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Friday, 03 February 2012

The Wheel of Time: Kalachakra, Bodh Gaya

Written by Parul Panthri
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H.H. Dalai Lama once said, ’To conquer oneself is a greater victory than to conquer thousands in a battle’; and this evidently was the sole aim of every soul floating around the ‘UNESCO World Heritage Site’ of the Mahabodhi Temple [Bodh Gaya, Bihar] during the Kalachakra initiation. Kalachakra is a Sanskrit term used in Tantric Buddhism that translates as ‘wheel of time’. The term is mutually used for the deity as well as the teachings and as the name clearly suggests, the ritual and practices revolve around the concept of time and life cycles – cycle of the cosmos, the turning of the planets known as the ‘External Kalachakra’, cycle of our breath or ‘prana’ known as the ‘Internal Kalachakra and the cycle of ‘kala’ or time itself that moves generations by spinning the wheel known as the ‘Alternative Kalachakra’. The aim of the teachings is to re-connect the soul with the supreme consciousness and make it see itself in all its glory outside the web of ‘Maya’ or ‘material illusion’.

The first Kalachakra tantra was taught by the Sakyamuni himself near Amravati in Andhra Pradesh, soon after his enlightenment. This was the 33rd Kalachakra initiation given by H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama and Buddhists had poured in from all over the world to listen and practice. Buddhism is one religion that has managed to break the barriers of culture and region and such Buddhist gatherings are rare occasions where one gets to see homogeneity and diversity together on the same platter. Where else can you find a monk from Spiti, a software engineer from Delhi, a film maker from Peru, an old Tibetan peasant woman and a journalist from Paris on the same platform, seeking the same answers?

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Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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