Introduction to the Kalachakra Initiation, Second Edition


Kalachakra is a system of highest tantra practice for overcoming the limitations imposed by historical, astrological, and biological cycles so as to become a Buddha for the benefit of all. His Holiness the Dalai Lama and other great Tibetan teachers have been conferring the Kalachakra initiation in the West, empowering prepared practitioners to engage in its meditations. Large numbers of people also attend this initiation as interested observers and gain inspiration for their spiritual growth. Introduction to the...

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Introduction to the Kalachakra Initiation

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Kalachakra is a system of highest tantra practice for overcoming the limitations imposed by historical, astrological, and biological cycles so as to become a Buddha for the benefit of all. His Holiness the Dalai Lama and other great Tibetan teachers have been conferring the Kalachakra initiation in the West, empowering prepared practitioners to engage in its meditations. Large numbers of people also attend this initiation as interested observers and gain inspiration for their spiritual growth. Introduction to the Kalachakra Initiation explains on a practical level and in everyday language the theory of tantra, the vows, commitments, and their implications, the factors to consider in deciding if one is ready to attend a Kalachakra initiation as a participant, how to visualize during the initiation, and the most important thoughts and feelings for participants and observers at each step of the empowerment. In preparing this guidebook, Alexander Berzin has done a great service to everyone interested in the Kalachakra initiation. It will help people to prepare for the ceremony and understand the essential points of each step of the procedure.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This reviewer attended a public Kalachakra abhisheka (empowerment) with H.H. the Dalai Lama in 1991 and had limited understanding then of what was taking place. The rite was deeply inspiring, but how much more meaningful the experience might have been had this book been available! Berzin brings his signature blend of erudition and even-handedness to all elements of the Kalachakra world: internal, external, and alternative Kalachakra, vows and their broader significance, and the entire series of empowerments—for which the author offers step-by-step support (including vivid mnemonic techniques for key visualizations). Practical introductory material includes a concise 'spiritual bottom line'-oriented introduction to tantra, an explanation of the role Kalachakra can have in creating world peace. Though rooted in the Gelug tradition of Berzin's principal teachers, the text is a generous orientation to the Kalachakra tradition in all four of Tibet's Buddhist lineages."—Mandala Magazine "Berzin, with the Dalai Lama's blessing, has written a handbook in clear language and specific detail to help people prepare for the initiation and to understand the ceremony. He begins with an explanation of tantra, removing the sensationalism from a practice often presented in the West as a series of sexual activities. He goes on to explain Deity Yoga, tantric training of the imagination, visualization of the world of mandalas, Shambhala receiving, empowerments, and taking vows. This is a book for the serious student of Buddhism, but it is also a book meant to open the door to these advanced practices to a much wider audience. In many ways, it is an invitation to explore Buddhism with a friendly guide. There is a beautiful, peaceful energy that flows through the pages. I think many of your customers will be drawn to the book without even knowing why."— New Age Retailer
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781559393737
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/16/2011
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 6.01 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.51 (d)

Meet the Author

Alexander Berzin received a PhD from Harvard University in 1972 from the Departments of Far Eastern Languages and Sanskrit and Indian Studies. A member of the Translation Bureau of the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives since 1972, he is the author of numerous books and articles. He frequently travels to the Americas, Central and Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, lecturing on Buddhism and Tibetan culture and helping to establish programs of co-operation between the Tibetan community and academic and religious institutions.

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Table of Contents

Foreword Dalai Lama 11

Preface 13

Chapter 1 Introduction to Tantra 17

The Need for a Realistic Approach 17

What Is Tantra? 18

Deity Yoga 18

Training the Imagination 19

Using Visualization to Expand Our Capacities 21

Generation and Complete Stage Practice 22

The Role of Receiving Empowerment and Taking Vows 23

Commitment 25

Choosing a Tantra System 26

Chapter 2 Overview of Kalachakra

Cycles of Time and Karma 27

Liberation from Cycles of Time 30

The Spread of Kalachakra 30

Kalachakra and the Line of Dalai Lamas 32

Kalachakra and World Peace 33

Shambhala 34

Assessing Our Preparation for Receiving Empowerment 34

Overview of the Initiation 36

Chapter 3 External Kalachakra 39

Kalachakra: The Clear Tantra 39

The Textual Tradition 40

Description of the Universe 41

Space Particles and the Origins of a Universe 42

The Location of Shambhala 43

The Threat of Invasion 44

Barbaric Hordes 45

Levels of Meaning of Shambhala 46

The Use of Hindu Images 47

The Prophesy of a Future World War 48

Preventing War through Sharing Technology 49

Karma and Astrology 50

Kalachakra Astrology 51

Techniques for Predicting the Future 52

Wartime and Peacetime Technology 53

The Golden Age of Kalachakra and the Age of Aquarius 54

Chapter 4 Internal Kalachakra

The Four Manners of Rebirth 55

What Continues from One Lifetime to the Next 56

Subtlest Creative Drops and Space Particles 57

Devoid Forms 58

Human Rebirth 59

The Subtle Body 60

The Four Subtle Creative Drops 61

Correlation with Descriptions of Subtle Body in Other Systems 62

Kalachakra and Tibeto-Mongolian Medicine 63

The Correlation of Internal and External Cycles 64

The Life-spirit Cycle and Good Health 65

Alchemy 66

Chapter 5 Alternative Kalachakra 69

Qualifications of a Kalachakra Master 69

Improper Teachers 71

Qualifications for Receiving Empowerment 71

Deciding Whether to Attend the Empowerment 73

The Mandala Used for Conferring Empowerment 74

The Three Levels of Empowerment 75

Approaching the Complexity of Kalachakra Practice 77

Chapter 6 Refuge Commitments and Bodhisattva Vows 79

Studying the Commitments and Vows 79

Actions to Adopt after Formally Taking Refuge 79

Actions to Avoid and Ways to Show Respect 81

General Refuge Commitments 82

Taking Refuge and Following Other Religions or Spiritual Paths 83

Actions for Never Losing Bodhichitta Resolve 85

Root Bodhisattva Vows 86

Maintaining Vows 90

The Four Binding Factors for Losing Vows 91

Weakening Vows 92

Strengthening Weakened Vows 93

Secondary Bodhisattva Vows 94

Chapter 7 Tantric Vows 97

Overview 97

Common Root Tantric Vows 98

Kalachakra Root Tantric Vows 104

Selected Points from the Secondary Tantric Vows 107

Chapter 8 Tamed Behavior and Closely Bonding Practices 111

Modes of Tamed Behavior 111

Overview of Closely Bonding Practices 116

Common Practices for Bonding Closely with the Buddha-family Traits 117

Practices Specific to Kalachakra for Bonding Closely with the Buddha-family Traits 118

Six-session Yoga 120

Chapter 9 The Preparation Ceremony 123

Keeping Our Level of Participation Private 123

How to Visualize 124

The Clear Light Basis for Visualization 125

Confirming Our Ability to Visualize 126

Visualizing the Mandala and Keeping Our Directional Orientation 127

Textual Traditions of the Empowerment Ritual 128

Entering the Site for the Ceremony 129

Transforming Our Self-image with the Inner Empowerment 130

Gender Issues in Visualization 132

Concluding Procedures and Significance of Receiving the Inner Empowerment 133

Taking Vows and Transforming the Elements of Our Body 134

Purifying Body Speech and Mind and Determining Future Attainments 135

Receiving Materials for Examining Our Dreams 136

General Advice 138

Chapter 10 The First Day of the Actual Empowerment 139

Preliminary Steps 139

Visualizing Ourselves as a Couple and Taking Vows 140

The Yoga Encompassing Everything 142

Confidentiality 143

Entering the Mandala Blindfolded 144

Making Our Visualization More Firm 146

Invoking Deep Awareness Beings 147

Final Procedures Before Receiving the Main Empowerments 148

Chapter 11 The Second Day of the Actual Empowerment 151

Theoretical Basis for Empowerment 151

The Relation Between Buddha-nature and Empowerment for Purifying Obstacles 152

Causal and Foundational Seeds 153

Application to Kalachakra Empowerment 154

Experiencing Blissful Awareness of Voidness During Empowerment 155

Generating an Understanding of Voidness 156

Theoretical Basis for the Seven Empowerments of Entering like a Child 157

The Common Structure of the Seven Empowerments 160

Final Appended Procedures 162

Concluding Remarks 164

Chapter 12 Outline of the Initiation 167

The Preparation Ceremony 167

The First Day of the Actual Empowerment 170

Entering Blindfolded, Remaining Outside the Curtain 170

Entering Blindfolded into the Mandala Palace 171

Entering as Someone Who Can See the Mandala 174

The Second Day of the Actual Empowerment 174

Bibliography 191

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