Kalachakra Initiation: Preparation Ceremony – Details

Setting the Motivation and Conferring the Inner Empowerment


The disciples rinse their mouths, prostrate three times, and offer a mandala.

Setting the Motivation

The Guru-deity explains the proper motivation:

Some people seeking to practice tantra enter the mandala for the sake of this (lifetime), and others for gaining the positive force (to attain a higher rebirth or liberation). Others, however, seek the benefit of everyone in the world. Intelligent ones enter the mandala with many acts of faith, seeking the aim of what goes beyond worldly life. They do not wish for results in this life. Those wishing for things in this life do not achieve the aim of what goes beyond worldly life. But those who seek what goes beyond worldly life gain large results (even) in this world.

Conferring the Inner Empowerment

  1. The disciples are drawn into the mouth of the Guru-deity, melt into Bodhichitta-drops and, through his vajra-organ, enter the lotus-womb of the mother-consort, dissolving into voidness.
  2. Within a state of voidness, from a blue HUM, then a blue vajra, the disciples arise as a simple Kalachakra with one face, two arms, a blue body, right leg red and outstreched, left leg white and bent, and without a consort-partner.
  3. The Guru-deity draws forth with light-rays from the seed-syllable at his heart all the male and female Buddhas. They enter his mouth, melt in his heart with the fire of affection and, in the form of Bodhichitta-drops, enter through his vajra-organ and give empowerment to the disciples in the lotus-womb of the mother.
  4. The disciples are then emitted from the lotus-womb and take their places outside the mandala palace, just outside the eastern porch.

Making Requests and Causing the Disciples to Take Firm Hold of Tantra

Requesting the Vows

The disciples request the Bodhisattva vows, close bonds (dam-tshig, Skt. samaya) and refuge, by repeating three times:

The sole liberator from the ocean of recurring existence, which is frightful with the sea monsters of birth, aging, and death, is you, O great joyous teacher of mine. O great protector, I am seeking the firm way of great enlightenment. Bestow on me the close bonds; bestow on me also Bodhichitta (vows). Bestow on me also the three refuges – Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. O protector, please let me enter the supreme city of great liberation.

Arousing Firm Conviction in Tantra

The Guru-deity explains about tantra in order to arouse firm conviction in it:

Child, come here. I shall thoroughly teach you the rituals of the method of practice of Mahayana Tantra. You are a vessel of the great method. Through the power of tantra, the Buddhas of the three times, those who have vajra body, speech, and mind, thoroughly gain peerless deep awareness (ye-shes). With the peerless yoga of tantra, the supreme ones, such as the Lion of the Shakya Clan, overcame the terrible and powerful masses of demonic forces (Skt. mara). Realizing that the world would follow, he turned the wheel of Dharma and then passed away. Therefore, to attain omniscience, O child, do this with intelligence.

Taking Vows, Protecting, and Being Transformed and Elevated

Taking the Bodhisattva and Tantric Vows

  1. The disciples take the Bodhisattva vows by repeating three times: "I take refuge in the Three Gems, individually admit to all my destructive acts, rejoice in the constructive actions of all beings, and take hold with my mind the enlightenment of a Buddha."
  2. Although in the text, the disciples now request and take the tantric vows, this is usually omitted here since it is done the next day.

Protecting the Disciples with Inseparable Method and Wisdom by Transforming Their Six Elements into the Nature of the Six Female Buddhas

The disciples visualize:

  • at their foreheads that the water element becomes a white syllable U on a white moon disc,
  • at their hearts, the wind element becomes a black I on a blue-black Rahu disc,
  • at the crown of their heads, the space element becomes a blue A on a blue creative energy drop (thig-le),
  • at their navels, the earth element becomes a yellow LI on a yellow Kalagni disc,
  • at their throats, the fire element becomes a red RI on a red sun disc,
  • at their pubic regions, the consciousness element becomes a green A: on a green deep awareness disc.

Transforming and Elevating the Disciples' Body, Speech, and Mind

The disciples visualize:

  • at their hearts, on a black Rahu disc, a black HUM,
  • at their throats, on a red sun disc, a red A:,
  • at their foreheads, on a white moon disc, a white OM.

The Guru-deity then touches these three spots on the disciples with the vajra in his hand, sprinkling drops of water from the conch. Offerings are then made to the disciples.

Tossing the Stick of the Neem Tree and Taking the Sips of Water, and So On

Tossing the Neem Stick

The disciples toss the stick of a neem tree onto a tray with a mandala drawn in it, to determine the actual attainments (dngos-grub, Skt. siddhi) they will most easily achieve. They do this by holding the stick in both hands directly above the tray and letting it fall, while reciting a mantra.

Taking the Sips of Water

The disciples are given a handful of water. They first rinse their mouths with a little of it, spit that out, and then drink the rest in three sips. This purifies the stains of their body, speech, and mind.

Receiving Kusha Grass and a Protection String

  1. The disciples are given two pieces of kusha grass, one long and one short. They need to place the long one under their mattresses tonight, parallel to their bodies, with the head of the grass under their heads. They need to place the short one under their pillows, perpendicular to the long piece of grass, and with the head of the grass on the left side.
  2. The disciples are given a red protection string to tie around their upper forearms, on either the left or right arm. This string is to be worn until either Maitreya Buddha comes, or the disciples develop pure love.

Arranging the Six Buddha-Families and Invoking Vajrasattva

Arranging the Six Buddha-Families

(1) The disciples visualize the seed-syllables of the six Buddhas on their six places:

  • at their foreheads, a white OM,
  • at their throats, a red A:,
  • at their hearts, a black HUM,
  • at their navels, a yellow HO:,
  • at the crown of their heads, a green HAM,
  • at their pubic regions, a blue KSHA:.

(2) The six Buddhas from the mandala emanate replicas of themselves, which enter and dissolve into the six syllables.

Invoking Vajrasattva

The disciples repeat a long mantra for invoking Vajrasattva, to transform and elevate their body, speech, and mind.

Enhancing the Disciples' Happiness by Explaining the Dharma and Instructing Them to Examine Their Dreams

Enhancing the Disciples' Happiness

The Guru-deity enhances the happiness of the disciples by explaining how rare the opportunity is to meet with the tantra teachings. He recites:

There is the suffering of (being conceived in) a womb and staying in a womb. Birth and being a baby are also sufferings. Youth and adulthood are filled with the great problems of being disturbed about losing one's marriage partner, money, and wealth. The old have the sufferings of death and then the fearsome situations of being reborn once more in one of the six wandering states, such as in a Howling Hell. Wandering beings, bewildered by these illusions, are bound with problems, nothing but problems. Few reborn in recurring existence are humans, while even fewer have the mind to practice the Dharma. Even fewer, through the force of the virtue of being attracted to Buddhahood, step up to the first vehicle (Mahayana); while still fewer engage their entire intelligence in the glorious Vajrayana. Even fewer, who wish Buddhahood, enter into (Kalachakra which can bring) the supreme state of bliss.


The Omniscient Ones arise in the world rarely, only sometimes, like an udumvara flower, and then do not appear. The arising of the manner of tantra practice is even rarer than that. Through it, the unequaled welfare of sentient beings can be accomplished without passing away. Even the (consequences of) negative acts done earlier over tens of millions of eons are entirely removed immediately upon seeing such a mandala. Thus, what need to mention about living in the manner of tantra practice, which is endlessly famous. If one repeats the protective mantras, one will achieve the unsurpassed state. Whoever's mind is non-fluctuating about this supreme of practices will eliminate the worse states of wandering rebirth which give rise to all suffering. You great beings have today found the unparalleled finding, for all of you will be upheld in this teaching by the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. And you great beings born into it, are now abiding in it, so that through it, tomorrow you will be born thoroughly into the Great Vehicle (Vajrayana). Through proceeding on that glorious supreme path that gives rise to the Great Vehicle (Buddhahood), you will become Buddhas, self-arisen beings of great fortune, knowing all the world.

Giving Instructions for Examining Dreams

The six-syllable mantra, OM A: HUM HO HAM KSHA:, is given. The disciples need to recite this mantra before going to sleep. The disciples are instructed to sleep on their right sides, with the kusha grass under their mattresses and pillows, as explained before, and with their heads facing the mandala. Even if their heads are not facing the mandala, they need to imagine that they are. They need to observe and remember the dreams they have at early morning, just as the sky begins to become light.