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Kālacakra

Kālacakra (Tib., dus.kyi.ʾkhor.lo, ‘Wheel of Time’). Perhaps the most revered tantra in Tibetan Buddhism, which in addition to yogic teachings involves an esoteric world history and eschatology. The introduction of the tantra into Tibet is often ascribed to Atiśa, but it is hard to substantiate this. The Kālacakra teachings figured prominently in the old Kadam and Jonang schools due to its chief 14th-cent. promulgators, Butön and Dolpopa.

The Kālacakra Tantra has three aspects, ‘outer’, ‘inner’, and ‘other’. The ‘outer’ is lore concerning the environment: astrology, history, eschatology; the ‘inner’ concerns the esoteric physiology of the ‘subtle body’; the ‘other’ consists of the ‘generation’ and ‘completion’ stages of yoga, and aims to purify the ‘outer’ and ‘inner’ aspects. Of these, the ‘generation’ (utpattikrama) involves the visualization of the 722 deities of the Kālacakra maṇḍala, which has at its centre the Ādi buddha in the form of the sexual union (yab-yum) of Kālacakra and Vishvamātā. The ‘completion’ (sampannakrama) stage involves the manipulation of one's subtle energies to produce a consciousness with the capacity for enlightenment. Kālacakra is a member of the Anuttara (unsurpassed) class of tantras, and as such offers buddhahood through its mastery.

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