Summer Kalachakra Teachings and Retreat

The following article is from the Spring, 1992 issue of the Snow Lion Newsletter and is for historical reference only. You can see this in context of the original newsletter here.

According to tradition, King Chandrabhadra of Shambala requested Sakyamuni Buddha for a teaching that would enable him to attain enlightenment in this life without having to renounce his throne and become a monk. He felt that as a king he would have a greater opportunity to benefit sentient beings. In response, Sakyamuni Buddha taught the Kalachakra Tantra.

Although the Annutarayoga Tantras are all equally profound, the Kalachakra Tantra is said to be unique in many respects. For instance, in the generation stage yogas, three Kalachakras are taught: external, internal, and alternative. External Kalachakra refers to the planet Earth, the stars and planets; internal to the subtle physiology; and alternative to the actual yogas of the generation and completion stages.

Another unique aspect lies in its clear presentation of the illusory body and the resultant presentation of emptiness. In most other tantras, these are implied or taught in an obscure way.

Thirdly, rather than being given to small groups, the Kalachakra Initiation has traditionally been given to large groups, often numbering 200,000 or more.

Most people receiving the Kalachakra Initiation have received it as a blessing in order to establish a karmic connection with Kalachakra and Shambala. Now many sincere practitioners are expressing the wish to benefit sentient beings by receiving commentary and performing the practices of Kalachakra, as well as doing the Kalachakra Retreat.

In response, a number of the U.S. centers of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT) will make available a broad series of Kalachakra teachings and a Kalachakra retreats. At the request of Ven. Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche, spiritual director of the FPMT, Ven. Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche will be touring the U.S. presenting a series of teachings and commentaries on Kalachakra. His student, Gelong Thubten Lodroe (Hermes Brandt) will also be touring in order to teach and also to lead a Kalachakra retreat.

Ven. Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche is one of the primary holders of the Kalachakra tradition. Born in Amdo Province in 1926, he was ordained at the age of 9. When he was 14, His Holiness the Dalai Lama invited him to Lhasa, where he began studies at Drepung Loseling. Ven. Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche spent 15 years in retreat in India practicing Lam Rim and the generation and completion stage yogas of Highest Yoga Tantra.

Ven. Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche is the sole holder of the lineage of the Kalachakra commentary, The Stainless Light, a text written in Shambala by Pundarika.

Ven. Gelong Thubten Lodroe is a Dutch monk who has studied the practices of Kalachakra extensively with Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche and with senior monks of the Namgyal Monastery at the request of Ven. Lama Zopa Rinpoche. He has completed the La Rung Approximation Retreat and is fully qualified to lead Kalachakra retreats, as well as to teach all aspects of the Kalachakra Sadhana and the Fire Puja.

The FPMT program will commence at Milarepa Center in Barnet, VT where Ven. Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche will teach on the practice of the Six-Session Guru Yoga, June 13-14. He will then give a four-day commentary on the Practice of Kalachakra, June 15-19, after which Ven. Thubten Lodroe will lead a two-week Kalachakra retreat based on the Six Session Guru Yoga in connection with Kalachakra, June 20-July 4th. Participation in the Kalachakra retreat will be limited to those having received the full Kalachakra Initiation (as an initiatiation, not as a blessing only). Ven. Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche's teachings will be open to anyone with Annutarayoga Tantra initiation. Students are asked to register for all or part of this program by June 1st. Contact Milarepa Center, Barnet, VT 05821, 802-633-4136, for details and registration.

Dag Shen Nyamja Center in Chicago will host Ven Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche for a short Kalachakra Initiation on June 27. Contact Roberto Sanchez at 4063 No. Kenmore #2, Chicago, IL 60613, tel. 312-525-6835, for further details.

A commentary on the Practice of Kalachakra will also be given by Ven. Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche on the West Coast at the Land of Medicine Buddha, July 10-13th. Contact LMB, 5800 Prescott Road, Soquel, CA 95073, tel. 408-462-8383, for more information.

Kalachakra teachings will conclude at Vajrapani Institute in Boulder Creek, CA, where Ven. Thubten Lodroe will give comprehensive teachings from July 14 to August 4 on the Kalachakra Sadhana by Deti Rinpoche. Registration for this event is required by July 1. Contact Bev Gwyn at Box 1, Boulder Creek, CA, 95006, tel. 408-338-6654, for further details.

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