lion. ISBN 978-1559391870
  • Dalai Lama, Hopkins J. 1985. The Kalachakra Tantra, Rite of Initiation. Wisdom. ISBN 978-0861711512
  • Kilty, G. 2004. Ornament of Stainless Light. Wisdom. ISBN 0-86171-452-0
  • Lamrimpa, G. and B. Allan Wallace. 1999. Transcending Time, an Explanation of the Kalachakra Six-Session Guru Yoga. Wisdom. ISBN 978-0861711529
  • Mullin, G.H. 1991. The Practice of Kalachakra. Snow Lion. ISBN 978-0937938959
  • Namgyal Monastery. 1999. Kalachakra. Tibet Domani.
  • Wallace, V.A. 2001. The Inner Kalacakratantra: A Buddhist Tantric View of the Individual. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195122114
  • Wallace, V.A. 2004. Kalacakratantra: The Chapter On The Individual Together With The Vimalaprabha. American Institute of Buddhist Studies. ISBN 978-0975373491

External links

All links retrieved April 10, 2018.