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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

Part V: Outline of the Kalachakra Initiation

12 Outline of the Kalachakra Initiation

The following outline is intended as an overview of the three days of the Kalachakra initiation. Those attending the ritual may find it helpful as a guide to the stages of the ceremony. Since most people find the diacritical marks on letters of Sanskrit seed-syllables of little significance during the initiation, they are omitted.

The Preparation Ceremony

A. Setting the Motivation and Conferring Inner Empowerment
  1. We rinse our mouth, prostrate three times and offer a mandala.
  2. Our teacher, Kalachakra, explains the proper motivation for receiving initiation.
  3. Inner Empowerment.
    Rays of light from the heart of our fatherly teacher, Kalachakra, draw us into his mouth. Melting into a drop of bodhichitta and passing through his vajra-organ, we enter the lotus-womb of our mother, Vishvamata. There, we dissolve all ordinary appearances by focusing on voidness. While maintaining awareness of voidness, we arise first as a blue HUM, then a blue vajra, and finally as a simple Kalachakra. We have one face, two arms, a blue body, right leg red and outstretched, left leg white and bent, and are without a partner. Light radiates from the heart of our teacher, Kalachakra, invoking all male and female Buddhas. Entering through his mouth, melting in his heart with the fire of affection, and, in the form of drops of bodhichitta, passing through his vajra-organ into the lotus-womb of our mother, they empower us there. We radiate forth from the lotus-womb and take our place in the black eastern porch of the mandala palace.
B. Requesting Vows and Causing the Disciples To Take Firm Hold of Tantra
  1. We request safe direction, the trainings from the pledged state of aspiring bodhichitta, and bodhisattva vows by repeating a verse three times.
  2. Our teacher, Kalachakra, explains about tantra in order to arouse our admiration for it.
C. Taking Vows, Protecting, and Being Transformed and Elevated
  1. We take safe direction and bodhisattva vows by repeating a verse three times.
  2. We request and take the tantric vows. This is normally omitted and left to the next day.
  3. Protecting the Disciples with Inseparable Method and Wisdom by Transforming Their Six Elements into the Nature of the Six Female Buddhas.
    We visualize that the water element of our body becomes a white syllable U standing upright on a white moon disc at our forehead; the wind element becomes a black I on a black Rahu disc at our heart; the space element becomes a green A on a green creative drop at the crown of our head; the earth element becomes a yellow LI on a yellow Kalagni disc at our navel; the fire element becomes a red RI on a red sun disc at our throat; and the consciousness element becomes a blue AH on a blue deep awareness disc at our pubic area.
  4. Transformation and Elevation of the Disciples' Body, Speech and Mind.

    We visualize at our heart on a black Rahu disc a black HUM for mind, at our throat on a red sun disc a red AH for speech, and at our forehead on a white moon disc a white OM for body. Our teacher, Kalachakra, touches these three spots with the vajra in his hand, sprinkling drops of water from a conch shell. He makes offerings to us.

D. Tossing the Twig of a Neem Tree and Giving Sips of Water and Other Items
  1. To determine the actual attainments we can most readily achieve, we toss the twig of a neem tree onto a tray with a mandala drawn in it. We do this by holding the twig vertically in both hands directly above the tray and letting it fall, while reciting a mantra.
  2. We receive a handful of water. First rinsing our mouth with a little of it, we spit that out and drink the rest in three sips. This purifies the stains of our body, speech and mind.
  3. We receive two pieces of kusha grass, one long and one short. We place them in our lap.
  4. We receive a red protection string, which we tie around the upper part of either our left or right arm. We wear this string until either Maitreya Buddha comes, or we develop pure love.
E. Arranging the Six Buddha-Families and Invoking Vajrasattva
  1. We visualize the seed-syllables of the six male Buddhas at six places on our body: at our forehead a white OM, at our throat a red AH, at our heart a black HUM, at our navel a yellow HOH, at the crown of our head a green HAM and at our pubic region a blue KSHAH. The six Buddhas from the mandala emanate replicas of themselves, which enter and dissolve into the six syllables.
  2. We repeat a long mantra for invoking Vajrasattva to transform and elevate our body, speech and mind.
F. Enhancing the Disciples' Happiness by Explaining the Dharma, and Instructing Them To Examine Their Dreams
  1. Our teacher, Kalachakra, enhances our happiness by explaining how rare the opportunity is to meet with the tantra teachings.
  2. He bestows the six-syllable mantra, OM AH HUM HO HAM KSHAH, which we repeat after him. (In Tibetan "ham kshah" is pronounced "hankya.") He instructs us to recite this mantra before retiring this evening and to place the long reed of kusha grass under our mattress, parallel to our body, with the tips pointing toward our head, and the short reed under our pillow, perpendicular to the long one, and with the tips pointing away from our face as we lie on our right side. He recommends we sleep in this position with our head facing the mandala. Even if our head is not oriented in the proper direction, we imagine and feel that it is. He tells us to observe and remember the dreams we have at the first break of dawn, just as the sky begins to turn light.

The First Day of the Actual Empowerment

I. Entering Blindfolded, Remaining outside the Curtain
  1. We rinse our mouth with water and prostrate three times. Our teacher, Kalachakra, explains not to be proud if we have had an auspicious dream or depressed if we have had an ominous one. All dreams are void of inherent existence. He offers a torma to dispel interference. We offer a mandala.
  2. To generate happiness at the opportunity to achieve the highest actual attainment of enlightenment, we repeat a long mantra twice in Sanskrit and once in Tibetan.
  3. We request safe direction, the trainings from the pledged state of aspiring bodhichitta, and bodhisattva vows by repeating a verse three times.
  4. The main disciples receive a ritual lower garment, upper garment and crown protrusion. We all receive red blindfold ribbons, which we drape across our forehead, and a flower, which we hold in our lap.
  5. We toss the twig from a neem tree and take three sips of water for purification, as on the day before.
  6. We transform into a simple Kalachakra, with one face and two arms, holding vajra and bell, with a blue body, right leg red and outstretched, left leg white and bent, and embracing a blue Vishvamata, with one face and two arms, holding a cleaver and skullcup. We visualize at our heart on a black Rahu disc a black HUM, at our throat on a red sun disc a red AH, and at our forehead on a white moon disc a white OM. Light from these three syllables fills our body, transforming it into clear light.
  7. Our teacher, Kalachakra, asks us our family trait, hinayana or mahayana, and what we admire. We answer that we are fortunate ones, with a mahayana Buddha-nature, and we seek the greatly blissful awareness of enlightenment.
  8. Repeating a plaintive verse declaring our need for safe direction, we take refuge and bodhisattva vows by repeating another verse three times.
  9. We request tantric vows, by repeating a verse, and then take them by repeating another verse three times.
  10. Our teacher, Kalachakra, explains the twenty-five modes of tamed behavior. We repeat three times a verse promising to uphold them.
  11. The Yoga Encompassing Everything.
    Dedicating our heart to attaining enlightenment in order to benefit everyone, we generate conventional bodhichitta, visualizing it in the form of a white moon disc lying flat at our heart. We then generate deepest bodhichitta, a mind focused on voidness. We visualize this as an upright white vajra standing on the moon disc at our heart. We repeat a mantra, affirming that we shall always keep these attitudes in our heart and mind. Our teacher, Kalachakra, emanates a replica of the two from a similar moon disc and vajra at his heart, which dissolves into the moon and vajra at our heart. Holding a flower and vajra at our heart, he recites a mantra, stabilizing these attitudes.
  12. Our teacher, Kalachakra, places his vajra on our head and reminds us to maintain confidentiality.
II. Entering Blindfolded inside the Mandala Palace
A. Entering, Circumambulating and Prostrating
  1. With the curtain now drawn aside, we enter the mandala palace through the black eastern doorway. Blindfolded, we are led by blue Karmavajra, the emanated assistant of our teacher, Kalachakra. Karmavajra holds out his right hand, in which he grasps a vajra by one end. We hold on to its other end with our left hand and circumambulate the ground floor clockwise three times, in the corridor between the wall and raised platform, while repeating a mantra.
  2. In the black eastern entrance hall, we transform into a green Akshobhya and prostrate to the main figure three times while repeating a mantra. A replica of Akshobhya from the mandala dissolves into us.
  3. Remaining in the black eastern entrance hall, we transform into a black Amoghasiddhi and prostrate to him three times while repeating a mantra. A replica of Amoghasiddhi from the mandala dissolves into us.
  4. Circumambulating clockwise to the red southern entrance hall, we transform into a red Ratnasambhava and prostrate to him three times while repeating a mantra. A replica of Ratnasambhava from the mandala dissolves into us.
  5. Circumambulating clockwise to the white northern entrance hall, we transform into a white Amitabha and prostrate to him three times while repeating a mantra. A replica of Amitabha from the mandala dissolves into us.
  6. Circumambulating clockwise to the yellow western doorway, we transform into a yellow Vairochana and prostrate to him three times while repeating a mantra. A replica of Vairochana from the mandala dissolves into us.
  7. Circumambulating clockwise to the black eastern doorway while remaining as a yellow Vairochana, we prostrate to our teacher, Kalachakra, three times while repeating a mantra.
B. Swearing of Oaths
  1. Placing his vajra on our head, our teacher, Kalachakra, explains the benefits of keeping confidentiality.
  2. Keeping his vajra on our head, he explains the physical drawbacks of not keeping it.
  3. Placing his vajra at our heart, he explains the mental drawbacks of not keeping it.
  4. Explaining both the advantages of keeping confidentiality and the disadvantages of breaking it, he gives us a sip of vajra oath-swearing water from a conch shell.
  5. Our teacher, Kalachakra, takes our hand and explains the importance of never disparaging our vajra master.
C. Invoking Deep Awareness Beings to Descend and Reciting Words of Truth
  1. We repeat three times a verse of request. We dissolve all appearances by focusing on voidness. While maintaining awareness of voidness, we arise as a blue HUM and transform into a full Vajravega, fierce and forceful, with a blue body, four faces, twenty-six arms and two legs. At our navel, a yellow LAM transforms into a yellow square earth mandala marked with a wheel, and on it, on a yellow Kalagni disc is a yellow HOH, standing upright. At our heart, a black YAM transforms into a black bow-shaped wind mandala marked with two banners, and on it, on a black Rahu disc is an upright black HUM. At our throat, a red RAM transforms into a triangular red fire mandala marked with a jewel, and on it, on a red sun disc is an upright red AH. At our forehead, a white VAM transforms into a white round water mandala marked with a vase, and on it, on a white moon disc is an upright white OM. Light radiates from these four syllables and from the heart of our teacher, Kalachakra, and brings back four Buddha-figures – white Vajra Body, red Vajra Speech, black Vajra Mind and yellow Vajra Deep Awareness – who dissolve into these four syllables.
  2. Below our feet, a black YAM transforms into a black bow-shaped wind mandala marked with YAM. On it, a red RAM transforms into a red triangular fire mandala marked with RAM. On it, on each of the two soles of our feet is a red JHAI radiating light. Light from the heart of our teacher, Kalachakra, strikes the wind mandala, making it turbulent, which causes the fire mandala to blaze. Light from the two syllables JHAI radiates through the pores of the soles of our feet, stimulating the syllables on the four planet discs, which emit light that fills our entire body. At the same time, light radiates from the heart of our teacher, Kalachakra, and brings back all the Buddhas in the form of Kalachakras and Vajravegas, who fill all of space and rain down upon us, dissolving into our body.
  3. Reciting a mantra, our teacher, Kalachakra, tosses flower petals on our head.
  4. We safeguard and stabilize the deep awareness beings' descent by sealing our six chakras with the seed-syllables of the six Buddha-family traits of method and wisdom. We visualize at our forehead a white OM, at our heart a black HUM, at the crown of our head a green HAM, at our navel a yellow HOH, at our throat a red AH and at our pubic region a blue KSHAH.
  5. For a sign for our future attainment, we remove our blindfold for a moment, look up and observe the color we first see. We put our blindfolds back on.
  6. Karmavajra, the emanated assistant of our teacher, Kalachakra, leads us in circumambulating the mandala clockwise three times.
  7. Our teacher, Kalachakra, in the form of Karmavajra, stands at the eastern doorway of the mandala palace and recites words of truth, requesting that his disciples may be shown the Buddha-family with which they have the strongest connection.
III. Entering as Someone Who Can See the Mandala
  1. Still in the form of a Vajravega, we offer to the mandala the flower we were given earlier. We hold the flower with both hands, directly over a tray which has a mandala drawn on it and is held on top of a vase. We let the flower fall while reciting a mantra. In accordance with the direction in which the flower lands, we learn the Buddha-family trait with which we have the closest affinity and receive the confidential name of that Buddha-family. We are given back the flower, which we place on the top of our head, while repeating a mantra. From the touch of the flower on the top of our head, we experience blissful awareness of voidness.
  2. We remove our blindfold and see the mandala clearly. Our teacher, Kalachakra, describes the mandala and all the figures in it.
  3. With joy at seeing the mandala, we recite a verse indicating our close bond.

The Second Day of the Actual Empowerment

IV. Giving the Empowerments to Those Who Have Entered
  1. Still in the form of Vajravega, we request the seven empowerments of entering like a child by repeating a verse three times.
  2. Our teacher, Kalachakra, makes offerings into a fire to purify anything inauspicious, and then makes other offerings.
A. Water Empowerment
  1. Led by an emanation of our teacher, Kalachakra, we circumambulate clockwise to the white northern entrance hall where we stand facing the white body face of our teacher, Kalachakra.
  2. We offer a mandala requesting the water empowerment to purify our five bodily elements, and repeat three times a mantra of request.
  3. Inner Empowerment.
    Rays of light from the heart of our teacher, Kalachakra, draw us into his mouth. Melting into a drop of bodhichitta and passing through his vajra-organ, we enter the lotus-womb of Vishvamata. There, we dissolve all ordinary appearances by focusing on voidness. While maintaining awareness of voidness, we arise first as a white OM, then a white lotus, and finally as a white Vajra Body, sitting cross-legged, with three faces and six arms, embracing a red Pandaravasin, also with three faces and six arms. Light radiating from the heart of our teacher, Kalachakra, returns with deep awareness beings who merge with us as Vajra Body. Light radiates once more from his heart, invoking all male and female Buddhas. Our teacher, Kalachakra, makes offerings to them and requests that they empower his disciples. Happily agreeing, they enter into union and melt into the form of drops of bodhichitta. Entering through the crown of his head, descending through the center of his body and passing through his vajra-organ into the lotus-womb of Vishvamata, they empower us there. We radiate forth from the lotus-womb and return to the white northern entrance hall, where we take our seat.
  4. Our teacher, Kalachakra, clears away interference and purifies into voidness our five bodily elements and the water of a vase. Within a state of voidness, our five elements and the water of the vase are generated as the five female Buddhas, sitting cross-legged and embracing the five male Buddhas, with all figures having three faces and six arms. Within our body, the five female Buddhas are located at our crown, forehead, throat, heart and navel chakras. On the forehead of each figure is a white OM, on the throat a red AH, at the heart a black HUM and at the navel a yellow HOH.
  5. Light radiates from the heart of our teacher, Kalachakra, and returns with deep awareness beings who merge with the female Buddhas of the vase and our elements. The female Buddhas in the mandala empower the female Buddhas of the vase, and each receives as a crowning ornament the seal of the principal male figure of her Buddha-family. Our teacher, Kalachakra, makes offerings to the female Buddhas of the vase. They melt into drops of bodhichitta and transform back into the water of the vase.
  6. Light radiates once more from the heart of our teacher, Kalachakra, invoking male and female Buddha and bodhisattva empowering figures. He makes offerings to them and requests them to empower his disciples. They agree. Some recite auspicious verses, others toss flowers, fierce ones chase away interference. Our teacher, Kalachakra, recites the auspicious verses, while his attendant, Karmavajra, holds up the vase. The female Buddhas in the mandala confer the actual water empowerment with white vases of bodhichitta, pouring some on the top of our head.
  7. Our teacher, Kalachakra, reciting a verse and a mantra, dabs water from the conch shell on five spots on our body: the top of our head, our right and left shoulder and right and left hip. He then sprinkles some water to wash us and gives us a sip to drink. By being sprinkled and washed, we are purified of sufferings and stains; by drinking, we experience greatly blissful awareness of voidness. Our five bodily elements are now fully empowered as the five female Buddhas.
  8. Light radiates from the five female Buddhas in our body and brings back from the mandala replicas of their counterparts there. They, as well as the other empowering figures, dissolve into the female Buddhas in our body. Our teacher, Kalachakra, makes an offering to us.
  9. Our teacher, Kalachakra, explains that the water empowerment is analogous to washing an infant immediately after its birth. It washes away the stains of the five bodily elements and plants seeds on our mind-stream for realizing the five female Buddhas and the actual attainments that depend on them. It grants the ability to achieve positive potential equivalent to someone with a first bodhisattva level of mind.
B. Crown Empowerment
  1. We offer a mandala requesting the crown empowerment to purify the five aggregate factors of our experience, and repeat three times a mantra of request.
  2. Our teacher, Kalachakra, clears away interference and purifies into voidness our five aggregates and a crown. Within a state of voidness, our five aggregates and the crown are generated as the five male Buddhas, sitting cross-legged and embracing the five female Buddhas, with all figures having three faces and six arms. Within our body, the five male Buddhas are located at our crown, forehead, throat, heart and navel chakras. On the forehead of each figure is a white OM, on the throat a red AH, at the heart a black HUM and at the navel a yellow HOH.
  3. Light radiates from the heart of our teacher, Kalachakra, and returns with deep awareness beings who merge with the male Buddhas of the crown and our aggregates. The male Buddhas in the mandala empower the male Buddhas of the crown, and each receives as a crowning ornament the seal of the principal male figure of his Buddha-family. Our teacher, Kalachakra, makes offerings to the male Buddhas of the crown. They melt into drops of bodhichitta and transform back into the crown.
  4. Light radiates once more from the heart of our teacher, Kalachakra, invoking male and female Buddha and bodhisattva empowering figures. He makes offerings to them and requests them to empower his disciples. They agree. Some recite auspicious verses, others toss flowers, fierce ones chase away interference. Our teacher, Kalachakra, recites the auspicious verses, while his attendant, Karmavajra, holds up the crown. The male Buddhas in the mandala confer the actual crown empowerment by touching the crown to the five spots on our body and then placing it on our head to wear. At its touch, we experience greatly blissful awareness of voidness. Our teacher, Kalachakra, reciting a verse and a mantra, confers a concluding water empowerment by dabbing and sprinkling water from the conch shell and giving us a sip to drink, as before. Our five aggregates are now fully empowered as the five male Buddhas.
  5. Light radiates from the five male Buddhas in our body and brings back from the mandala replicas of their counterparts there. They, as well as the other empowering figures, dissolve into the male Buddhas in our body. Our teacher, Kalachakra, makes an offering to us.
  6. Our teacher, Kalachakra, explains that the crown empowerment is analogous to piling a baby's hair into a bun on top of its head. It washes away the stains of the five aggregates and plants seeds on our mind-stream for realizing the five male Buddhas and the actual attainments that depend on them. It grants the ability to achieve positive potential equivalent to someone with a second bodhisattva level of mind. He further explains that the two empowerments received facing the white body face purify the stains of the body drop and plant seeds for attaining vajra body.
C. Ear Tassel Empowerment
  1. Led by an emanation of our teacher, Kalachakra, we circumambulate clockwise to the red southern entrance hall where we sit, facing the red speech face of our teacher, Kalachakra.
  2. We offer a mandala requesting the ear tassel empowerment to purify our ten energy-winds, and repeat three times a mantra of request.
  3. Inner Empowerment.
    Rays of light from the heart of our teacher, Kalachakra, draw us into his mouth. Melting into a drop of bodhichitta and passing through his vajra-organ, we enter the lotus-womb of Vishvamata. There, we dissolve all ordinary appearances by focusing on voidness. While maintaining awareness of voidness, we arise first as a red AH, then a red jewel, and finally as a red Vajra Speech, sitting cross-legged, with three faces and six arms, embracing a white Mamaki, also with three faces and six arms. Light radiates from the heart of our teacher, Kalachakra, and returns with deep awareness beings who merge with us as Vajra Speech. Light radiates once more from his heart, invoking all male and female Buddhas. Our teacher, Kalachakra, makes offerings to them and requests they empower his disciples. Happily agreeing, they enter into union and melt into the form of drops of bodhichitta. Entering through the crown of his head, descending through the center of his body and passing through his vajra-organ into the lotus-womb of Vishvamata, they empower us there. We radiate forth from the lotus-womb and return to the red southern entrance hall, where we take our seat.
  4. Our teacher, Kalachakra, clears away interference and purifies into voidness our ten energy-winds and an ear tassel. Within a state of voidness, our ten energy-winds and the ear tassel are generated as the ten powerful ladies (shaktis) who are standing, with each having four faces and eight arms. Within our body, the ten are located on the energy-channels that radiate from our heart chakra. On the forehead of each is a white OM, on the throat a red AH, at the heart a black HUM and at the navel a yellow HOH.
  5. Light radiates from the heart of our teacher, Kalachakra, and returns with deep awareness beings who merge with the powerful ladies of the ear tassel and our energy-winds. The powerful ladies in the mandala empower the powerful ladies of the ear tassel, and each receives as a crowning ornament the seal of the principal male figure of her Buddha-family. Our teacher, Kalachakra, makes offerings to the powerful ladies of the ear tassel. They melt into drops of bodhichitta and transform back into the ear tassel.
  6. Light radiates once more from the heart of our teacher, Kalachakra, invoking male and female Buddha and bodhisattva empowering figures. He makes offerings to them and requests them to empower his disciples. They agree. Some recite auspicious verses, others toss flowers, fierce ones chase away interference. Our teacher, Kalachakra, recites the auspicious verses, while his attendant, Karmavajra, holds up the ear tassel. The powerful ladies in the mandala confer the actual ear tassel empowerment by touching the ear tassel to the five spots on our body and then draping a pair over our ears. At its touch, we experience greatly blissful awareness of voidness. Our teacher, Kalachakra, reciting a verse and a mantra, confers a concluding water empowerment by dabbing and sprinkling water from the conch shell and giving us a sip to drink, as before. Our ten energy-winds are now fully empowered as the ten powerful ladies.
  7. Light radiates from the ten powerful ladies in our body and brings back from the mandala replicas of their counterparts there. They, as well as the other empowering figures, dissolve into the powerful ladies in our body. Our teacher, Kalachakra, makes an offering to us.
  8. Our teacher, Kalachakra, explains that the ear tassel empowerment is analogous to piercing a baby's ears and giving it earrings to wear. It washes away the stains of the ten energy-winds and plants seeds on our mind-stream for realizing the ten powerful ladies and the actual attainments that depend on them. It grants the ability to achieve positive potential equivalent to someone with a third bodhisattva level of mind.
D. Vajra and Bell Empowerment
  1. We offer a mandala requesting the vajra and bell empowerment to purify our right and left energy-channels, and repeat three times a mantra of request.
  2. Our teacher, Kalachakra, clears away interference and purifies into voidness our right and left energy-channels and a vajra and bell. Within a state of voidness, our right channel and the vajra are generated as a blue Kalachakra, standing and embracing a yellow Vishvamata, while our left channel and the bell as a yellow Vishvamata, standing and embracing a blue Kalachakra. Each of them has one face and two arms. Within our body, Kalachakra and Vishvamata are located at our right and left channels at our heart chakra. On the forehead of each figure is a white OM, on the throat a red AH, at the heart a black HUM and at the navel a yellow HOH.
  3. Light radiates from the heart of our teacher, Kalachakra, and returns with deep awareness beings who merge with the Kalachakra and Vishvamata of the vajra and bell and our right and left channels. The Kalachakra and Vishvamata in the mandala empower the Kalachakra and Vishvamata of the vajra and bell, and each receives as a crowning ornament the seal of the principal male figure of his or her Buddha-family. Our teacher, Kalachakra, makes offerings to the Kalachakra and Vishvamata of the vajra and bell. They melt into drops of bodhichitta and transform back into the vajra and bell.
  4. Light radiates once more from the heart of our teacher, Kalachakra, invoking male and female Buddha and bodhisattva empowering figures. He makes offerings to them and requests them to empower his disciples. They agree. Some recite auspicious verses, others toss flowers, fierce ones chase away interference. Our teacher, Kalachakra, recites the auspicious verses, while his attendant, Karmavajra, holds up the vajra and bell. The Vishvamata and Kalachakra couple in the mandala confer the actual vajra and bell empowerment by touching the vajra and bell to the five spots on our body and then giving them to us to hold in our crossed hands. At their touch, we experience greatly blissful awareness of voidness. Our teacher, Kalachakra, reciting a verse and a mantra, confers a concluding water empowerment by dabbing and sprinkling water from the conch shell and giving us a sip to drink, as before. Our right and left energy-channels are now fully empowered as Kalachakra and Vishvamata.
  5. Light radiates from the Kalachakra and Vishvamata in our body and brings back from the mandala replicas of their counterparts there. They, as well as the other empowering figures, dissolve into the Kalachakra and Vishvamata in our body. Our teacher, Kalachakra, makes an offering to us.
  6. Our teacher, Kalachakra, explains that the vajra and bell empowerment is analogous to making a baby smile and teaching it to speak its first words. It washes away the stains of the right and left channels and confers the ability to stop our energy-winds from coursing through our right and left channels so that they enter, abide and dissolve in the central channel. It plants seeds for our mind to become unchanging blissful awareness, our speech to be endowed with all positive aspects and for us to gain the actual attainments that depend on Kalachakra and Vishvamata. It grants the ability to achieve positive potential equivalent to someone with a fourth bodhisattva level of mind. He further explains that the two empowerments received facing the red speech face purify the stains of the speech drop and plant seeds for attaining vajra speech.
E. Tamed Behavior Empowerment
  1. Led by an emanation of our teacher, Kalachakra, we circumambulate clockwise to the black eastern entrance hall where we sit, facing the black mind face of our teacher, Kalachakra.
  2. We offer a mandala requesting the tamed behavior empowerment to purify our six cognitive sensors and their objects, and repeat three times a mantra of request.
  3. Inner Empowerment.
    Rays of light from the heart of our teacher, Kalachakra, draw us into his mouth. Melting into a drop of bodhichitta and passing through his vajra-organ, we enter the lotus-womb of Vishvamata. There, we dissolve all ordinary appearances by focusing on voidness. While maintaining awareness of voidness, we arise first as a black HUM, then a black vajra, and finally as a black Vajra Mind, sitting cross-legged, with three faces and six arms, embracing a yellow Lochana, also with three faces and six arms. Light radiates from the heart of our teacher, Kalachakra, and returns with deep awareness beings who merge with us as Vajra Mind. Light radiates once more from his heart, invoking all male and female Buddhas. Our teacher, Kalachakra, makes offerings to them and requests they empower his disciples. Happily agreeing, they enter into union and melt into the form of drops of bodhichitta. Entering through the crown of his head, descending through the center of his body and passing through his vajra-organ into the lotus-womb of Vishvamata, they empower us there. We radiate forth from the lotus-womb and return to the black eastern entrance hall, where we take our seat.
  4. Our teacher, Kalachakra, clears away interference and purifies into voidness our six cognitive sensors and their six objects as well as a thumb ring. Within a state of voidness, our six cognitive sensors and their six objects as well as the thumb ring are generated as the six male and six female bodhisattvas, sitting cross-legged and embracing six female and six male bodhisattvas respectively, with all figures having three faces and six arms. Within our body, the twelve are located, two each, at our ears, nose, eyes, tongue, the joints of our arms and legs, and our heart. On the forehead of each figure is a white OM, on the throat a red AH, at the heart a black HUM and at the navel a yellow HOH.
  5. Light radiates from the heart of our teacher, Kalachakra, and returns with deep awareness beings who merge with the male and female bodhisattvas of the thumb ring and our cognitive sensors and their objects. The male and female bodhisattvas in the mandala empower the male and female bodhisattvas of the thumb ring, and each receives as a crowning ornament the seal of the principal male figure of his or her Buddha-family. Our teacher, Kalachakra, makes offerings to the male and female bodhisattvas of the thumb ring. They melt into drops of bodhichitta and transform back into the thumb ring.
  6. Light radiates once more from the heart of our teacher, Kalachakra, invoking male and female Buddha and bodhisattva empowering figures. He makes offerings to them and requests them to empower his disciples. They agree. Some recite auspicious verses, others toss flowers, fierce ones chase away interference. Our teacher, Kalachakra, recites the auspicious verses, while his attendant, Karmavajra, holds up the thumb ring. The male and female bodhisattvas in the mandala confer the actual tamed behavior empowerment by touching the thumb ring to the five spots on our body and then putting it on our right thumb. At its touch, we experience greatly blissful awareness of voidness. Our teacher, Kalachakra, reciting a verse and a mantra, confers a concluding water empowerment by dabbing and sprinkling water from the conch shell and giving us a sip to drink, as before. Our six cognitive sensors and their six objects are now fully empowered as the six male and six female bodhisattvas.
  7. Light radiates from the six male and six female bodhisattvas in our body and brings back from the mandala replicas of their counterparts there. They, as well as the other empowering figures, dissolve into the male and female bodhisattvas in our body. Our teacher, Kalachakra, makes an offering to us.
  8. Our teacher, Kalachakra, explains that the tamed behavior empowerment is analogous to giving a baby its first pleasurable sensory objects to enjoy. It washes away the stains of the six cognitive sensors and their six objects, and plants seeds on our mind-stream for realizing the six male and six female bodhisattvas and the actual attainments that depend on them. It grants the ability to achieve positive potential equivalent to someone with a fifth bodhisattva level of mind.
F. Name Empowerment
  1. We offer a mandala requesting the name empowerment to purify the six functional parts of our body and their six functional activities, and repeat three times a mantra of request.
  2. Our teacher, Kalachakra, clears away interference and purifies into voidness our six functional bodily parts and their six activities as well as a bracelet. Within a state of voidness, our six functional parts and their six activities as well as the bracelet are generated as the six male and six female fierce figures, standing and embracing six female and six male fierce figures respectively, with all figures having three faces and six arms. Within our body, the twelve are located, two each, at the end of our urinary tract, our mouth, hands, feet, anus, and the bottom end of our central energy-channel. On the forehead of each figure is a white OM, on the throat a red AH, at the heart a black HUM and at the navel a yellow HOH.
  3. Light radiates from the heart of our teacher, Kalachakra, and returns with deep awareness beings who merge with the male and female fierce figures of the bracelet and our functional parts and their activities. The male and female fierce figures in the mandala empower the male and female fierce figures of the bracelet, and each receives as a crowning ornament the seal of the principal male figure of his or her Buddha-family. Our teacher, Kalachakra, makes offerings to the male and female fierce figures of the bracelet. They melt into drops of bodhichitta and transform back into the bracelet.
  4. Light radiates once more from the heart of our teacher, Kalachakra, invoking male and female Buddha and bodhisattva empowering figures. He makes offerings to them and requests them to empower his disciples. They agree. Some recite auspicious verses, others toss flowers, fierce ones chase away interference. Our teacher, Kalachakra, recites the auspicious verses, while his attendant, Karmavajra, holds up the bracelet. The male and female fierce figures in the mandala confer the actual name empowerment by touching the bracelet to the five spots on our body and then putting one on each of our wrists. At their touch, we experience greatly blissful awareness of voidness. Our teacher, Kalachakra, reciting a verse and a mantra, confers a concluding water empowerment by dabbing and sprinkling water from the conch shell and giving us a sip to drink, as before.
  5. Our teacher, Kalachakra, stands on his throne, dons a yellow monks' shawl and, in the manner of Shakyamuni Buddha, gathers the corners of the shawl in his left hand at his heart, holds his right hand in the fearless gesture and prophesies the form in which we shall become Buddhas. He makes the prophesy by reciting the confidential name conferred on us earlier when we offered a flower to the mandala, determining the Buddha-family trait with which we have the closest affinity. By means of the name empowerment conferred with this prophesy, the six functional parts of our body and their six functional activities are now fully empowered as the six male and six female fierce figures.
  6. Light radiates from the six male and six female fierce figures in our body and brings back from the mandala replicas of their counterparts there. They, as well as the other empowering figures, dissolve into the male and female fierce figures in our body. Our teacher, Kalachakra, makes an offering to us.
  7. Our teacher, Kalachakra, explains that the name empowerment is analogous to giving a child its name with a formal ceremony around its first birthday. It washes away the stains of the six functional parts of our body and their six activities. It confers the ability to overcome the four demonic forces (mara) with the four immeasurable attitudes and plants seeds on our mind-stream for realizing the six male and six female fierce figures and the actual attainments that depend on them. It grants the ability to achieve positive potential equivalent to someone with a sixth bodhisattva level of mind. He further explains that the two empowerments received facing the black mind face purify the stains of the mind drop and plant seeds for attaining vajra mind.
G. Subsequent Permission Empowerment and Appended Procedures
  1. Led by an emanation of our teacher, Kalachakra, we circumambulate clockwise to the yellow western entrance hall where we sit, facing the yellow deep awareness face of our teacher, Kalachakra.
  2. We offer a mandala requesting the subsequent permission empowerment to purify our deep awareness aggregate and consciousness element, and repeat three times a mantra of request. This aggregate and element refer to our primordial clear light mind.
  3. Inner Empowerment.
    Rays of light from the heart of our teacher, Kalachakra, draw us into his mouth. Melting into a drop of bodhichitta and passing through his vajra-organ, we enter the lotus-womb of Vishvamata. There, we dissolve all ordinary appearances by focusing on voidness. While maintaining awareness of voidness, we arise first as a yellow HO, then a yellow wheel and finally as a yellow Vajra Deep Awareness, sitting cross-legged, with three faces and six arms, embracing a black Tara, also with three faces and six arms. Light radiates from the heart of our teacher, Kalachakra, and returns with deep awareness beings who merge with us as Vajra Deep Awareness. Light radiates once more from his heart, invoking all male and female Buddhas. Our teacher, Kalachakra, makes offerings to them and requests they empower his disciples. Happily agreeing, they enter into union and melt into the form of drops of bodhichitta. Entering through the crown of his head, descending through the center of his body and passing through his vajra-organ into the lotus-womb of Vishvamata, they empower us there. We radiate forth from the lotus-womb and return to the yellow western entrance hall, where we take our seat.
  4. Our teacher, Kalachakra, clears away interference and purifies into voidness our deep awareness aggregate and consciousness element and a set of insignia of the five Buddha-family traits. Within a state of voidness, our deep awareness aggregate and consciousness element and the insignia are generated as a blue Vajrasattva and a blue Prajnaparamita, sitting cross-legged and embracing a green Vajradhatu Ishvari and a green Akshobhya, respectively, with all figures having three faces and six arms. Within our body, Vajrasattva and Prajnaparamita are located at our heart. On the forehead of each figure is a white OM, on the throat a red AH, at the heart a black HUM and at the navel a yellow HOH.
  5. Light radiates from the heart of our teacher, Kalachakra, and returns with deep awareness beings who merge with the Vajrasattva and Prajnaparamita of the insignia and our deep awareness aggregate and consciousness element. The Vajrasattva and Prajnaparamita in the mandala empower the Vajrasattva and Prajnaparamita of the insignia, and each receives as a crowning ornament the seal of the principal male figure of his or her Buddha-family. Our teacher, Kalachakra, makes offerings to the Vajrasattva and Prajnaparamita of the insignia. They melt into drops of bodhichitta and transform back into the insignia.
  6. Light radiates once more from the heart of our teacher, Kalachakra, invoking male and female Buddha and bodhisattva empowering figures. He makes offerings to them and requests them to empower his disciples. They agree. Some recite auspicious verses, others toss flowers, fierce ones chase away interference. Our teacher, Kalachakra, recites the auspicious verses, while his attendant, Karmavajra, holds up the insignia. The Vajrasattva and Prajnaparamita in the mandala confer the actual subsequent permission empowerment by touching the insignia to the five spots on our body and then giving the insignia for us to hold. At their touch, we experience greatly blissful awareness of voidness. Our teacher, Kalachakra, reciting a verse and a mantra, confers a concluding water empowerment by dabbing and sprinkling water from the conch shell and giving us a sip to drink, as before. Our aggregate of deep awareness and our consciousness element are now fully empowered as Vajrasattva and Prajnaparamita.
  7. Light radiates from the Vajrasattva and Prajnaparamita in our body and brings back from the mandala replicas of their counterparts there. They, as well as the other empowering figures, dissolve into the Vajrasattva and Prajnaparamita in our body. Our teacher, Kalachakra, makes an offering to us.
  8. A syllable BHRUM transforms into a wheel, which our teacher, Kalachakra, places on the seat before us. A syllable A transforms into a Kalachakra text, which he lays in our lap. A syllable AH transforms into a conch shell, which he gives us to hold in our right hand. A syllable AH transforms into a bell, which we he gives us to hold and ring in our left hand. We repeat after him several verses reaffirming our commitment to wisdom and method, ringing the bell after each verse. We prostrate and agree to do what he says.
  9. The Four Appended Procedures.

    1. Giving the Mantras.
      Our teacher, Kalachakra, informs the Buddhas that he shall bestow their mantras, and we repeat a request for them. Instantaneously we arise in the form of a full blue Kalachakra, with four faces, twenty-four arms and two legs, standing and embracing a yellow Vishvamata, with four faces, eight arms and two legs. We repeat each mantra three times. With the first repetition, a replica of the mantra at the heart of our teacher, Kalachakra, emerges from it, goes out his mouth, enters our mouth and settles around a black syllable HUM at our heart. With the second repetition, the mantra becomes undifferentiable from the mantra at our heart, and with the third, it is stabilized. The mantras are (1) the heart mantra: OM AH HUM HOH HAMKSHAH MALAWARAYA HUM PHAT (in Tibetan "hamkshah" is pronounced "hankya" and "phat" is pronounced "pay"), (2) the near heart mantra: OM HRANG HRING HRIRING HRUNG HRILING HRAH SVAHA (in Tibetan "svaha" is pronounced "soha") and (3) the root mantra: OM SHRI KALACHAKRA HUM HUM PHAT.
    2. Giving Eye Medicine.
      We visualize on each of the two main eyes on our front, blue face, a black PRAM. Our teacher, Kalachakra, smears a tiny dab of butter on our eyes with a golden eye-spoon. We imagine that, like having a cataract removed, the dimness of our lack of awareness of voidness is removed and we gain eyes of deep awareness for achieving a conceptual understanding of voidness.
    3. Giving a Mirror.
      A syllable AH transforms into a mirror. Our teacher, Kalachakra, shows this to us, reciting verses that everything, including the Kalachakra at our hearts – referring to our clear light mind – is like an illusion, like a reflection in a mirror. This enables us to gain subsequent realization of everything to be like an illusion.
    4. Giving a Set of Bow and Arrows.
      A syllable HOH transforms into a set of bow and arrows, to pierce through all interference from any of the four directions or above or below, in order for us to gain nonconceptual straightforward perception of voidness during total absorption.
  10. Vajra Master Empowerment.

    1. Our teacher, Kalachakra, clears away interference and purifies into voidness ourselves and a vajra and bell. Within a state of voidness, ourselves and the vajra are generated as a blue Vajrasattva and the bell as a blue Prajnaparamita, each sitting cross-legged without any partner, and having three faces and six arms. On the forehead of each is a white OM, on the throat a red AH, at the heart a black HUM and at the navel a yellow HOH.
    2. Light radiates from the heart of our teacher, Kalachakra, and returns with deep awareness beings who merge with the two Vajrasattvas of ourselves and the vajra, and with the Prajnaparamita of the bell. The five female Buddhas in the mandala empower the Vajrasattva of the vajra and the Prajnaparamita of the bell, and each receives as a crowning ornament the seal of the principal male figure of his or her Buddha-family. Our teacher, Kalachakra, makes offerings to the Vajrasattva and Prajnaparamita of the vajra and bell. They melt into drops of bodhichitta and transform back into the vajra and bell.
    3. Our teacher, Kalachakra, gives us the vajra to hold in our right hand, representing the nondiscordant deep awareness of the mind of the Buddhas, inseparable from voidness as its object. This confers the close bond for our mind. He gives us the bell to hold in our left hand, representing the proclamation of voidness. We ring the bell and recite a verse about voidness. This confers the close bond for our speech. Then we think how our body, as a Vajrasattva, is the appearance to which blissful deep awareness of voidness naturally gives rise. This is the great seal (mahamudra) of a Buddha-figure's body and is the close bond for our body. We cross our arms, holding vajra and bell, while thinking this and experiencing greatly blissful awareness of voidness.
    4. Our teacher, Kalachakra, reciting a verse and a mantra, confers a concluding water empowerment by dabbing and sprinkling water from the conch shell and giving us a sip to drink, as before. We receive as a crowning ornament the seal of Akshobhya, the principal male figure of our Buddha-family. Our teacher, Kalachakra, makes offerings to us.
  11. Showing the Pure Measures of the Dharma.

    1. Showing the Interpretable and Definitive Meanings of the Pure Measures of the Close Bonds.
      Our teacher, Kalachakra, explains the interpretable and definitive levels of the closely bonding practices, specific to Kalachakra, for the six Buddha-family traits.
    2. Our teacher, Kalachakra, explains that the subsequent permission empowerment, received facing his yellow deep awareness face, is analogous to teaching a child to read. It purifies the stains of the deep awareness drop and, together with its appended sections, grants the ability to achieve positive potential equivalent to someone with a seventh bodhisattva level of mind.
    3. He further explains that all seven empowerments given from a powdered sand mandala are called water empowerments since a cleansing action with water to purify negative potentials follows each. The seven all together empower us to meditate on the generation stage path and to achieve the final actual attainments of Akanishta, the State Beneath Nothing Else. We become laypersons (upasaka) of the tantra. If we keep all the vows purely for seven lifetimes, we at minimum become a lord of the seventh bodhisattva level of mind. We cross our arms and repeat a mantra, feeling the pride of all this being so.
    4. Understanding the Time of Receiving the Empowerment.
      Our teacher, Kalachakra, explains the time of the empowerment, with all the astrological references.
    5. Final Advice to Stop Any Root Downfalls.
      Our teacher, Kalachakra, explains that if we commit a downfall and lose our tantric vows, and if we have only received these seven empowerments, we repeat 36,000 times the mantra of the Buddha-figure on which our flower fell. To restore our vows, we re-enter the mandala – either during a Kalachakra initiation or, if we have completed the Kalachakra retreat of hundreds of thousands of mantras, with self-initiation – and take once more the seven empowerments of entering like a child. Our teacher, Kalachakra, explains the fourteen root tantric vows according to Kalachakra. We repeat three times that we shall practice exactly as he says, recite a verse of rejoicing and offer a mandala in thanksgiving.