Item Code: TS02
Tibetan Thangka PaintingSize of Painted Surface 24.0 inches X 30.0 inches
Size with Brocade 34.0 inches X 45.5 inches
Price: $435.00 Shipping Free - 4 to 6 days
The Kalachakra Tantra is a method or path of reaching enlightenment faster although with great effort, capable of leading the practitioner to Buddhahood within one human lifetime. The meaning of the Kalachakra Tantra is contained within three wheels of Time, called the External, the Internal and the Alternative. The External Kalachakra refers to the external environment, the physical universe and the astronomical system. The Internal Kalachakra refers to the beings that live within the physical universe, and describes the bodily channels, ‘wind’, and drops of fluids and how they circulate inside the body. The Alternative Kalachakra refers to the methods to reach enlightenment, together with their result. The Alternative Kalachakra contains the Kalachakra initiations, which authorize the person who takes to follow the systematic Kalachakra path to Buddhahood.
It is believed that the Buddha revealed the Kalachakra after twelve months of his enlightenment in the stupa of Dhanyakataka. He taught the tantra inside a huge stupa at the request of Suchandra, King of Shambhala. He wrote down the revelation and returned to Shambhala, built a three-dimensional mandala of Kalachakra, and made Tantric Buddhism based on the Kalachakra system the state religion. Many generations of Kulika kings ruled wisely and handed down the teachings of Kalachakra. The eighth king, Manjushrikirti, initiated many people into the tantra, and also composed a short text – ‘the condensed Kalachakra Tantra’ – which is what is now generally known as the Kalachakra Tantra. The Kalachakra teachings came to Tibet with Atisha Dipankara in 1026 A.D. Their instructions into Tibet led to a new system of measuring time in sixty-year periods. Five elements, fire, earth, water, wood, and metal, were added to the twelve-year system by which each year is attributed to one of the signs of zodiac. All schools of Tibetan Buddhism studied the Kalachakra system. In the center of the mandala, Kalachakra is standing in alidha attitude and embracing his consort, Vishvamata, mother of all. He is prostrating personages under his legs. He has four faces. The central face is blue, his right face is white, while the two to the left are yellow and red. He has twelve arms. The original ones, blue in color, are crossed around the waist of his consort and holding vajra and ghanta( here it is not clearly visible). His upper hands, in light yellow color, are holding the elephant’s skin. The remaining hands, in red and white colors, hold tantra symbols, here it is not clearly visible. Kalachakra wears a tiger-skin skirt and a long garland of skulls.
The consort of Kalachakra, Vishvamata is represented with three heads and six arms. Her both the legs are along with his consort. Her one left hand is behind his neck, while other hands holding tantric emblems. Kalachakra has wisdom flame aureole and green halo behind his body and head, respectively.
Mandalas are sacred diagram of the universe, and encompass an area in which divine forces are present. It aids the devotee in meditation when he or she seeks to focus on divinities and to gain access to divine forces. The Kalachakra mandala is like a huge palace, with five distinct floors levels:
1. Mandala of Great Bliss: This is the center of the mandala housing the main deity Kalachakra with his consort Vishvamata. They are surrounded by the eight Shaktis.
2. Mandala of Enlightened Wisdom: The wisdom mandala, which represents the subtle mind and is on the fourth floor of the mandala. Between the pillars of this square are the eight pairs of Tathagatas, seated on lotus seats, and vases.
3. Mandala of Enlightened Mind: This mandala is on the third floor and holds some 70 deities. This mandala represents the mind of the Kalachakra Buddha.
4. Mandala of Enlightened Speech: The Speech mandala is at the first floor, which represents the enjoyment body of the Buddha (sambhogakaya). This mandala houses 116 deities, the Yoginis of the speech mandala; they represent for example the 80 minor marks of a Buddha.
5. Mandala of Enlightened Body: The enlightened body mandala represents the form body of the Buddha (Rupakaya) and it surrounds the speech mandala. The body mandala is placed at ground level. The body mandala has the deities pertaining to Time – deities of Full Moon/Purnima and New Moon/Amavasya are surrounded by goddesses of 14 lunar days from pratipada (the first date) to the chaturdashi (14th date), and the deities of months; together these represent the 30 lunar days in a month. The number 360 also refers to the sets of 360 breaths we take in 60 cycles every day (adding up to 21,600 breaths per day).
The animals depicted on wall of the square representing months of the year, while the geometric shapes are symbolizing the six elements, – fire, water, earth, air, space and wisdom. Thirty-six offering goddesses are by Sanskrit seed-syllables, also depicted on the walls. The square has four gateways protected by attendants, guardian, and minor deities surrounding the image of the principal deity in the center. Animals pulling a chariot hold guardian deities of the four directions depicted in four gateways.
Circles surround the square of Kalachakra mandala. The outermost is the circle of circle of eight graveyards, representing the eight aspects of human consciousness that bind a person to the cycle of rebirth. After this comes a circle of vajras, which represents the solidity of the adamantine plane wherein the meditator becomes a vajra-being, a vajra-sattva. This circle actually symbolizes adamantine bodhi or enlightenment, once gained it is unchangeable. Then comes the circle of wind, which represents one of the five elements. This is followed by a circle of eight wheels animals and birds and Sanskrit syllables (in Tibetan character). The eight wheels refer to the historical Buddha setting the wheel of the teachings into motion. Sanskrit syllables between the wheels indicate various deities. Then comes the circle of wisdom fire, which burns the sins of the meditator. In another words we may say that the circle of fire symbolizes the process of transformation and burning of ignorance of practitioner, because one can enter the sacred territory only after transformation. There after is the circle of lotus leaves, signifying religious rebirth. It is actually is the purity of heart with which devotee or practitioner approaches the inner sanctum. Then is the circle of earth element, which is stylistically rendered here.
The upper panel depicts kings of Shambhala, while Adi-Buddha Samantabhadra Father-Mother is depicted in the center of this panel. The bottom panel depicts various deities associated with Kalachakra and Gelukpa protectors. Apart from this, the upper corner, below the top panel, depicts Guhyasamaja Akshobhyavajra in yab yum and preaching Buddha, respectively. The lower corner above the bottom panel depicts, three-headed wrathful deity and red-complexioned eight-armed angry protector deity, respectively. Moreover great adepts and monks are depicted each side of the mandala outside the circle. The extended brocade is woven with figures of flowers and Chinese auspicious good luck symbol. The painting is very much suitable for sadhana and practices of Kalachakra Buddha.
This description is by Dr. Shailendra K. Verma, whose Doctorate thesis is on “Emergence and Evolution of the Buddha Image (From its inception to 8th century A.D.)”.