Kalachakra Introduction

Introduction to Kalachakra
Compiled by Faniha

Starting late 1999, Grand Master Sheng-yen Lu (Living Buddha Lian Sheng) started to convey aspects and background of Kalachakra Tantra as preparation to the Rite of Initiation (Empowerment) to be held in Hong Kong on August 27, 2000. With great loving-kindness, Grand Master ensures that this rare and supreme opportunity is accessible to all who have suitable affinity and that its transmission method is most appropriate for the modern world.

This text is a compilation from Grand Master`s teachings given at the Seattle Leizang Temple (Ling Shen Ching Tze Temple) and other ceremonial sites around the world. It is intended to provide background information. Should there be any discrepancy between the English and the Chinese versions, the Chinese version should hold.


Lineage is crucial in Tantrayana, without it, one cannot practice nor teach tantra. Grand Master Lu is a Living Buddha; he has attained buddhahood (perfect enlightenment). He is a lineage holder of the Sakya, Gelug, Kagyu and Ningma orders of Tantrayana. Grand Master has attained the highest fruition on all four orders: Mahamudra of Sakya order, Yamantaka of Gelug order, Mahayoga of Kagyu order, and Great Perfection (Dzogchen) of Ningma order.

Specifically for Kalachakra Tantra, he holds two lineages and has full transmission of the Sakya order: Master Sakya Zhen-Kung - Panchen Lama IX and of the Gelug order: Master Thubten Dhaergye - Thubten Nima - Living Buddha Gan-Zu.

Grand Master received Kalachakra initiation and transmission from Master Sakya Zhen-Kung, who received it from Panchen Lama IX in Qinghai. He also received initiation from Master Thubten Dhaergye who gave him Kalachakra Tantra text of both Thubten Nima and Living Buddha Gan-Zu.

Grand Master commented that upon reading the text of Thubten Nima, he found that it was the same as the text of Panchen Lama IX so this is the merging of the same lineage flow through different orders. However, the text of Living Buddha Gan-Zu is different, even the mantra is different. Living Buddha Gan-Zu is a Mongolian religious leader; he is a graduate of Guang-Jie Temple Buddhist University and the seventeenth reincarnation of a great disciple of Buddha Shakyamuni.

Great Grand Master Thubten Dhaergye said that Living Buddha Lian-Sheng is a sole holder of the Kalachakra lineage of Thubten Nima, Living Buddha Gan-Zu, and Master Sakya Zhen-Kung.

Therefore, True Buddha School disciples are very fortunate and should implore Living Buddha Lian-Sheng to bestow this initiation and transmission all over the world. He has the means to skillfully employ his profound realization to supplicate Kalachakra and all deities in the buddha realm and turn the dharma wheel to benefit multitude of sentient beings. We are very fortunate to have met and taken refuge in our root guru and we should treasure this one-in-a-million opportunity.

Why does Grand Master transmit Kalachakra?

In Tantrayana, a lineage holder or a guru transmits a specific tantra only upon request. Similarly, they turn the dharma wheel only when they have pledged a vow or upon request from sentient beings. Otherwise, buddhas enter and stay in nirvana. Buddha Shakyamuni, upon enlightenment at Bodhigaya did not say a word because it was too profound. He realized that it was indescribable. Only later, when others repeatedly asked of him, he started to turn the dharma wheel with great compassion and teach 84,000 ways to enlightenment.

During the meeting of Grand Master with the Dalai Lama on November 1996, they conversed on Mahamudra, Great Perfection and Kalachakra Tantra. Here are some of the dialogs:

DL: Are you familiar with Kalachakra Tantra? Are you familiar with its form and emptiness?
GM: In absorption of form and emptiness, I balanced the two. It is crucial to be in the middle way. In real life, it all depends on the mind, how to harmonize it just right. This is a great skill of emptiness-bliss.
DL: Not using the concept of the Heart Sutra , how do you explain emptiness-bliss of Kalachakra Tantra?
GM: Union in the Consort Practice (literally: double bodies double practice).

What Grand Master mentioned here is the practice of Kalachakra and consort Visvamata in sexual union. To engage in this practice, both participants must connect/correspond on the lower three tantric levels, they must receive proper initiations and empowerments, strictly keep all vows and precepts, and attain the same level of realization.

Although Grand Master would have liked to exchange more dialogs and ask the other master a few questions on the subject, he refrained from it. He felt that it would have been inappropriate to do so.

Thereafter, Grand Master decided that the time has come for him to transmit this supreme method of Kalachakra. Moreover, he is the only master of Han origin who transmits to the Chinese speakers. Therefore, in April 1999, Grand Master bestowed initiation and empowered Vajra Master Lian-Han who will be transmitting on August 27, 2000 in Hong Kong. Master Lian-Han will primarily transmit the teachings on Inner and Outer Kalachakras and Grand Master will focus on Other Kalachakra, transmit the pith-instructions and complete the whole Kalachakra transmission.

Method of Transmission

Grand Master also mentioned that in today`s world, there are only a few masters transmitting Kalachakra Tantra, among them are the Dalai Lama, Panchen Lama, Kalu Rinpoche and Living Buddha Gung-Tang-Chang. Kalachakra is a very special and most supreme tantra. Even when these masters transmit Kalachakra Tantra publicly, they only transmit the key secrets to very few disciples. Grand Master believes that his teaching will differ from the other masters because each master has different realization and attainment. Much more importantly, true to his method of teachings, Grand Master shares his personal realization as well as the key secrets and pith-instructions that are extremely powerful in helping the practice of his disciples.

For example, Grand Master shares with us details such as the number and shape of the doors and the number of deities in Kalachakra mandala as well as crucial points such as the three levels of meditative attainment. The other masters never mentioned any of these.

Grand Master realized that in today`s world, people lack resources and patience for lengthy rituals. His transmission requires only one half day versus the traditional seven to ten days. Grand Master skillfully compiled the crucial parts but did not compromise anything. He utilized the shortest possible time to transmit the most crucial parts. It is in the same effect as Heart Sutra, brief, concise but complete. He has the attainment, means and compassion to do so.

For example, he does not require the building of Kalachakra mandala at the rite of initiation since his own body is a mandala; it is called a Body Mandala. Six hundred and twenty deities of Kalachakra mandala are already residing in his body therefore he can invoke the deities in a flash; it is very swift and precise. This is a mandala of the highest realm. The three hundred and sixty joints in his body are three hundred and sixty buddhas, the seventy-two channels are seventy-two buddhas, and there are deities on the three channels as well as the seven chakras. In the traditional rite, deity supplication alone would require hours of incantation. There were over 70,000 participants at the Hong Kong ceremony. Bestowing initiations conventionally would require several days. So, with a tremendous loving-kindness, Grand Master not only started to introduce the background of Kalachakra Tantra beforehand, he will also employ highly skillful means for the rite itself. This is a great benefit for all of us.

Introduction to Kalachakra Tantra

Kalachakra literally means wheel or movement (chakra) of time (kala); it refers to the following:

1. Kalachakra Deity or Kalachakra Guru - the name of the primary deity.
In the case of Kalachakra practice, the root guru (Living Buddha Lian-Sheng) is the same as Kalachakra

2. Kalachakra Tantra - very special teachings on how to swiftly transform our physical body into empty-nature (buddha-nature)

Kalachakra is consisted of three parts: inner, outer and other.

Inner Kalachakra refers to the inner body including qi (vital energy), channels and lightdrops.

Outer Kalachakra relates to the natural phenomena of the universe.

Other Kalachakra refers to the method of corresponding inner and outer kalachakras and to its attainments and fruition.

The outer chakra includes the wheel of time. Simply put, all natural phenomena of the universe are created in the time dimension including lives and all material things. In time dimension, myriad things are created; at the same time, myriad things are also deteriorating. The outer chakra also includes the wheel of life.

Our lives are phenomena of the wheel of life. When one is born, one starts to have life; the cells start to grow. They grow up to a point and then they start to die. As a whole, the growth gradually diminishes and the deterioration gradually increases until at the end, life ends.

Kalachakra Tantra teaches us how to apply buddhadharma to counter the deterioration of all things including our lives. This is called the wheel of counteracting, which is part of the inner chakra.

We need to completely harmonize all of the three chakras by employing our inner chakra to confirm the outer chakra, and using the outer chakra to confirm the other chakra. It encompasses the training of the mind as well as the regulation of physical substances and how to perfectly combine the two in transforming our physical body into empty-nature (buddha-nature).

One trains how to
1.regulate the dying process of the physical body, improve health, and extend lives
2.swiftly radiate our inner light
These two are of prime importance in Kalachakra Tantra.

When one trains by chanting Kalachakra mantra and practicing Nine-Cycle-Buddha-Breathing and Treasure-Vase-Energy-Yoga to lengthen breathing cycle, our life extends. Therefore, it is utterly important to practice qi since this is the foundation. Only then, one can generate one`s own inner light and realize buddha-nature (empty-nature).

It is mentioned in Kalachakra Tantra that human body consists of earth, water, fire, wind and space. Earth includes skin, flesh and bones; water includes blood; fire is our body temperature; wind is the air circulating our body; and space is the composition of the above four elements. Human body does not have any intrinsic existence; it is a false reality (illusory). The body is alive only when the four elements, with the addition of consciousness come together, which is a result of specific causes and conditions (affinity).

In Kalachakra Tantra, one trains to regulate and counteract inner and outer chakras, then develop wisdom based on the authentic truth of the universe and use this wisdom to eliminate the false reality layer upon layer until there remains only authentic reality. This authentic reality is the buddha-nature. If the false reality is not eliminated, then the authentic self will never appear. Eliminating false reality is to gradually decrease the physical substances of our body such as flesh and bone, red or white bodhicitta, etc. so that the radiant mind (inner light) can appear.

In universe, there are sun, moon and stars. They correspond to the central, left and right channels. The twelve sectors correspond to the twelve joints in a human body. Each joint has thirty channels corresponding to the thirty days of the month. There are a total of 24,000 nerve channels, 24,000 blood channels and 24,000 energy channels in the body. Everyday, two of them die which in this case a person will live 100 years.

Kalachakra can also be categorized as:

1.Outer chakra: the date and time of heaven and earth. The year as the time, and the 12 two-hour periods and 21,600 minutes in a day as the wheel.

2.Inner chakra: refers to the circulation of energy in our lives. One day and night as the time and the 21,600 breathing cycles evenly circulating the 12 chakras as the wheel.

3.Other chakra: the interconnection, circulation and correspondence of inner and outer chakras to break through life and death, to go beyond rebirth cycle, to be pure and free, and to finally arrive at the buddhahood of Kalachakra.

These three chakras unite heaven and men, uniting the wheel of heaven with the wheel of men to attain the wheel of Buddha.

Kalachakra Tantra corresponds human body structure with the year, month, day, hour, minute, second, etc. to realize our authentic self. Tantra trains us to absorb the energy of the universe, let it enter and merge with our bodies to replace karmic energy. Little by little, we train our energy to completely merge with the energy of the universe. Physical substances in our bodies gradually diminish until there remains only clear light. We become a body of pure clear light, which is a buddha body or dharmakaya.

Great Grand Master Sakya Zhen-Kung made a remark on Grand Master`s attainment. He was very glad to see Grand Master attain the highest fruition of the Kalachakra practice. He said that the merging of empty-nature and mental sensation of this practice is a remarkably beautiful thing, which only a first-rate yogi is able to realize. He knew that only excellent tantric practitioner could have such a high level of realization (enlightenment). He was very proud to be Grand Master`s guru. He said that Grand Master would be turning the great dharma wheel of Kalachakra in the future.

Kalachakra Tantra is in the category of the Highest Yoga Tantra, its practice is very detailed, its ritual very complete, it encompasses each and every practice from Four Preliminaries to the Inner Yoga Tantra up to the most supreme Highest Yoga Tantra. Its attainment can be achieved within one lifetime. Therefore, this tantra is supreme and magnificent.

In one of his teachings, Grand Master mentioned that none of the other masters ever mentioned the three levels of samadhi of Other Kalachakra. It is extremely crucial to differentiate these samadhi (meditative stabilization):

1.Samadhi of Desire And Bliss where one is filled with bliss
2.Samadhi of Clear Light where the body is filled with clear light
3.Samadhi of Four Emptiness where one merges with the universe and enters into empty nature, this is the realm of nirvana

In stabilizing the emptiness-bliss, Inner Fire is ignited through bliss. It melts the white bodhicitta (lightdrop) that cleanses the five chakras to obtain ordinary bliss, supreme bliss, extraordinary bliss and innate bliss鍟his is the bliss or form aspect. When the four kinds of bliss are turned into emptiness, this is the emptiness aspect.

There are four levels of bliss:
1.Bliss - will obtain nirmanakaya
2.Supreme Bliss - will obtain sambhogakaya
3.Extraordinary Bliss - will obtain dharmakaya
4.Innate Bliss - will obtain svabhavakaya

Again, the key point of this practice is to gradually decrease physical substances of qi (vital energy), flesh, bone, white and red bodhicitta and gradually increase our empty nature until one arrives at a perfect balance of form and emptiness where form and emptiness are one. This complete harmony and unity is the fruition.


According to tradition, Buddha Shakyamuni expounded Kalachakra Tantra at the request of King Suchandra of Shambala, and through subsequent kings of Shambala, it was later retransmitted to India and then to Tibet.
Shambala also indicates a pure realm, so when one attains the fruition of Kalachakra Tantra, it is said that one enters or is reborn in Shambala.

At one of his teachings, Grand Master showed us that on US one-dollar bill there is a picture of a pyramid with an eye of Buddha Locana. That is Shambala. Therefore, there is a connection between Shambala - Buddha Locana - Maha Padmakumara - Living Buddha Lian-Sheng. It is very interesting that it is printed on a currency that is widely used all over the world. Inadvertently, people of this world are connecting to (relying on) the Buddhas. Moreover, it is printed on the one-dollar bill rather than five, ten, or hundred-dollar bill because one is the basis of all numbers, without the number one there is no other numbers.

Keeping the precepts

To practice Kalachakra, it is crucial to keep the following Tantric precepts:

--Fourfold Refuge Precepts
--Fourteen Basic Tantric Precepts
--Fifty Stanzas of Guru Devotion
--Generation of Bodhicitta
--Kalachakra Authentic Fourteen Primary Root Infractions
--Kalachakra Authentic Eight Secondary Root Infractions
--Kalachakra Authentic Twenty Five Prohibited Conducts
--Six Types of Precepts for Upholding Buddhas

Description of Kalachakra Deity

The Kalachakra deity has four faces, three necks, three shoulders, twelve upper arms, twenty-four hands holding various dharma implements, and two feet stepping on Mara and his consort.
Kalachakra and consort stand on the horizontal sun, moon and star discs on top of a lotus flower.

It is extremely difficult for a typical practitioner to visualize all the great details in completion. Therefore, once again, Grand Master with his great transcendental power, allows a practitioner to visualize the simple form as follows:

Kalachakra is in a standing position. His body is all blue. He has only one face and it is blue or black. The third eye is vertical on his forehead. He has two arms, the right one is red, holding a vajra scepter and the left one is white, holding a vajra bell. He has two legs: the right leg is straight and the left leg is slightly bent. The red and white represent the red and white bodhicitta. If the practitioner still has difficulty visualizing clearly in this simple form, then he can employ the simplest form of visualization, i.e. visualize only the third eye (in a vertical position).

Rite of Initiation (Empowerment)

In the traditional rite, prior to the bestowal of initiation, holy water, kusa grass, five-color vajra thread are distributed. Holy water is to purify body, speech and mind. Kusa grass is to induce dreams. Vajra thread is for protection. There are also other rituals such as pledging vows, being led blind-folded into Kalachakra altar/mandala, recognizing the color of light, identifying personal deity by casting a flower, etc. However these are not necessary in True Buddha School.

There are seven basic initiations which Grand Master performs at the Kalachakra Initiation Rite:

1. Water initiation
(Five constituents - earth, water, fire, wind and space are transformed into five Buddha Mothers)

2. Crown initiation
(Five aggregates - form, feeling, perception, compositional factor and consciousness are transformed into five Buddha Fathers)

3. Silk ribbon initiation
(Ten energies are purified)

4. Vajra and bell initiation
(Right and left channels are purified)

5. Conduct initiation
(Six faculties - eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and mental sense are transformed into bodhicitta)

6. Name initiation
(Represents the names of the wrathful deities, purifying the six action faculties ?speaking, taking, going, defecating, urinating and emitting regenerative fluid)

7. Permission initiation
(Signifies the permission to practice tantra)
Before the initiation, it is important to maintain total reverence towards root guru, which in this case is the Glorious Kalachakra and to generate bodhicitta (vow to attain fruition for the sake of all sentient beings).

Benefits of Initiation/Empowerment

It is written in the Kalachakra Tantra text that anyone receiving Kalachakra initiation/empowerment obtains the following great benefits:

1. Whoever has strong irreversible faith, even without practice, will attain buddhahood in seven lifetimes

2. Whoever frequently chants mantra, will be protected from all natural disasters of earth, fire, water, diseases, war, etc.

3. Whoever that does not violate the five basic precepts and does not commit the five heinous sins will be reborn as a human being and enter Shambala. Whoever receives initiation will be spared from falling into the three lower realm

Kalachakra initiation is extraordinarily supreme since anyone receiving this initiation will be purified from all past karma including the five heinous sins. i.e. wounding a buddha, killing one`s own mother, killing one`s own father, killing an arhat, and disturbing the harmony of sangha. They will be completely purified as if being reborn.

The blessing of Grand Master

May we all treasure our affinity with the buddhas. May we all Honor the Guru, Treasure the dharma, and Cultivate Diligently.

「一生一咒」800萬遍上師心咒活動,從今年師尊的佛誕日正式啟動,請參加者到TBSN官網以下鏈接登記資料: 每持滿十萬遍上師心咒者,宗委會將把名單呈給師尊加持。每持滿一百萬遍者,將列名護摩法會功德主,資料請師尊主壇護摩法會時下護摩爐。 億萬虎頭金剛心咒,招財鎮煞降伏瘟疫