Sôgmô Sörgel is to leave this evening on a train to stay in Washington D.C. in order to see His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso. His Holiness the Dalai Lama is in Washington D.C. in order to grant blessings and give empowerments concerning the ancient Kālachakra practice. The practice began on July 6th, as His Holiness headed and oversaw Earth Ritual Prayers, gave a short teaching, and celebrated his 76th birthday. Prayers continued on the 7th and the 8th, ending with three days of teachings given by His Holiness at the Verizon Centre in Washington D.C on the 11th. On the 12th, prayers were exchanged again and a ritual dance was taken part in by monks. On the 13th, the beginning of three days of empowerments were begun, to which the Sôgmô shall take part in on the 14th, and shall end on the 15th. On the 16th, the ritual ends with a Long-Life empowerment conducted by His Holiness and a Long-Life ceremony conducted for the long-life and health of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Later in the day, the sand mandala, which was begun at the beginning of the ritual, is open for public viewing and the dismantling of the sand mandala follows immediately after. The sand mandala shall be destroyed in a single gesture and is to be thrown into the Potomac River in D.C., representing the understanding of impermanence.
Kālachakra, meaning “Time-Wheel”, is an ancient Tibetan Buddhist ritual and belief of the importance of the relationship between Time and Wisdom. As the Tibetans maintain an important astrological calendar, which is not unlike that used in the West, Kālachakra maintains an importance as a deity of omniscience, as time is. The practice and ritual of Kālachakra was outlawed by the 5th Dalai Lama, who annexed the Jonang tradition into the Gelug tradition. However, certain monasteries, on the edge of the extent of the Gelug tradition, have remained in the Jonang tradition. His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government-in-Exile restored the lineage of the Jonang during His Holiness’ tenure.
Tradition has it that the Kālachakra ritual was founded when King Suchandra of Shambhala asked the Buddha Shakyamuni (Siddhartha Guatama) how he could remain king, but also live without worldly pleasure and desire. The Buddha responded with the Kālachakra Tantra which has sense been lost but has been maintained by the Kālachakra rituals and beliefs of the Jonang and, ironically, the Gelug traditions. King Manjushri-Yashas, a king of Shambala just as Suchandra, wrote the Sri Kālachakra to maintain the same tantric importance as the Kālachakra Tantra but in one-forth the space. All texts of this practice follow the same layout of five chapters, in order: External Kālachakra, Internal Kālachakra, Empowerment, Generation and Completion stage of enlightenment. More can be read at the International Kalachakra Network.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama is expected to begin the Kālachakra Empowerment at 07:00 GMT-5 on July 14th and shall continue in prayer until 11:30 GMT-5 when prayers shall end. Lunch shall be taken for about an hour and shall conclude just before 13:00 at 12:45 GMT-5. The Kālachakra Empowerment begins again at 13:00 and shall continue until 17:30 GMT-5. More can be learned about the 2011 Washington D.C. Kālachakra ritual at: http://www.kalachakra2011.com.
“May I be inspired to accomplish the meditations
Of the supreme yogas of the profound tantric path
Of Kalachakra, the king of tantric traditions,
And thus purify and dissolve all physical materiality,
Giving rise to the dance of the empty body
In union with the great unchanging bliss
That in turn induces highest enlightenment,
The state of the primordial Buddha Kalachakra.“
— From the Prayer of the Kalachakra Path by the 6th Panchen Lama.