What is Kalachakra?
Kalachakra is a Sanskrit word made up of two terms; kala meaning “time” and chakra meaning “wheel”, literally translated into English as “Wheel of Time”.
One of the characteristics of Kalachakra practice is its direct approach to uncovering original perfection and purity. When unrecognised it manifests as samsara, when recognised it manifests as enlightened reality. Kalachakra works with the correspondence between the individual, human society and the natural world.
The Kalachakra vision of a flourishing and unified world is embodied in the sublime realm of Shambhala — a world as diverse as our own, which became totally harmonious through the practice of Kalachakra, where it is prophesied that our own world will become like this within just a few hundred years. Kalachakra encompass all spiritual paths, both Buddhist and non-Buddhist, so that by practising other spiritual paths, we are practising an aspect of Kalachakra, and by practising Kalachakra we are simultaneously practising other paths. Its powerful connection with world peace is emphasized by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who has given countless Kalachakra initiations as a powerful means towards manifesting global harmony
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 every thing 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 indivudual 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.