|1. Introduction to Kalachakra Initiation……………………………..||1|
|2. List of Kalachakra Initiations given………………………………||8|
|3. Kalachakra Initiation in Bodh Gaya, January 2003…………….||8|
|4. Suggested text in English…………………………………………..||8|
|5. Practical advice for attending………………………………………||9|
|6. Contact address for information…………………………………..||9|
The Kalachakra practice is the Buddhists means of achieving the Bodhicitta, realisation of Shunyata and becoming the Buddha in one’s own lifetime. This is a step-by-step method in which the guru leads you for the attainment of the goals as if you were a child and your progress depends on how sincere you are and the effort you put into it for the realisation of the goals. As you will come to know of the sacrifices of the guru and the efforts of many others for the preparation and the actual initiation, I hope that those who will attend the initiation will be receiving it with a clear concept and knowledge of what is to be attained and not waste this wonderful opportunity.
True initiation involves dealing honestly and straightforwardly with the guru, spiritual friends and oneself. One must make an effort to expose oneself and one’s self-deceptions. One must surrender and expose the raw and rugged qualities of one’s ego.
To receive a full, complete and pure initiation, one must have the highest motivation to receive the initiation and have a prior knowledge of renunciation, understanding of Bodhicitta and Shunyata and the desire to attain Enlightenment and bring happiness to all sentient beings.
Bodhicitta – a strong desire to attain enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings; the attainment of realisation of emptiness and compassion.
Buddhahood – the ability to unite the passive, all-embracing female principal from which everything proceeds and into which everything recedes with the dynamic male principal for the realisation of Prajna and Shunyata.
Enlightenment – the realisation of Shunyata.
Renunciation – freedom of the mind from any kind of attachments.
Shunyata – the illusory nature of all existence, the emptiness of all determinations, the non-absoluteness, the infinite relationship of all experience, the absence of duality and conceptualisation – nothingness, voidness.
Shakyamuni Buddha taught the means to personal liberation from sufferings which came to be known as Hinayana and the means to full enlightenment – the ability to liberate all others from suffering besides oneself – the Mahayana. To attain full enlightenment, Mahayana offers two paths – Sutrayana or the Causal path and Vajrayana or the Resultant path. Of these, the Vajrayana or Tantrayana is the superior of the two. Tantrayana is further categorised into four classes – Kriya Tantra or the Action Tantra, Charya Tantra or the Performance Tantra, Yoga Tantra and Anuttara Yoga Tantra or the Supreme Yoga Tantra. In the Anuttara Yoga Tantra, there are the male tantras which emphasise on the method aspect referring to the illusory body and the female Tantra which emphasise on wisdom or the emptiness aspect, and the Kalachakra Tantra, which is the highest and the most advanced of all Buddhist meditation systems, belongs to the female Anuttara Yoga Tantra.
Like all Anuttara Tantras, the Kalachakra practice is divided into two stages – a generation stage where the primary concern is with the visualisation of oneself as a deity within the context of a mandala, and a completion stage where the primary concern is with the purification of one’s winds and drops within the central channel – a process that culminates in the attainment of Buddhahood.
The Kalachakra literature has five main subjects covering cosmology, psycho-physiology, initiation, sadhana of the generation stage and the gnosis attained by the completion stage. It is also classified into three topics – External, Internal and Alternative Kalachakras. The External deals with the external cosmos and its cycles through astrology, geography, history and eschatology. The Internal deals with the cycles internal to human body through an analysis of the chakras, channels, winds, drops and mind, which are the basis of tantric psycho-physiology. The third or the Alternative Kalachakra is the generation and completion stage practices that purify the outer and inner Kalachakras transforming one into a Buddha.
A year after the attainment of Enlightenment of Shakyamuni Buddha, King Suchandra (Dawa Zangpo) of the Central Asian land of Shambala (the land held by Shiva) requested him to teach the Kalachakra Tantra. Thus, Buddha manifested himself in the form of the Kalachakra meditational deity at the stupa of Shri Dhyanyakataka in south India and transmitted the full initiation and discourse of this mother Anuttara Yoga Tantra along with other tantras including the Yamantaka and Chakrasambharatantras, while at the same moment he was delivering the Prajnaparamita Sutras on Vultures Peak.
Having learnt the 12,000 verses Kalachakra Multantra, King Suchandra returned to Shambala and wrote a 60,000 verse on the Multantra. Seven generations later, Manjushrikirti established Kalachakra as the main religion of Shambala and wrote a 1,000 verse summary of the Multantra called the Kalachakra Laghutantra. His successor Pundarika wrote a 12,000 verse commentary on the Laghutantra titled Vimalaprabha. During the time of the twelfth propagator, the Kalachakra teachings were brought into India by two Indian pundits, and in the eleventh century, these teachings were taken into Tibet by Tsong-Kha-pa. Since then, the teachings of Kalachakra practice has been transmitted from the master to the disciple in an unbroken chain right upto His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama who received it from his Senior Tutor Ling Rinpoche.
The Kalachakra/Viswamata Deities
Before the actual initiation, it is important to know the form of the Kalachakra deity in union with his consort, Viswamata, which the disciples must be able to visualise and associate their guru to be the deity himself, so there is a brief description as provided by the monk-scholar Buton Rinchen Drupa (1290-1364).
The torso of Kalachakra is blue in colour with three necks and six shoulders. The middle blue neck supports the front black face, which is ferocious and reveals barred fangs as well as the rear yellow face, which is in a gaze of mediation. The left white neck supports the left white face, which is very peaceful while the right red neck supports the red face with a lustful expression. All the four faces have three eyes and their hair is tied in a yogi’s topknot. They wear head-dresses having a crossed vajra, a half moon and Vajrasattva as the crown ornament. The first shoulder on the right and left is blue, the second red and the third white. Each shoulder branches out into two upper arms, which again branch out to two arms resulting into twenty-four hands. Of these, the first sets of four on the right and left are black, the second set red and the third white. In each hand, the thumb is yellow, the index finger white, the middle finger red, the ring finger black and the little finger green while the inner parts, i.e., the skin between the joints, are white, red, and black from the tip to the base respectively in all fingers. His right leg is red and the left white in colour. The first of the four black hands on the right hold a vajra, the second a sword, the third a trident and the fourth a curved knife. In the first of the four red hands are three arrows, the second a vajra hook, the third a damaru and the fourth a hammer. The first of the four white hands holds a wheel, the second a spear, the third a club and the fourth a battle-axe. In the first of the four black hands on the left is a bell with a vajra handle, the second a shield, the third a katvanga and the fourth a skull-cap filled with blood. The first of the four red hands holds a bow, the second a vajra noose, the third a jewel and the fourth a white lotus. In the first of the four white hands is a conch shell, the second a mirror, the third vajra-chains and in the fourth head of the creator with four faces adorned with flowers.
He stands on a seat made of cushions representing celestial bodies of the sun, moon, rahu and kalagni with his right leg outstretched pressing down the red deity of desire who has one face and four arms holding five flower arrows, a bow, a noose and a hook while the left foot presses down a white deity symbolising the destructive forces with one face, three eyes and four arms holding a trident, a damaru, a skull-cap and katvanga. The consorts of these two deities gaze plaintively as they pull up on Kalachakra’s feet. Kalachakra is adorned with vajra-jewels, vajra-earrings, a vajra-necklace, vajra-bracelets, a vajra-belt, vajra-anklets, a vajra-shawl, and a vajra-chain. A tiger skin hangs freely as his lion-cloth.
Viswamata, Kalachakra’s consort, has yellow torso and has four faces: front yellow, right white, left red and rear black with three eyes on each face. She has eight hands of which the four on the right hold a curved knife, a hook, a damaru and a counting mala, and on the four left hands a skull-cap, a noose, a white lotus in full bloom and a jewel. Her crown ornament is a vajrasattva and is adorned with the five mudras. Standing with her legs outstretched, she sexually embraces Kalachakra with
Prior to the initiation, there are a number of preparatory rituals, which are a complex and painstaking process. The first step is the Disciple Ritual when the disciples request their vajra-guru to proceed with the initiation and the guru ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¹Ã…â€œplants’ the ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¹Ã…â€œseed-syllable’ of the tathagatas who head the six tantric families at the disciple’s six chakras.
Then follows the four Rituals of the Site which are: (i) Testing the Site to be suitable for the construction of the mandala, (ii) Requesting the Site for obtaining permission for the initiation from the temporal authorities and divine beings, (iii) Purifying the Site which involves physical cleaning and ritual purification through the creation of a circle of protective deities and placement of the protective demon-pinning knives around the site of the mandala followed by a contemplation of emptiness, and (iv)
Taking the Site involving receiving the permission from the various tathagatas to create the mandala and summoning and dispersal of the interfering forces by the dance of the Site.
This is followed by the six Rituals of Preparation: (i) the worldly and transmundane vase initiations, (ii) the worldly and transmundane secret initiations, (iii) the worldly and transmundane secret wisdom-gnosis initiations with the fourth initiation, (iv) the transmundane fourth initiations, (v) preparation of the earth goddess by offering flowers and perfumes from the site of the mandala, and (iv) preparation of the five substances – vases full of purified water, chalk for outlining the mandala, sand with which the mandala will be prepared, the vajra and bell which will be used by the guru.
In the Preparation of the Bed, the guru and the assistants analyse their dreams to ensure that the conditions for constructing the mandala are propitious. The Preparation of the Chalk lines is done by ritually setting the four major axes and the four base lines of the mandala. In the Preparation of the Deities the actual deities of the Kalachakra mandala are summoned from their abode to descend on the area prepared for the mandala.
Then begins the Construction of the Mandala. This is a very delicate and painstaking process. Firstly, the five threaded gnosis-lines are set on the outlines and demarcation of three concentric mandalas of body, speech and mind are divided and filled up with the variously coloured sand. This is then blessed by the guru and demon-pinning knives and ten ritual vases placed around it and a curtain put up to shield it and a celebrating dance performed.
Now begins the Preparation of the Disciple, consisting of six stages. (i) Firstly, the guru instructs the disciples for motivation for receiving the initiation and on bodhicitta and then leads the disciple through an inner initiation empowering them to visualise themselves as Kalachakra in union with his consort Viswamata. (ii) The disciples then request initiation and the guru promises to reveal the path to enlightenment. (ii) The disciples then take the bodhisattva and tantric vows and the guru blesses the body, speech and mind of the disciples. (iv) Each disciple then casts a tooth prick into a small mandala to determine his or her tathagata
lineage. The guru then gives the disciple consecrated water for three purificatory sips and presents them a red protection thread and two sheaves of Kusha-grass. (v) The disciples then visualise at each of the six chakras the six syllables – oM, ah, huM, ho, ham, ksah. (vi) The guru urges the disciples to renounce samsara and generate enthusiasm for tantric practice and gives instructions on dream examination.
On the next day, the guru comments on the meaning of dreams that the disciples may have had on the earlier night and then recites the requirements for the tantric master and the tantric disciples. The disciples then request for admission into the mandala. The disciples are given a blindfold to put on immediately and a dried flower for offering later.
The disciples again take the bodhisattva and tantric vows with specific pledges directed to each of the tathagatas. The guru then urges the disciples to maintain secrecy of the initiation and gives a tantric name to the disciples and instructs to remove the blindfold and view the interior of the mandala, which contains 722 deities. The outermost or the body mandala has 536 deities. Within this is the speech mandala with 70 deities including a four-faced, twenty-four armed Kalachakra in union with a four-faced, eight-armed Viswamata at the centre.
The Kalachakra Initiation
The Kalachakra Initiation is divided into eleven parts. The first seven parts, namely, water, crown, crown pendant, vajra and bell, vajra conduct, name, and permission empower the disciple to practice the generation stage while the four conventional worldly and transmundane higher initiations empower one to practice the completion stage.
(i) The Water Initiation
The first initiation begins at the eastern door of the mandala where the disciple visualises the guru as Kalachakra/Viswamata coming towards the disciple with his vajra held out. Taking hold of one end of the vajra, the disciple is led clockwise around the mandala to the northern door and sees the Kalachakra’s left white face, which symbolises the purification of the body. In this initiation, the external substance is the water contained in the ten vases around the mandala and the internal substances the disciple’s five ordinary elements corresponding to the disciple’s five upper chakras. The initiatory deities into whom the substances are transformed, are the consorts of the five tathagatas. At the moments of the initiation, here and all following initiations, the disciple feels that the inner substances have been made serviceable. The disciple generates a non-conceptual wisdom, which becomes bliss and culminates in a state of awareness where bliss and wisdom are inseparable. This water initiation purifies the disciple’s five elements – earth, fire, water, air, and space; empowers the disciple to win the attainments of the five consorts and reach the first Bodhisattva State. This initiation is analogous to a infant’s first bath after birth and is conferred by the five elements.
(ii) The Crown Initiation
At the northern door of the mandala, where the disciple is still sitting, the disciple makes an offering of the entire universe by visualising it and requests the crown initiation. The external substance is the five-segmented crown, each segment having a different colour corresponding to each of the five tathagata lineages while the inner substances are the disciple’s five ordinary aggregates. This initiation purifies the five psycho-physical aggregates of the disciple and empowers to win attainments of the five tathagatas and reach the second bodhisattva stage and is analogous to the child’s first haircut and is conferred by the buddhas of the five families.
On completion of these two initiations, the disciple has laid the basis for purifying the element aggregates and the drop at the forehead chakra as well as for achieving the adamantine body of an enlightened being.
(iii) The Crown Pendant Initiation
The guru again holds out the vajra towards the disciple at the northern door and leads clockwise around the mandala to the southern door to confront Kalachakra right red face, which corresponds to the purification of speech. The external substances of this initiation are the parts of the crown pendant and the internal substances are the principal winds that course through the body. This initiation purifies the disciple’s ten winds, which empowers one to win the attainments of the ten shaktis who
confer this initiation to complete the ten perfections and to reach the third bodhisattva stage. This is analogous to the ear piercing and the first
adornment of the child.
(iv) The Vajra and Bell Initiation
The disciple offers a mandala and requests for the vajra and bell initiation still seated at the southern door. The external substances of this initiation are the vajra and bell and the internal substances are the disciple’s right and left channels. This initiation purifies the disciple’s right and left channels, which empower the disciple to concentrate winds from the right and left channels into the central channel to gain indestructible bliss and exalted non-conceptual wisdom of Kalachakra and Viswamata and to reach the fourth bodhisattva stage. This initiation corresponds to the child’s first laughter.
On completion of the third and fourth initiations held at the southern door of the mandala, the disciple has laid the basis for purifying the winds, channels and the drop at the throat chakra as well as achieving the adamantine speech of an adamantine being.
(v) The Vajra Conduct Initiation
Again the guru holds out his vajra and leads the disciple clockwise around the mandala to the eastern door to confront the front black face of Kalachakra, which corresponds to the purification of the mind. The external substance is the vajra thumb-ring, which symbolises engaging objects with a mind that combines bliss and gnosis. The internal objects are the six organs and the mental organ and the objects of these organs. This initiation purifies the disciple’s organs and their objects, which empower the disciple to have proper conduct and to use objects without attachment and their status as the ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¹Ã…â€œsport’ of blissful gnosis. This initiation empowers one to win the attainments of the bodhisattvas and gain the fifth bodhisattva stage. This is analogous to the first enjoyment of the mental and sense objects by a child. This is conferred by the twelve male and female
(vi) The Name Initiation
Still at the eastern door, the disciple requests for the name initiation. The external object is the bracelet symbolising behavioural restraint and the internal objects are the various bodily parts and their functions. This initiation purifies the disciple’s body parts and functions and empowers one to win the attainments of the twelve male and female wrathful deities and destroy evil forces through the power of the four immeasurable, which are love, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity. It also empowers the disciple to reach the sixth bodhisattva stage and is analogous to the naming of the child.
(vii) The Permission
The guru holds out his vajra and leads the disciple to the western door around the mandala in a clockwise direction to confront the Kalachakra’s rear yellow face, which corresponds to the purification of gnosis. The external objects are the symbols of the five tathagatas – a vajra for Akshobhya, a sword for Amoghasiddhi, a jewel for Ratna-sambhava, a lotus for Amitabha and a wheel for Vairocana. The internal substances are the gnosis aggregate and the consciousness element. This initiation purifies the disciple’s bliss aggregate and consciousness element and empowers one to attain the adamantine gnosis inseparable from emptiness, which is the nature of Vajrasattva and Prajnaparamita. It empowers the disciple to purify the drop at the naval and reach the seventh bodhisattva stage. This is analogous to the first lesson of a child.
These seven initiations which have been compared with the various stages of the developments of the child, also known as Entering like a Child, empowers one to gain the first seven bodhisattva grounds.
|(i) The Water Initiation gives rise to the first Bodhisattva ground—– The Very Joyful;|
|(ii) The Crown Initiation gives rise to the second Bodhisattva ground – The Stainless;|
|(iii) The Crown Pendant Initiation gives rise to the third Bodhisattva ground—- The Luminous;|
|(iv) The Vajra and Bell Initiation gives rise to the fourth Bodhisattva ground— The Radiant;|
|(v) The Vajra Conduct Initiation gives rise to the fifth Bodhisattva ground—– Difficult to Conquer;|
|(vi) The Name Initiation gives rise to the sixth Bodhisattva ground—- The Manifesting One; and|
|(vii) The Permission gives rise to the seventh Bodhisattva ground- The Far Gone One.|
Having received these seven initiations, one has to practice them and cultivate the mind (renunciation), the awakening mind (bodhicitta)
and the realistic view (the view of the middle way). This practice is known as the sadhana of the generation stage.
The sadhana of the generation stage is divided into four parts: (i) The Supreme Victorious Mandala, which fills the disciple with delight and transforms his/her elements, aggregate organs, objects, limbs and actions into deities and one attains the adamantine body of Kalachakra. (ii) The Supreme Victorious Activity celebrates the purity of the residence and the residents of the Kalachakra mandala and one realises
the symbolic connections between the various attributes of the deities and the Outer Kalachakra of the cosmos, the Inner Kalachakra of the body and the
Alternative Kalachakra of one transformed by enlightenment. Through this, one attains the adamantine speech of Kalachakra. (iii) The Yoga of the Drops enables one to experience the four joys by experiencing bliss and emptiness simultaneously and one attains the adamantine mind of Kalachakra. (iv) The Subtle Yoga gives one a deeper experience of the four joys as well as the experience of bliss and emptiness simultaneously. Through this, one attains the adamantine gnosis of Kalachakra. The mastering of this sadhana enables one to experience death and is symbolic of the preparation for the conquest over death.
The Completion Stage
Now the disciple is ready to receive the four higher initiations, which are vertically split into two parts: (i) the four higher empowerments and (ii) the four higher higher empowerments. The higher empowerments are given in terms of the conventional truth while higher higher empowerments are given in terms of actual supermundane aspect.
The first of the four higher empowerments is the Empowerment of the Vase, which leads one to the eight Bodhisattva stage called the Immovable. The second is the Secret Empowerment leading to the ninth Bodhisattva ground – The Good Intelligence. The third is the Wisdom Empowerment leading to the tenth Bodhisattva ground – The Cloud of Dharma. The fourth is the Empowerment of the world, which leads one to Buddhahood.
The four higher higher empowerments have a similar nomenclature. The Vase Empowerment, which enables one to experience joy, leads to the attainment of the Emanation Body. The Secret Empowerment enables one to experience supreme joy and leads to the attainment of Enjoyment Body. The Wisdom Empowerment enables one to experience extraordinary joy and leads to the attainment of the Wisdom-truth Body, and the Empowerment of the World culminates in the state of full enlightenment and leads to the attainment of the Nature-truth Body of the Buddha.
Now follows the sadhana of the completion stage, which is again divided into six parts: (i) Yoga of Withdrawal, (ii) Yoga of Stabilisation, (iii) Yoga of Breath Control, (iv) Yoga of Retention, (v) Yoga of Mindfulness, and (vi) Yoga of Samadhi. At this point on vigorous
practice, one achieves the Body of Kalachakra/Viswamata created from energy and consciousness and is the culmination of the Tantric Path and this Kalachakra Initiation.
The Post Initiation Ceremony
After the initiation is completed, the mandala is deconstructed accompanied by rituals and recitation of mantras. First, the gods are praised and the disciple dedicate all the merit that they have accumulated during the receiving of the initiation to the welfare of all sentient beings, the spread of the Buddhist doctrine and the enlightenment of all beings. The deities are asked to show forbearance towards any improper happenings that may have occurred during the initiation and rituals. The disciples pray upon the deities of the mandala that they may achieve spiritual accomplishments. The deities are then asked to return to their abodes.
The guru meditates at the eastern door of the mandala then gathers all the attributes of the deities in the mandala and with his vajra he traces lines from all the doors and the corners of the mandala towards the centre. Then, the sand, which constituted the mandala, is swept towards the centre and put into an ornamental vase, which is decorated and then taken to a river or a lake where the resident nagas are propitiated, and the sand ceremoniously returned to its original source.
The vase is then filled with water and brought back to the site of the mandala and the water sprinkled. The ritual daggers are then removed and washed in milk and the deities associated with the daggers asked to return to their abodes. With the final recitation of mantras, the Kalachakra Initiation Ceremony comes to an end.
- Kalachakra Tantra by Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey
- The Practices of Kalachakra by Glenn H. Mullin
- The Wheel of Time: The Kalachakra in Context by Geshe Lhundup Sopa, Roger Jackson and John Newman
- An Introduction to the Kalachakra Initiation by Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey
- Meditations on Lower Tantras from the Collected Works of the Previous Dalai Lamas: compiled and edited by Glenn H. Mullin
- Buddhism and Lamaism in Tibet by Austin Waddell
- Men of Wisdom, Buddha and Buddhism by Maurice Percheron
- Cutting through Spiritual Materialism by Chogyam Trungpa
- Cho Yang – The Voice of the Tibetan religion and Culture, No. 3
|List of Kalachakra Initiations Given by His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama|
|1||May 1954||Norbulingka, Lhasa, Tibet||100,000|
|2||April 1956||Norbulingka, Lhasa, Tibet||100,000|
|3||March 1970||Dharamshala, India||30,000|
|4||May 1971||Bylakuppe, Karnataka, India||10,000|
|5||December 1974||Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India||100,000|
|6||September 1976||Leh, Ladakh, India||40,000|
|7||July 1981||Madison, Wisconsin, USA||1,500|
|8||April 1983||Bomdila, Arunachal Pradesh, India||5,000|
|9||August 1983||Tabo, Spiti, Himachal Pradesh, India||10,000|
|10||July 1985||Rikon, Switzerland||6,000|
|11||December 1985||Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India||200,000|
|12||July 1988||Zanskar, Jammu & Kashmir, India||10,000|
|13||July 1989||Los Angeles, USA||3,300|
|14||December 1990||Sarnath, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India||130,000|
|15||October 1991||New York, USA||3,000|
|16||August 1992||Kalpa, Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh, India||20,000|
|17||April 1993||Gangtok, Sikkim, India||100,000|
|18||July 1994||Jispa, Keylong, Himachal Pradesh, India||30,000|
|19||December 1994||Barcelona, Spain||3,000|
|20||January 1995||Mundgod, Karnataka, India||50,000|
|21||August 1995||Ulan Bator, Mongolia||30,000|
|22||June 1996||Tabo, Spiti, Himachal Pradesh, India||20,000|
|23||September 1996||Sydney, Australia||3,000|
|24||December 1996||Salugara, West Bengal, India||200,000|
|25||August 1999||Bloomington, Indiana, USA||3,500|
|26||August 2000||Key Monastery, Spiti, Himachal Pradesh, India||15,000|
|27||January 2002||Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India||Postponed|
|28||October 2002||Graz, Austria (Europe)||10,000|
The preliminary teachings will be from January 12 to 15, 2003. His Holiness the Dalai Lama will teach on Kamalashila’s Middle Stages of Meditation, Thogmey Sangpo’s 37 Bodhisattva Practices and Tsongkhapa’s Three Principal Aspects of the Path.
The main Kalachakra Initiation will be from January 16 to 19, 2003.
Suggested text to read in English for the above teaching:
- Kalachakra Tantra Rite of Initiation by Prof. Jeffrey Hopkins (Wisdom Publications)
- Four Essential Buddhist Commentaries by His Holiness the Dalai Lama (Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, Dharamshala)
- The 37 Practices of Bodhisattvas by Geshe Sonam Rinchen (Snow Lion Publications)
When His Holiness the Dalai Lama gives public teachings in India, you would be well advised to bring: a cushion, an FM radio, a cup, and a sunhat and given the security checks that take place, as little else as possible.
Registration: All teachings in India are free and except certain restricted and tantric teachings, prior registration is not necessary. You should check as soon as you reach the place where the teaching is given. It is helpful to bring few extra personal passport size photos in case registration is suddenly required due to security or other reasons.
Seating: In the West, seating for public events is, likely as not, arranged by ticket and seat number and you keep the seat you are thus assigned. In Tibet and India for many public events seating is on the floor or on the ground. However, the convention amongst Tibetans is that you take your seat on the first day of a series of teachings, mark it with a cushion or a piece of cloth, and thereafter, keep to that seat for the duration of the teachings. This is how Tibetans have traditionally avoided hassling each other over who sits where every day. So, following the old adage about when in Rome, do as the Romans do, it seems reasonable to suggest that when among Tibetans do as the Tibetans do.
Translation: On most occasions when His Holiness the Dalai Lama is teaching publicly in India, an effort is made to provide a simultaneous translation into English. This is made available by radio. If you wish to listen to the translation, you are advised to bring an FM radio with headphones so as not to disturb the majority of listeners who are listening in Tibetan. Although the quality of the signal varies according to the circumstances, you can often improve reception by changing the angle and position of the antenna of your radio, which is often incorporated in the headphone lead.
Tea and offerings to the monastic community: It is customary for tea to be served to the gathering, so it is worthwhile carrying your own cup. You will often notice that money is offered to monks and nuns. This is an offering to the spiritual community. Both the tea and offerings are paid for by contributions from patrons and the general public. If you would also like to contribute there is nearly always an office near the teaching location where you can do so. How much you give is entirely at your discretion, but you will be given a receipt.
Protection from the sun and the weather: His Holiness the Dalai Lama makes a point of encouraging those who are sitting in the hot sun to cover their heads and so protect their health. Similarly he asks people to put up umbrellas or take shelter should it rain. It is useful to carry a soft sun hat or piece of cloth and/or a small umbrella.
Shoes: Tibetans tend to keep their shoes on when they are sitting on the ground, or at least keep them on until they sit down. Taking your shoes off and carrying them in your hand through a crowd sitting on the ground means that you carry them right in front of people’s faces, which most people prefer to avoid.
For information, please contact:
|Press CoordinatorDepartment of Information & International RelationsCentral Tibetan AdministrationDharamshala – 176215H.P., INDIATel: +91-1892-222457,222510Fax: +91-1892-224957E-mail: [email protected]||From January 2 to 20, 2003:Camped at: Mahayana Guest HouseBodh Gaya, Bihar, INDIATel: +91-631-2200675, 2200756Fax: +91-631-2200676E-mail: [email protected]|