His Holiness the Dalai Lama begins 34th Kalachakra initiations

By Lobsang Tenchoe

DHARAMSALA, Jan 2: Kalachakra initiation should bring transformation to one’s mind, the Tibetan spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said today as he began the conferment of the 34th Kalachakra (wheel of time) teachings to hundreds and thousands of devotees at Bodhgaya in the Indian state of Bihar.

“Though the place is very sacred and holy, the facility is not so good and the weather condition is quite poor these days. But you are enduring the hardships voluntarily and have come for dharma. Some might have come for business but most have come to do spiritual practice; therefore the most important thing is to be able to turn the dharma into dharma practice by being altruistic and taking care of others and practicing love and compassion irrespective of one’s religion,” the Tibetan spiritual leader told the devotees congregated from different places around the world.

15871160_1380453175332422_639283394_n“Spirituality must be practiced in order to draw some inspiration and blessing, not through mere prayers. If one can’t make any transformation to one’s mind through the Kalachakra initiation, all the efforts one made and the hardships one endured will go in vain,” His Holiness added.

The 34th Kalachakra initiation and the 5th to be held in Gaya will proceed from Jan 2-14. For the first three days from Jan 2-4, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, along with the monks of Namgyal monastery and other senior lamas, will conduct rituals that include chanting of prayers, creation of the sand mandala and other rituals which prepare and consecrate the venue.

From Jan 5-8, His Holiness will give preliminary teachings on Shantideva’s ‘A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life’ (Tib: Chodjug) & Kamalashila’s ‘The Middling States of Meditation’ (Tib: Gomrim Barma). His Holiness will confer the preliminary initiation on Jan 10 and Kalachakra Initiation from Jan 11 to 13.

15841672_1380453181999088_1333860416_nOn Jan 14, His Holiness will bestow the Chenresig Empowerment (Tib: Jeynang) to the devotees and a ceremony offering prayers for the long life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama(tenshug) will be performed later on the same day.

The Kalachakra is a very complex teaching and practice of Vajrayana (or tantrayana) Buddhism that involves various rituals, purifications and visualizations. Though the practice of tantra is usually reserved for serious practitioners with considerable understanding of the Buddha dharma, over the years Tibetan spiritual masters including His Holiness the Dalai Lama have made the teachings available to general public.

According to Buddhist tradition, a year after the attainment of enlightenment, Buddha Shakyamuni gave the first Kalachakra initiation to King Suchandra (Tib: Dawa Zangpo) of Shambhala and his entourage at their request. The Kalachakra teachings were brought into Tibet by Tsong-Kha-Pa, the founder of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism. Since then the teaching has been passed from master to disciple in an unbroken chain. His Holiness received the initiation from his senior tutor, Kyabje Ling Rinpoche. His Holiness gave the first Kalachakra teaching in 1954 at Norbulingka in Lhasa, Tibet. The last teaching was held in in Leh, Ladakh in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir in 2014.