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Home > Advanced Meditation > Kalachakra > Foreword to 1985 Translation of Graduated Kalachakra Sadhanas

Foreword to 1985 Translation of Graduated Kalachakra Sadhanas

Alexander Berzin
Dharamsala, India, July 1985

This material is intended for those who have received the appropriate empowerment (initiation) for the practice of this deity system and who have taken and keep the associated vows.

Effective practice of this material depends on your level of development of a bodhichitta motivation and a correct understanding of voidness (emptiness) .

His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama has said that in order to practice Kalachakra, Cycles of Time, it is not necessary to have trained first with other, simpler deities. Cycles of Time presents a complete system for spiritual development, with graded materials to suit each level of practice. One starts with a single-deity practice and then gradually works up in stages to being able to visualize the entire symbolic world of 722 deities.

Many Westerners wish to practice Cycles of Time, but do not have the time to do the fuller versions and need materials to work up to them. Upon requesting His Holiness to suggest more abbreviated methods for actualizing oneself as a Cycles of Time, His Holiness recommended the four texts presented herein. I have translated these texts into English using the vocabulary system introduced in Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey, An Anthology of Well-Spoken Advice, vol.1, Dharamsala: Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, l984. In this system, all terms are rendered into English and nothing is left in foreign languages. The Sanskrit, Tibetan, and some of the more common English equivalents may be found in that volume. I have also retranslated the four-lengthed versions of the Six-Session Yoga and additional prayers with the same vocabulary system, so as to present consistent materials.

In the longer texts where portions are repeated from shorter versions, these portions have not been written out fully, in accordance with Tibetan custom. The places where they are to be found have been clearly indicated. As success in these practices comes partially from putting in personal effort, it has been left to the individual practitioner to fill these portions into the texts and prepare their own copies for practice. This manner of presenting practice texts also helps to preserve their secrecy from those who look at them merely causally.

All diacritical marks have been omitted from Sanskrit terms and names. For ease of pronunciation by nonspecialists, "ch," "chh," "sh," and ":" have been used instead of "c," "ch," "s" with a slash over it or a dot under it, and "h" with a dot under it.