Awakening to the Kalachakra

How easy it is to completely miss the inner wisdom of our ancient wisdom traditions.

Tibetan Buddhist monks after mandala was destroyed

Photographs© Marcia Keegan | Archives 2017 |

About 35 years ago, the Dalai Lama accepted an invitation from Geshe Sopa to bestow the Kalachakra Tantra (the Wheel of Life) at the Deer Park Buddhist Center near Madison, Wisconsin. Sharpa Tulku and I were asked to help film the process. The Kalachakra is the “King of Tantras,” said to be the most complete and complex, and the only “Higher Tantra Initiation” open to the public. We accepted because we knew the event would be historically significant: the first time the Kalachakra had been bestowed outside of India or Tibet. But at the time, I wasn’t prepared to embrace the fantastical images, esoteric methods, and lofty claims that this initiation could speed up spiritual transformation into the body, speech, and mind of an enlightened Buddha. Our raw film footage ended up being stored at the Smithsonian, and only now are we working to complete the project. The goal is to explain why these public initiations, which have now been experienced by more than a million people worldwide, may actually help usher in an era of world peace. Origins of Tantra Buddhism, of course, is best known for meditation, an …

Ed Bastian PhD is president of the Spiritual Paths Foundation, on the faculty of Antioch University, and author of InterSpiritual Meditation and Mandala: Creating an Authentic Spiritual Path. On October 2, Dr. Bastian will offer an eight-week program, “Creating an Authentic Spiritual Practice,” at learn more about the Kalachakra film, please go to

This entry is tagged with:
BuddhismTibetan BuddhismTantraDalai Lama