The following article is from the Autumn, 1988 issue of the Snow Lion Newsletter and is for historical reference only. You can see this in context of the original newsletter here.


His Holiness and monks drawing the mandala.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama has accepted an invitation from Thubten Dhargye Ling, a Los Angeles-based Tibetan Buddhist Center, to bestow Kalachakra Initiation, a most sacred and important Buddhist teaching, in Los Angeles. This historical religious event will take place for the second time in the United States from July 10 through 18, 1989. The first time it was given in Madison, WI, in July 1981.

Kalachakra means Wheel or Cycle of Time. Kala is Sanskrit for time, while Chakra means wheel. Over the centuries, this rarely performed ceremony has evolved into an elaborate public performance, including teachings by the Dalai Lama, Tibetan religious and ritual dances by Namgyal Monastery monks in ornate costumes and headgear, and the creation of a large mandala of colored sands.

Kalachakra is an initiation of the Anurara Yoga Tantra or Highest Yoga Tantra class, and it is very important for the disciple to take the empowerment with the motivation to attain enlightenment in order to benefit all sentient beings.

In Introduction to the 'kalachakra Initiation'His Holiness the Dalai Lama wrote: Although the higher meditations of the Kalachakra Tantra can only be practiced by a selected few, because of events past and to come and in order to establish a strong karmic relationship with Kalachakra on the minds of the people, there is now a tradition to give the initiation to large public gatherings.

The qualifications of someone who wishes to receive the Kalachakra transmission for actual practice are as follows. In terms of their level of bodhimind, which cherishes others more than oneself: the best disciple dwells in an unfeigned experience of this sublime mind; the medium disciple has had a small flash of it in his meditations; and the lowest should at least have an intense appreciation for and interest in developing it.

In terms of their philosophical development: the best disciple has an undistorted experience of the nature of ultimate reality as explained in the Middle Way or Mind-Only schools of Mahayana thought. The medium disciple has a correct understanding based on study and reason. The lowest disciple should at least have a strong appreciation for and interest in learning the philosophical views of either of the two above-mentioned schools. Besides these two qualifications, a disciple seeking the Kalachakra Initiation should have faith and interest in this particular system. The purpose of initiation is to plant certain karmic seeds in the mind of the recipient; but if the person does not possess the openness of a certain degree of spiritual interest, it is very difficult for the seeds to take hold.

If one only wishes to receive the initiation merely as a blessing, i.e., in order to establish a karmic relationship with the Kalachakra Tantra, initiation on this basis can be given to anyone who sincerely appreciates the opportunity. Even if in one's faith one does not comprehend the principles of the path combining method and wisdom . . ., the seeds of initiation can be placed in one's mind if one has the smallest basis of faith. Therefore, this is the minimum qualification required to attend.

History has it that the Kalachakra teachings were brought to India from the legendary kingdom of Si ambala and then to Tibet. Shaking about Shambala, His Holiness said that it was a land with 96 districts. However, if you lay out a map to search for Shambala, it is not something you can find. . . You cannot get there by buying an airplane ticket. Maybe a spacecraft could go to such a place, but perhaps the ticket would be very expensive. So we can consider the ticket to be one's own merit. It takes great merit to arrive at such a place.

For registration and other information on the Kalachakra Initiation, please contact: Thubten Dhargye Ling, 2658 La Cienega Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90034, (213)839-8057.