Kalachakra is not just a word. It is a way of life. Kala in Sanskrit translates to ‘Time’, and Chakra means ‘Wheel’. Kalachakra or ‘Wheel of Time’ is a pivotal ceremony that is held once a year according to the Buddhist Calendar. It is unarguably one of the main events in the Buddhist festival calendar. Kalachakra is typically referred to an elaborate and multifarious set of teachings and principles professed and practiced under Tibetan Buddhism. Kalachakra is also the name of the God of Time, the most dominant pantheon of Tibetan Buddhism.
More about the Kalachakra Initiation
Despite its mystifying preface and pedagogies, a reading of the Kalachakra to a public audience is done every year. The last meeting was held in 2012 in Bodh Gaya, claimed to be the place where Gautam Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, achieved Nirvana or enlightenment. Nearly 200,000 people attended the readings made by Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th and current Dalai Lama.
The next Kalachakra ritual will be held over a few days in July 2014. This Kalachakra initiation is slated to be held on top of the world in the altitudes of Ladakh, a region in India aptly nicknamed ‘Little Tibet’.
A symbol of peace, tolerance and freedom, reading the Kalachakra brings together thousands of people – Buddhists from the Himalayan valleys, pilgrims from around the world or just fascinated & curious participants. People from heterogeneous spheres of life are all motivated by the universal and unifying message of the Dalai Lama, a figure of peace & harmony. In 2014, the presence of Dalai Lama in Ladakh will grace the cold region with warmth and love.
The Kalachakra Ceremony
Among the Buddhist texts called tantra, the Kalachakra Tantra is the latest since it was revealed in the tenth century. The Kalachakra consists of 15 stages, with the first 7 stages being the Kalachakra initiation. They are publicly shared on the occasion of large gatherings. The next 8 steps are said to be secret. The practice of the Kalachakra tantra enables a Buddhist disciple in the service of attaining Buddhahood.
The Kalachakra tradition is based on the concepts of the cycles of time, including the external cycles of the planets, seasons and phases of the moon, as well as the internal cycles of human breathing. The Kalachakra ritual professes the practice of dealing with the subtle energies within one’s body to embark on the path to enlightenment. Beyond this dimension, the Kalachakra is also regarded as a guide to yoga and has a great influence on cosmology and the Tibetan calendar.
The Kalachakra ceremony takes place over several days. The next kalachakra of ladakh 2014 has announced the following program:
– From July 3 to 5, 2014: The Dalai Lama and the accompanied monks of Namgyal Lama will confirm and conduct rituals with songs, prayers and the creation of a sand mandala.
– 6th to 8th July: the Dalai Lama will issue preliminary Kalachakra teachings
– On July 9th: the monks of Namgyal Monastery will perform the Kalachakra ritual dance
– From 10th to 13th July: the Dalai Lama will deliver the Kalachakra initiation
– And finally on July 14th: A prayer service will be held to culminate the event