History of Kalachakra
with Namgyal Monastery

Historically, Kalachakra is closely associated with the Dalai Lamas and with Namgyal Monastery. The Seventh Dalai Lama began providing Kalachakra Initiations to large communities of ordained and lay practitioners in Tibet during the 18th century. Since then, subsequent Dalai Lamas have continued this tradition. The current Dalai Lama, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, has bestowed over thirty Kalachakra Initiations throughout the world. The monks now residing at Namgyal Ithaca have assisted with Kalachakra Initiations since 1989.

As the home monastery of the Dalai Lamas, Namgyal Monastery has come to specialize in training monks in the teachings, practice and ritual ceremony of Kalachakra. Following their basic training in the great texts and treatises of Buddhism and Buddhist philosophy, Namgyal monks receive teachings and training in tantric practice. As within all Geluk schools of Tibetan Buddhism, they are trained in the tantric practices of Yamantaka, Chakrasamvara and Guhyasamaja. In addition, the Namgyal monks receive extensive teachings and training in all aspects of the Kalachakra tantric practices. This includes construction of the Kalachakra sand mandala and performing the rituals and dances of the Kalachakra Ceremony that precede the Kalachakra Initiation. A minimum of fifteen monks is required to perform a full Kalachakra Ritual Ceremony.

History of the Kalachakra Tantra

The word Kalachakra means “Cycle of Time”. The Kalachakra Tantra is a profound Buddhist system of teaching and practice which encompasses three aspects:
1) Outer Kalachakra: the external environment, the universe and its cycles of arising and disintegrating.
2) Inner Kalachakra: the sentient beings living in the universe, and the cycles of death and birth and internal flows of breath and energy;
3) Alternative Kalachakra: The practice of purification undertaken by an individual so that ordinary death, birth, and manifestation on both an individual and universal level, which are usually uncontrollably subject to the passage of time, become purified into the fully Enlightened state of complete Buddhahood.

The Kalachakra Ritual Dance

The Kalachakra Ritual Offerings Dance, Ghar in Tibetan, is performed in the course of the preparation ritual for Kalachakra Initiation.The dancers visualize themselves as the offering goddesses of the four cardinal directions and the center of the Kalachakra Mandala, the divine environment of the Buddha in the form of Kalachakra, which literally means, “Wheel of Time”.