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«Explanation of the Kalachakra initiation. By Alexander Berzin at Maitreya Institute, Maasbommel, Netherlands on 26 - 28th of April 1985 Why ...»

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What does it mean to be an enlightened being, what does it actually mean to be a deity? It's to be like this human being, like this spiritual master that they're able to relate to people, they're able to handle all sorts of different situation and it makes it, as I say, much more human and alive. It's very very important to have a feeling that these practices are alive and that what you're aiming for is not to be some unworldly being that sits up on a throne somewhere, radiating out beams and that's it.

But rather that you actually are able to really have deep and meaningful contact with other people as you can see from the example of the spiritual master. So really the lama is most essential in the practice, because he always keeps you grounded to what you're aiming for. What you're aiming for is both all these high realizations of that lama, but also the way that that lama integrates that with really being a human being in the full sense of all the qualities, realizing the full potentials of a human being.

Keeping the vowed restraints, you follow certain guidelines in your life which will make it possible for you, let's say in terms of the bodhisattva vows, to be of best help to others and in terms of the tantric vow to have the most success in the practice. So again they're very practical guidelines to follow in your behaviour and that's something that I always feel as a great deal of relief that somebody is actually showing the guidelines of what's going to be the proper way to act in different situations. Very often if we don't have guidelines it's very hard to know what's really going to be the best way to relate to other people. But if somebody points out to you that, if you always are criticizing other people and always praising yourself then in fact other people, when they see you criticizing people, there going to likewise criticize you, they're going to feel very uncomfortable with a person who is always criticizing others. Whereas if you remain humble and respectful for others then likewise people are going to have more open to you in general.

–  –  –

Remember we were talking about how many initiations there and there was the Vase, the Secret, the Wisdom and the Fourth Initiation and in the Vase, we had the 5 disciple initiations and those 5 initiations are involved with the 5 Dhyani Buddhas (Dhyani isn't the most common term for it in Sanskrit; somebody pointed out that there is in fact one text in term which they're called, but usually they not called that). But in any case, it doesn't really matter. What are they? You know you have a certain type of omniscient mind of a Buddha that has deep awareness and there are different aspects of that deep

awareness that you can have and these are characterized by the 5 Buddha families (the 5 Dhyani Buddhas):

I. The deep awareness that's like a mirror that can reflect everything.

II. The deep awareness that can be aware of the equality of things in the sense of: I can be aware that everybody in this room is equally a human being; everybody in this room equally has a right to be happy and doesn't want to have problems. You can see the equality of things.

III. The deep awareness to see the individuality of things: I can see that this person has his own individual background and the person next to here of him has a different type of individual background. So there's that type of deep awareness of the individuality of things.

IV. The deep awareness to accomplish things: I'm aware that I need to talk to you or to stand up or sit down or whatever.

V. The deep awareness with which you see the actual nature of things: you can see what things are, what their deepest nature is.

The Tantric Vows have actually 2 different aspects. One is technically called the Tantric Vows and those are for all 5 Buddha families in general. So in common it's dealing with the whole thing.

After that you also have what's called the 19 SAMAYA (Sanskrit word) (Tib. :Dam. Tsig). Perhaps an English word for it is "Close Bonds". Something to bond you closely with each of the 5 individual Buddha families. So you have 19 of these and there will be for example 6 for one family, 4 for another, it's not a symmetrical breakdown of the same number for each family. But these are for the individual families.

The Six Session Practice is basically a way of keeping mindful of these 19.

I'll give you an example. We have 5 aggregate factors in our experience. That is talking about basically, in each moment of our experience that there are 5 bags of things. And in each moment of our experience we're going to have at least one, if not more, things from each of these 5 bags. So one bag is the aggregate factor of forms. So you are going to have some sort of sight, or sound or smell or tactile feeling, in each moment of your experience. Another bag is the bag of feelings; some sort of feeling in each experience happiness, un-happiness or whatever. Another bag is going to be a bag of a certain type of recognition, that you recognize something. You are aware, it doesn't have to be specific what it is, you can just recognize there's some thing in front of me. Then there's the aggregate factor of other effecting variables. In other words any other type of effecting variable like feeling sleepy, feeling excited, feeling attachment, feeling angry; all these other variable factors, one or more of them is going to be present in each moment of your experience. So we've had forms, some sort of feeling, some sort of recognition; we have some other effecting variables which change any affect what you are doing; and then the 5th one is some type of consciousness; eye, ear, mind or whatever type of consciousness. Those are also associated one with each of the Buddha families.

And you have 5 types of disturbing attitudes as well. The 5 basic disturbing attitudes are also going to be linked with these 5 Buddha families. Like infatuated desire; you infatuated with something and you make it, you exaggerate it to more than what it is and you're attached to it. Or you have jealousy or you would have pride or you would have close-minded ignorance; you close, you don't want to deal with things or you would have hostility and anger, this type of thing.

Then you have these close bonds to the 5 Buddha families. So let's mix all together and see how it fits together. What you're doing is, you have a certain disturbing attitude. Let's deal with the Family of Ratnasambhava.

These 5 Buddha families have the names of the 5 Dhyani Buddhas

1. Vairocana.

2. Ratnasambhava.

3. Amitabha.

4. Amogasiddhi.

–  –  –

Let's take the example of Ratnasambhava. Ratnasambhava is purifying the disturbing attitude of pride and miserliness, and working with the aggregate of feelings. What in its perfected form it is going to be the deep awareness to see the equality of things. So what's preventing me from being able to see that everybody Is equal and everybody has an equal right to happiness; it's this whole feeling of pride, this disturbing attitude that I'm better than everybody else, miserliness with which I want to keep everything to myself and not share with other people. So what are the practices that are going to bond me

closely to Ratnasambhava? It's the 4 types of giving:

I will give to other people material things;

• I'll give them the teachings;

• I'll give them freedom from fear;

• I'll give them love.

• So the aggregate that I'm working with here is feelings. In other words if I want to overcome my miserliness and my pride, I have to work wit feeling to see the equality of everybody and to give equally to everybody. This is this whole sort of picture of Ratnasambhava and the close bonds to keep you close to this family of Ratnasambhava.

Like this you can do a similar analysis for each of the 5 Buddha Families and these 19 practices or close bonds. which bond you closely to these families. So you see, there are many deep levels that you could go into about what's going on with these 19 close bonds. I'll give you an idea of what the practices are. We start of with the

–  –  –

In the Kalachakra system then is the sixth Buddha Family of Vajrasattva. The importance of this is, we have the Six Session Practice and the Six Session practice is a way to keep these 19.

The Six Session Practice was first made by the 1st Panchen Lama, who was the Teacher of the 5th Dalai Lama. He was the first one who made up a Six Session Practice. That was very kind of him and we have a lot of different versions of it in which it allows us to be mindful of these close bonds, each day.

First of all there are different levels or versions of links that you can do this Six Session Practice with. There's a really short one with only one verse, 4 lines. There's what's called the short one -abbreviated one – which is a little bit longer. Then 40 Explanation of the Kalachakra Initiation there's the full Six Session Yoga. In the Kalachakra book it has the full Session Yoga, but you can get the shorter ones in other books and then there's specifically one in relation to Kalachakra. So there's 4 different lengths of it that we can do.

Any of them will do, it doesn't matter which one you will do, it depends on you what you want to do. The important thing is to be mindful and actually be a giving person each day and these type of things not to just recite: I'll be a giving person", then lock everything up in your house.

When it talks about a six session practice, it means that you should do it 6 times a day, which if you're going to do it ideally, the way that it would be done is six separate individual times – 3 during the day – 3 during the evening at different times.

Hardly anybody does that, but that would be the full ideal way to do it. The way that most people do it is 3 times together in the morning and 3 times together in the evening. If you are doing it that way for the one verse and the short one, well they're so short, you just repeat the whole thing 3 times. For the long one – and the one in association with Kalachakra – then they have instructions of what to do. You repeat the whole thing once and only certain parts of it the 2nd and 3rd time. That you can follow in the text it says quite clearly how to do that. If you can't find time to do it like that – 3 times in the morning and 3 times in the evening – it's also permitted to do all six together at one time. It really doesn't matter, because you're not doing it the full way anyway of six individual ways. So you can do it 2 times, 3 times a day or 6 times 1 time a day or however you want to do it. Serkong Rinpoche has explained it like that.

Also it's not necessary that each time during the day you do the same one. You might like go into the Kalachakra one, but it's very long. So you might not want to do that 6 times, because it's going to take an awful long time. So you can do that once and you can do a shorter one the other times, it doesn't matter. The point is to be mindful of these 6 close bonds in either a short or a long way. By the way, in Kalachakra you have some extra vows in addition. So you have an additional 7 root vows and an additional 25 secondary vows, which are called the 25 types of tamed and involved behaviour. These are just further things in terms of the actual practice of Kalachakra.

So when you receive the Initiation, then usually this is the commitment for any of the Anuttarayoga Tantra – the highest class of tantras, that you do a Six Session Yoga – Six Session Practice – and this you'll find specifically within the GELUKPA Tradition that it will mention that. You shouldn't feel that in the other traditions they don't have that. They do have it, but they don't have an actual six session practice as a way of keeping it, but they certainly do have these 19 close bonds and you are supposed to keep them.


In Kalachakra we have 11 initiations.

Kalachakra is almost on every point a more elaborate system than you find in any of other tantras. Here we have 11 initiations and what it does, it plants seeds for success in analogy with the stages of the growth of a person through the various stages of life. Kalachakra tends to have a lot more analogies than in the other systems. As I explained, there's the analogy in terms of the internal and external cycles. So here in the initiation as well analogies are made. The analogies are going to be made with how a person grows up: all the different stages in life. Each of the Initiations will take us through a different stage in life.

First we have 7 initiations of entering like a child. I'll give you the names:

1. Water Initiation.

2. Crown Initiation

3. Ear-tassel Initiation. An ear-tassel is a piece of ribbon that's hung over the ears. You see it sometimes during initiations, they will have people actually put on a crown and then they'll put on this ribbon that goes over the ears.

4. Vajra + Bell.

5. Tamed and involved behaviour initiation.

6. Name Initiation.

7. JE. Nang Initiation (subsequent permission initiation).

Those are the seven of entering like a child, and then there is an additional one, called the Vajra Master Initiation, • which is to conclude it. That's not counted as a separate one from the seven.

Then you have the 4 higher and the 4, highest (or literally higher than high) initiations.

• Remember, we spoke about the vase, secret, wisdom and fourth initiations • So we're going to get 2 sets of these: higher vase, secret, wisdom and fourth and highest vase, secret, wisdom and • fourth.

And then after that we have what's called the Great Vajra Master Over-Lord Initiation.

• 41 Explanation of the Kalachakra Initiation How does that make that 11?

First of all, one lama made a very interesting comment, which I always find quite helpful. He said: "Symmetry is stupid".

Among Western people, we tend to have this very ingrained thing within us which' is to grasp for inherent symmetry – it seems to be our inheritance from the Greeks. That if there are 5 of this, there has to be 5 of that if there's four of this, there has to be 4 of that. In the Tibetan systems we don't find these nice neat symmetries, and Kalachakra is an outstanding example of where we are not going to find neat symmetries.

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