Kalachakra is a Sanskrit word made up of two terms; Kala meaning “Time” and chakra meaning “Cycle”, literally translated into English as “Cycle of Time”. But what does that actually mean? To answer this question, we will need to look at Kalachakra from multiple dimensions or levels of understanding.
The Kalachakra Tantra is a profound Buddhist system of teaching and practice which encompasses three aspects:
The External Reality
At the most superficial level, we could simply say that Kalachakra is the nature of everything. Or put another way, everything which exists is of the nature of cycles of time. There is nothing which exists outside this constant nexus of changing cycles. If we look outward to the universe with its many galaxies and solar systems, we can see endless cycles of change playing out over the past, present and future. It is in this way, that everything is contained within the Outer Kalachakra.
The Internal Reality
Moving from macro to micro, we can then consider the nature of the beings which inhabit this universe. At the level of an individual person, Kalachakra can be understood to be the very subtle structures of a person’s body and mind. This is known as the Inner Kalachakra. It includes not only the structure, but also the dynamic influence that the mind/body complex has
on the surrounding universe. Therefore, through understanding this Inner Kalachakra we are able to break free from the dominance of our external conditions and transform our experience in order to create a harmonious and peaceful environment.
The Enlightened Reality
If we go even deeper though, we discover what is referred to as the Pure Form Kalachakra (also known as the Alternative or Enlightened Kalachakra). At this level we are still talking about cycles of time, but the meaning of these words becomes completely different. At this ultimate level, we speak of the unchanging or immutable cycles of time, which are the union of immutable bliss and empty form. This union is depicted by the Kalachakra deity in union with his consort. The masculine aspect of Kalachakra represents the mind of immutable bliss, while the female aspect of Vishvamatha represents the sublime empty form. These two are in fact of one essence, representing our own absolute nature.
Our ego self is the combination of our external universe and our internal being. Our true self though is this deepest absolute level, our sacred truth. Through practicing with our subtle body and mind, we are able to purify our coarse perceptions and experiences, thus unveiling the complete mandala of Kalachakra pure forms.
Describing the Kalachakra Mandala
There are many tantras in Buddhist and the practice of Highest Yoga Tantra leads to perfect Buddha hood. Kalachakra Tantra is a Highest Yoga Tantra, and practicing it can be said to epitomize the apex of Buddhist Teachings.
The outer ring with golden flames is called wisdom circle or protective ring. The flames are in 5 colors representing the five Dhyani Buddhas.After the protective flames there are four inner rings representing the four main elements: air, fire, water, and earth.
The Kalachakra mandala is the residence of the Kalachakra deity and the followers of deities surrounding him These followers represents the components of a single individual person in the most purified form - a fully enlightened being.
Although at first glance mandala seems to be a flat surface, but in reality, it is actually three dimensional, with a five storied heavenly mansion, and at the centre of this mandala stand the Kalachakra deity himself, the manifest state of Enlightenment.
The Kalachakra mandala can be viewed as Kalachakra’s residence or pure environment. The five-store palace has four walls with a door in the centre of each and there lies a roof over the whole building. These five stories of the palace represent the five levels of :
- Enlightened body
- Enlightened speech
- Enlightened mind
- Enlightened wisdom
- Enlightened great bliss
Each direction has different color and correspond with the colors of the four faces of Kalachakra; black in front, red to the right, white to his left and yellow at the back. The palace is surrounded by various articles of offerings, and is resting on yellow, white, red and grey-blue discs which represent the four elements of earth, water, fire and wind and the outer ring has 2 element which is Space and Wisdom. There are eight great cemeteries which are represented as wheels. The first lies in between the fire and wind perimeters; the other two wheels depict cemeteries above and below. There is a setting sun and a rising moon on the earth perimeter and this whole system is surrounded by a protective fence of Vajras, and outside it with blazing light.
We can enter mandala through one of the four outer doors at the first level, which represent the body mandala, walking in through the outer walls, which are transparent and in five layers and coloured, from outside to inside, yellow, white, red, black and green.
You walk further in and climb up each steps to the second level, the speech of Mandala, also surrounded by five transparent coloured walls; up another set of steps to the third level, the mind mandala, surrounded by three transparent colored walls.
You can see inside the mind mandala a square platform, the fourth level, the pristine consciousness mandala. On this platform is another platform, the fifth level, the great bliss mandala where the main Kalachakra deity stands on eight petal lotus.
A representation of this mandala is used by a practitioner of the Kalachakra Tantra for the purpose of visualising in meditation. Every aspect of the Mandala has meaning, nothing is superfluous or arbitrary. As part of his or her training, a practitioner develops the power of meditative concentration to be able to visualise not only every details of the mandala, but also of the deities present within it.
Keeping Kalachakra mandala at home, office or in a meditation area of a home brings out the pure positive energy. Meditating or performing yoga sow the positive seeds upon the mind stream of the observer which will ripen beneficially in the future in all spiritual, physical and emotional level. Click here to shop for the best quality Mandala Thangka Painting painted by the different skilled level artisans from The Himalayas, Nepal.