Following the example of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in his role as
leader of all the Tibetan people, the International Kalachakra Network
is non-sectarian, and with equal respect supports Kalachakra practice
within all major traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, Gelug, Jonang, Kagyu,
Nyingma, and Sakya.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama is also the vajra master for the great majority
of Kalachakra initiates in the International Kalachakra Network. Out
of our respect for him as leader of the Tibetan people, as well as our
vajra vows to him as our vajra master, the International Kalachakra
Network is committed to following his advice, and cannot support anything
that is knowingly harmful to him. It is our sincere wish to assist in
his lifelong mission of world peace through Kalachakra.
MEMORANDUM OF INTENT
With the deepest respect and admiration for all authentic Kalachakra lineage masters of the past and present to support world peace analogous to the Kalachakra tradition, which symbolises a powerful force for peace in our world and an antidote to war, the undersigned endorse the following purposes of the International Kalachakra Network, to sustain the Kalachakra tradition:
- To provide world-wide, trans-sectarian support for Kalachakra practice and study in authentic lineages, by acting as a non-hierarchical communication platform between vajra brothers and sisters, with the deepest respect for the advice of fully qualified teachers such as His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.
- To promote effective and efficient communication and cooperation between teachers, practitioners, scholars and translators as well as the Kalachakra Practice Groups and Centres about teaching programmes, retreats and any other related activities.
- To support emerging Kalachakra Practice Groups and Centres.
- To promote the translation, creation and production of practitioner-friendly Kalachakra texts, commentaries and practice materials.
- To preserve and make accessible traditional Kalachakra texts for practitioners, translators and scholars by creating and maintaining a catalogue and repository of available texts.
- To safeguard tantric secrecy by ensuring that access to practice texts is restricted to initiates and practitioners.
- To provide basic information to non-initiates in order to avoid serious misunderstanding of Kalachakra practice, while avoiding a popular mass-media focus.
- To discourage an approach to Kalachakra practice related materials merely for personal or professional gain.
- To protect the purity of individual lineages and to recognize the value of discussion and friendly, constructive debate between different commentarial traditions.
This Memorandum was undersigned by
Ven. Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche
As described above, the IKN has developed quite naturally
and initially without any structure. However, as we becoming an international
network, certain things need to be agreed upon, like how to make tantric
commentaries available for serious practitioners, while avoiding that
our tantric secrecy vows are broken. For these kind of decisions, we
have asked a number of people to join the IKN-executive discussion forum.
There, we try to discuss and agree on specific areas of interest. So
far, this group consists of prominent Western scholars, translators
and representatives of the Kalachakra centers and practice groups with
who we have established contacts and who agreed to our Memorandum of
We are not (yet) an official organisation, as nobody
has had the time and energy to take care of all the red tape and paperwork
that would cost.
In May 2005, aiming to run all IKN matters as effectively
as possible, a five-member executive team was formed which will take
day-to-day decisions, based upon the thorough consultation and supportive
advice given by our advisory group members.
Yes, we have many plans and wishes - helping all
sentient beings towards enlightenement being the overriding one. On
a bit more modest scale, we hope to assist Kalachakra practitioners
in whatever way we can by making materials available, coordinating and
assisting Practice Groups and Centers, trying to preserve the teachings,
organizing the translation of important texts, and to generate a sincere
feeling of Spiritual Friends among practitioners.
For some of the current projects, have a look at our
Wish-List. Any suggestions and
of course donations are most welcome! If you like to donate
something in time or money, or you would like to see details of the
accounts, please contact
HISTORY OF THE IKN
After the Rikon Initiation in 1986, Andy Wistreich proposed
the formation of a 'Kalacakra Institute' to support the study and
practice of Kalachakra. The proposal was sent out with Alex Berzin's
"Graded Materials" which were at that time the only available translations
of Kalachakra sadhanas. The idea of an Institute had the support
of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who recommended a feasibility study.
The Institute did not come about. One problem with establishing
a physical Institute was the question of where to situate it.
Around this time Lama Zopa Rinpoche also expressed keen interest
in the idea, and shortly afterwards asked Hermes Brandt to take
Kalachakra teachings from Kirti Tsenshap Rinpoche. This initiative
led to Hermes' easy-to-follow translation in the late eighties-early
nineties of the brief Mind Mandala Sadhana practice by Detri Rinpoche,
as well as some other notes associated with retreats etc. It was
also around that time that Robert Thurman's translation of the full
Body, Speech and Mind Mandala Sadhana by the Seventh Dalai Lama
became available on a restricted basis, suitable for practice, but
still in need of many corrections.
It is also interesting to note that attempts to establish a continuing
Kalachakra practice group in London around that time floundered.
There was a general shortage of materials in English suitable for
practice, and many people's initial enthusiasm for practice dissipated
or transferred to other practices, either simpler or with suitable
practice materials more readily available.
The publications of Kalacakra
Sadhana and Social Responsibility by David Reigle, and The
Mandala: Sacred Circle in Tibetan Buddhism by Martin Brauen
signal a new phase in Kalachakra publications in the west, in that
both are entirely faithful to their Indian and Tibetan roots, but
both are written for an audience of western practitioners, and very
effectively serve their practical needs.
Moreover, the Hermes Brandt translation referred to above has found
favor with a now-established Kalacakra
Practice Group in London, which has been meeting monthly since,
and shows no sign of losing momentum (unlike previous groups). This
group followed an initiation and teaching in 1996 in London by Kirti
Tsenshap Rinpoche, who has agreed to return to give the initiation
again and further teachings in 1998.
In October 1997, David Reigle came to London to talk to the Kalacakra
Practice Group about the themes of his book. He and Andy Wistreich
had lost touch since having exchanged some materials following the
mid-eighties initiative. They got together and came up with some
new ideas. They noted that in addition to the factors mentioned
above, the dawn of the Internet might make the establishment of
an International Kalacakra Network a practical alternative to a
Furthermore, the fact that in the past ten years more than half
of the Vimalaprabha by Pundarika has been translated (albeit
unpublished) - different chapters by different scholars - gives
cause for optimism that the translation into English of substantial
classical materials to support practice is now a serious possibility.
In the beginning of the year, a completely new website was introduced,
including discussion forums and a resource area for initiates which
has proven increasingly popular.
The Kalachakra initiation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Graz
(October 2002) proved to be a very important event for the IKN,
as we managed to organize some meetings with several leading people
interested in Kalachakra practice. Very encouraging discussions
have been held, for example leading to above Memorandum of Intent,
which was (and we hope will be signed) by some prominent Masters
and Kalachakra initiates who are important to our Network and Kalachakra
practice in general. In a sense, one could say that the IKN was
really born during these meetings.
During the summer, our Italian friends of Shri Dhanyakataka
and the new Pundarika Center organised teachings and a short retreat
by ven. Jhado Rinpoche (abbot of Namgyal monastery). A number of
the IKN group had a very inspiring meeting with Jhado Rinpoche,
which led to several new projects that can be found on our Wish-list.
Plans are being made to have several texts translated, to start
an archive of (rare) Kalachakra texts etc.
A fair number of new texts could be added to our resources: like
an edited version made by Phil Lecso of the extensive Kalachakra
Commentary by Mipham, and translations of the Six-session Kalachakra
Guru Yoga in Vietnamese
(thank you Anh), Portuguese
and Polish (thank you Barbara).
Early in the year, the first IKN project was completed with
the donations from several people: a Commentary
of the Kalachakra Tsog Practice by ven. Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche.
Probably a first: Rinpoche taught the commentary to his translator
Voula Zarpani in Dharamsala. She recorded it and made a written
translation into English, which is now available for Kalachakra
practitioners to download for free, as well as her revised tsog
Phil Lecso has been doing very much work to edit and re-translate
teachings and commentaries, most of which are now available on the
website. Also, with the generous help of several people, we were
able to request Gavin Kilty to start working on a translation of
the Kalachakra commentary by Detri Rinpoche. (Gavin published his
very important translation of the Ornament
of Stainless Light this year.) Alex Berzin completed transcribing
and editing Serkong Rinpoche's
commentary to the Kalachakra 6-session Guru Yoga with the kind
financial sponsorship of IKN members. Do have a look at our List
of Completed Projects.
The website underwent another transformation, actually to reduce
the amount of detailed information in the public area of the site
and to create a new area which is accessible to initiates only.
This restricted area can now gradually be expanded with information
without the fear of breaking the secrecy vows. The new design comes
basically from Ricky Swaczy, many thanks to him! End of the year,
a new section called the Kalachakrapedia
was added, in which all initiates can contribute information in
a hopefully fast-growing knowledge-base.
The website now attracts over 3000 visitors per month.
The number of available texts keeps increasing steadily, and not
only in English; we are now happy to provide texts in Polish, Vietnamese,
Portuguese, Spanish, Hungarian, French, German, Italian and Dutch.
Much effort has gone into editing existing sadhanas for recitation;
for example the Long Kalachakra Sadhana by Mipham (thanks to Phil
Lecso), and a set of sadhanas translated by Alexander Berzin have
correct diacritics added. Also the adding of further practice-aides
in the texts are being considered.
For us, the most remarkable event of 2004 was the Kalachakra initiation
by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Toronto; suddenly the time seemed
right to start a series of Kalachakra Practice Groups in Canada
and the USA. We experienced a rush on our website, and the number
of Kalachakra initiates who registered with us for access to the
restricted materials is now over 550, and some 80 people have qualified
as 'practitioner' for full access to all the resources. The discussion
Forum for Initiates has grown to over 130 members.
The year hardly begun, and already we could add Phil Lecso's
new translation of Chapter 3 of the Kalachakra tantra in
the collection of Mipham's commentary 'the Vajra Sunshiner'. We also
received an extensive A Compendium
of the Trainings of Secret Mantra by Panglung Rinpoche to
add to the resources.
Just before Losar, a Polish translation of the Kalachakra tsog and
the first online audio teachings on the site in Russian, also the
first Russian text: the Kalachakra 6-Session Guru Yoga, justifying
a Russian Resources page. Later in the year, several other texts could
be added to the Russian page.
In May, aiming to run all IKN matters as effectively as possible,
a five-member executive team was formed which will take day-to-day
decisions, based upon the thorough consultation and supportive advice
given by our advisory group members.
During the summer, after many discussions among ourselves, His Holiness
the Dalai Lama gave us advice on the issue of giving access to tantric
materials, and we have tried to follow up on that end of the year
by introducing a new system for membership registration, deleting
the difference between 'initiates' and 'practitioners'. End of the
year, we could introduce the new password protection system.
In September, Jhado Rinpoche kindly gave the second part of his commentary
on the long Kalachakra sadhana at Kalapa center, Austria.
Jhado Rinpoche has inofficially requested His Holiness the Dalai Lama
in our name for Kalachakra teachings, but His Holiness did not give
a direct response.
End of the year, we had some 750 registered initiates (and a handful
registered with the new system), and about 190 members of the discussion
forum for initiates.
The year began with a bang: the Kalachakra initiation by His Holiness
the Dalai Lama in Amaravati. We hoped to have a short audience with
him to formally request Kalachakra teachings, but the schedule of
His Holiness did not allow this. We did manage to indirectly present
His Holiness, Jhado Rinpoche and Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche a specially
printed beautiful book (produced by Beate Zweytick & Manfred Klell)
which contains the Kalachakra 6-session Guru Yoga in 12 different
languages as a symbolic gift to show our intentions.
During the initiation, we were also finally able to establish proper
contacts with some lamas of the Jonang tradition (Khenpo Kunga Sherab
Saljay Rinpoche from Tibet and Khentrul Jhamphal Lodroe Rinpoche living
in Australia) and Michael Sheehy of the Jonang Foundation.
Phil Lecso has amazed us with English translations of the Nikodessa