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The Berzin Archives

The Buddhist Archives of Dr. Alexander Berzin

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Taking the Kalachakra Initiation

Originally published as
Berzin, Alexander. Taking the Kalachakra Initiation.
Ithaca, Snow Lion, 1997

Reprint: Introduction to the Kalachakra Initiation.
Ithaca: Snow Lion, 2010

Order this book directly from Snow Lion Publications


Throughout the world there is deeply felt need for both external and internal peace. The Kalachakra initiation is a profound ceremony that gathers and unites people from all nations and backgrounds in a peaceful, spiritual activity that affects both those people and the environment in a significant and constructive manner. For this reason, several lamas, including myself, have been happy to confer the initiation when requested.

In preparing this guidebook, Alexander Berzin has done a great service to everyone interested in the Kalachakra initiation. It will help people who receive the initiation from lamas of any of the four lineages of Tibetan Buddhism to prepare for the ceremony and understand the essential points of each step of the procedure. By explaining clearly the Kalachakra path of spiritual development, as well as the vows and commitments involed, it will help people to make a realistic decision about whether to take the empowerment as a full participant or merely as an observer. Many people who are not yet ready to engage in Kalachakra meditation practice, and many who are not even Buddhists but have sincere wishes for peace, attend the initiation as interested observers. I am especially happy that the book addresses this section of the audience as well, suggesting ways in which they can make the experience more meaningful.

It is my prayer that everyone who plans to attend, or has ever attended a Kalachakra initiation may ultimately reap the full benefit of doing so.

The Dalai Lama
April 8, 1997