Critical Forum for the Investigation
Kalachakra Tantra and the Shambhala
In Sanskrit, Kalachakra means "The Wheel of
Time ", but it is also the name of the supreme Tibetan "Time
God". The Kalachakra Tantra is
held to be the last and the most recent (10th century) of all the Tantra
texts that have been revealed, and is considered by the lamas to be
"the pinnacle of all Buddhist systems".
than 25 years, many hundreds of thousands have been “initiated” through the
Kalachakra Tantra by the XIV
Dalai Lama. Of these, large numbers are illiterate people from India.
But even the "educated" participants from the West barely know
anything about what this ritual actually entails, since alongside its
public aspect it also has a strongly guarded secret side. In public, the
XIV Dalai Lama performs only the seven lowest initiations; the subsequent
eight of the total of 15 initiations continue to remain top secret.
There is no
talk of these eight secret rites in the pamphlets, advertisements or
brochures, and especially not in the numerous affirmations of the XIV Dalai
Lama. Here, the Kalachakra Tantra
appears as a dignified and uplifting contribution to world peace, which
fosters compassion with all living beings, interreligious dialog,
interracial and intersubjective tolerance, ecological awareness, sexual
equality, inner peace, spiritual development and bliss for the third
millennium ("Kalachakra for
World Peace"). The motto for the whole show is quoted from the XIV
Dalai Lama: "Because we all share this small planet earth, we have to
learn to live in harmony and peace with each other and with nature."
The highly focused, extremely Tantric initiation of Tibetan Lamaism thus
garners the kudos of a "transcultural and interreligious meeting for
But are the Kalachakra Tantra and the Shambhala myth truly pacifist? Do
they really encourage harmony and cooperation among people? Do they make
any real contribution to freedom and justice, equality of the sexes,
religious tolerance or ethnic reconciliation? Are they a comprehensive,
politically humanist, democratic and non-violent contribution to world
Over the past
few years, increasing criticism has been levelled at Tibetan Buddhism, the
history of Lamaism, conditions among the Tibetans in exile and the XIV
Dalai Lama himself, criticism which is not from the Chinese quarter.
Historians from the USA
have begun questioning the widespread glorifying whitewash of Tibetan
history (Melvin C. Goldstein, A. Tom Grunfeld). Critical Tibetologists have
raised accusations of deliberate manipulation by official Tibetology
(Donald S. Lopez Jr.). Tibet
researchers have investigated the "dreams of power" that are
activated and exacerbated by the "Tibet myth" nurtured by
Lamaists (Peter Bishop). Prominent politicians have had to admit the
evidence of their own eyes that the Chinese are not committing
"genocide" in Tibet,
as the Tibetans in exile continue to claim (Antje Vollmar, Mary Robinson).
Former female Buddhists have condemned, on the basis of personal experience
and with great expertise, the systematic and sophisticated oppression and
abuse of women in Tibetan Buddhism (June Campbell). Psychologists and psychoanalysts
have investigated the aggressive and morbid character of Lamaist culture
(Robert A. Paul, Fokke Sierksma). From within the Dalai Lama’s own ranks,
overwhelming evidence of his intolerant, superstitious and autocratic
nature has been amassed since 1997 (Shugden Affair). Lamaism’s rituals have
also been subjected to strong criticism. The humanistic, peace-loving,
tolerant and ecumenical intentions of the Kalachakra Tantra and the Shambhala
myth it contains have been interrogated in a comprehensive study
(Victor and Victoria Trimondi). Biting criticism of the XIV Dalai Lama and
his system founded on magic has also been broadcast in German, Swiss and
Austrian television (Panorama, 10 nach 10, Treffpunkt Kultur). In Munich, on the
occasion of a visit by the Tibetan religious potentate (in May 2000), there
was even a split in the SPD, whose "pro-Dalai Lama" wing had
invited the Tibetan "God-King" to a gala event. The media as a
whole has been equally divided: the Dalai Lama has been accused of, among
other things, having an undemocratic and autocratic leadership style,
suppressing any political opposition, acting to repress religious
minorities; letting policy be determined by possessed oracles rather than
through dialog and debate, deliberate falsification of the history of
Tibet, maintaining uncritical relationships with former members of the SS
and Neo-Nazis, defaming critics and conducting misogynist rituals.
Here are some of the points raised by the critics of the Kalachakra Tantra and the Shambhala myth it contains that the
Critical Forum Kalachakra is putting forward for discussion:
The secret rites of the Kalachakra Tantra may not, under pain of medieval punishment
for body and soul, be discussed with the uninitiated. The “head and heart” of whoever reveals
its occult secrets "will burst
asunder" and they will burn in the deepest hell. There are good
reasons for this, then in the eight highest initiations there is talk of
things that stand in complete contradiction to a humanist system of values
(Michael Henss – Kalachakra – ein
tibetisches Einweihungsritual – Zurich 1985, 46).
is anything but pacifist, rather, it prophesies and promotes a bloody
religious war for world domination between Buddhists and non-Buddhists (Shambhala myth).
The text explicitly names the "leaders"
of the three monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) as
opponents of Buddhism: "Adam,
Enoch, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, the White-Clad one [Mani], Muhammad and Mathani [the
Mahdi]". The Kalachakra Tantra
describes them as "the family of
the demonic snakes" (Shri Kalachakra
Thus, the Kalachakra
Tantra is opposed to all religions of Semitic origin, and for this
reason has been pressed into service by right-wing radical and anti-Semitic
circles for their racist propaganda.
Tantra invokes a global war between the Islamic and the non-Islamic
world in which the followers of Mohammed are presented as the principal
enemies of the Buddhists. The original text refers to Mecca,
where the "mighty, merciless
idol of the barbarians" lives as a "demonic incarnation" (Shri Kalachakra
Murderous super-weapons possessed by the Buddhist
Shambhala Army and employed against "enemies of the Dharma" are
described at length and in enthusiastic detail in the Kalachakra Tantra (Shri Kalachakra
I. 128 – 142). Modern Lamaist
interpretations of these military arsenal fantasies indulge in spectacular
comparisons to the weaponry of the 20th and 21st centuries.
The Buddhist art of war in the Shambhala battles
is obviously at odds with basic human rights, and is instead described in
the original text as "merciless"
and "cruel". "The supremely ferocious [Buddhist] warriors will cast down the barbarian
horde" and "eliminating"
them "together with their
followers". (Shri Kalachakra
All the participants in a Kalachakra initiation
have the questionable privilege of being reborn as "Shambhala Warriors" in order to
be able to participate in the prophesied apocalyptic battle as either
infantry or officers, dependant on rank. High lamas of particular lineages
have already been assigned to commanding positions (E. Bernbaum – Der Weg nach Shambhala – Auf der Suche
nach dem sagenhaften Königreich im Himalaya – Hamburg 1982, 252, 35).
According to a vision of the Tibetan Lama Kamtrul
Rinpoche, it is the reincarnated Dalai Lama himself, who as wrathful field
marshal will lead the Buddhist army into the Shambhala battle (Rudra Chakrin) to conquer all evil
in the universe. Propagandists for the Kalachakra
Tantra peddle a primitive martyr cult that resembles that of the Moslem
jihad warriors: he who falls in the Shambhala war is rewarded with
guaranteed entry to the Shambhala paradise (E. Bernbaum – Der Weg nach Shambhala – Auf der Suche
nach dem sagenhaften Königreich im Himalaya – Hamburg 1982, 253).
At all levels, the Kalachakra Tantra fosters the postulation of (and negotiation
with) a conceived “enemy” and – completely at odds with the original
teachings of the historical Buddha or the ethical demands of Mahayana
Buddhism – advocates war between "good" and "evil",
between the "faithful" and the "unbelievers".
contains a Buddhocratic doctrine of state which is even more
"theocratic" than the fundamentalist Islam concept of theocracy,
then the Buddhist "Chakravartin" (world ruler) is seen as a
direct "incarnation" or "emanation" of the Supreme
Buddha (Adi Buddha), as a walking "God-Man" on earth, whilst the
"Caliph" is only God’s (Allah’s) "representative" on
earth, who does not even have the rank of a "prophet".
At the pinnacle of the authoritative Buddhocratic
Kalachakra state, on the "Lion Throne" resides an absolute
who unites in his person religious, political, juridical and military
might. There is absolutely no civil "separation of powers" here.
Those familiar with the constitutional position of the Dalai Lama in
(up until 1959) know that the office of the Tibetan "God-King"
corresponded to that of a Chakravartin in miniature. The highly
questionable and half-hearted democratization reforms that the XIV Dalai
Lama has introduced among the Tibetans in exile would be obliterated afresh
through the Buddhocratic, state political consequences of the Kalachakra Tantra teachings.
The right to a Buddhocratic world supremacy is an
explicit demand of the Kalachakra
Tantra. Here too we find a fundamentalist correspondence to Islamist
ambitions to global domination. If both systems are set to confront another
as deadly enemies in a bloody apocalyptic battle, then this is a
consequence of the logic of their theocratic-cum-Buddhocratic absolutism.
Modern Buddhocratic visions for our planet which
are welcomed by the XIV Dalai Lama are built upon the foundations of the Kalachakra Tantra. See in this
regard Robert A. Thurman’s book Inner
Revolution, where the author develops the authoritative political
theory of a "Buddhaverse". As early as 1979, Thurman, described by
Time magazine as the "spokesman of the Dalai Lama" in the USA,
saw the Tibetan religious leader in a dream enthroned as a "Time
God" over the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, while the great swarm
of notables – mayors, senators, company directors and kings, sheiks and
sultans, celebrities and stars buzzed around him; caught up in the
maelstrom of the 722 dancing deities of the Kalachakra Tantra swarmed
around him just like bees in pinstripes around a huge hive.
In the secret higher stages of initiation the Kalachakra Tantra demands the
unconditional and unlimited surrender to the absolute will of the
administering guru (in this case the Dalai Lamas as Kalachakra master). The
"ego consciousness" and the personality of the initiand are
extinguished step by step, so as to transform him into a human vessel for
the in part warlike and aggressive Tantric deities and Buddhist figures.
Hence, the Kalachakra Tantra
brings no "ennoblement", "transfiguration" or
"integration" of the individual, but rather its systematic
"elimination" in the interests of a codified religious pattern.
In the eight secret higher initiations of the Kalachakra Tantra, extreme mental
and physical exercises are used to push the initiand into a state beyond
good and evil. The original text thus requires the following misdeeds and
crimes of him: killing, lying, stealing, infidelity, the consumption of
alcohol, sexual intercourse with lower-class girls. As in all the other
Tantras, here too these requirements can be understood both symbolically
and literally. Even the XIV Dalai Lama finds it legitimate for a Kalachakra
adept to kill a person under special circumstances, "who are harmfull to the [Buddhist] teaching". He insists,
however, that this be "motivated by compassion" (Dalai
Lama – The Kalachakra Tantra – Rite
of Initiation – London, 1985, S. 348 ff.) .
In the highest magical initiations, what are known
as "unclean substances" are employed. The Kalachakra Tantra recommends the consumption of the meat of
various taboo animals. Human meat (maha
mamsa) is also employed as a ritual substance. It is usually taken from
the dead and, writes the Tantric grand master and Shambhala King,
Pundarika, in his traditional Kalachakra
commentary, is the "meat of those who died due to their own karma, who were killed in
battle due to evil karma or and due
to their own fault, or that of robbers and so forth who were executed".
He continues with the advice that it is sensible to consume these
substances in the form of pills. The flesh of innocent people, who have
been killed as sacrifices to the gods, out of fear, as part of an ancestor
cult, out of desire (greed) or for money, is laden with "unspeakable
sin" and may not be used in the rituals. "But which falls in the bowl unasked-for is without unspeakable sin"
– and may therefore be put to use. (In: John Ronald Newman - The outer wheel of time: Vajrayana
Buddhist cosmology in the Kalacakra Tantra - Madison 1987, 266 f.).
Numerous ritual objects employed in the ceremonies
are made from corpses (bowls made from human skulls, trumpets made of leg
bones, bone necklaces). A glance at the great Kalachakra Thangka (wall
tapestry) which will be hanging above the throne of the XIV Dalai Lama
during the whole of the ceremony is enough to convince one of the wrathful
characters of this ritual. The Time God "Kalachakra" depicted
there together with his consort, the Time Goddess "Vishvamata" in
sexual union while standing, hold in their total of 32 hands 24 objects of
an aggressive, morbid or warlike
nature (hooks, sword, machete, drums and vessels made of skull bowls, a
sceptre whose peak is adorned with three severed human heads, etc.)
In the secret higher initiations of the Kalachakra Tantra sexual magical
rites take place, the aim of which is to transform "sexuality"
into worldly and spiritual power. The real or imaginary women (both are
possible) used in these represent particular forms of energy, whereby age
plays an important role. One begins with ten-year-old girls. Up to the age
of 20, the female sexual partners represent positive characteristics. If
they are older they are regarded as the bearers of the negative energies of
scorn, rage, hate etc. and as "demonesses".
In the 8th to 11th levels of initiation into the Kalachakra Tantra sexual magic experiments are made with just
" one" woman; in the 12th to 15th levels, the so-called Ganachakra, a total of 10 women take
part in the ritual along with the master and the initiand. It is the
pupil’s duty to offer his Lama the women as a "gift". "Laity" who are to be initiated
into the ritual are supposed to offer up their female relatives (mother,
sister, wife, daughter, aunt, etc.). One can read in the Kalachakra
Mûlatantra that "If the pupil
does not hand these wisdom consorts over to his master, in order to protect
his family, then [the master] may not perform this ritual."
Consecrated monks and novices, however, may make use of unrelated women
from various castes. In the secret ritual itself the participants
experiment with the masculine and feminine seed (sperm and menstrual
blood). In the Kalachakra Tantra
women are regarded as mere "energy donors" for the male
practitioners and once the ritual is over they have no further role to play
(see in this regard Nâropâ – Iniziazione
Kâlacakra – Roma 1994).
In the current age, which according to the
teachings of Lamaism is hastening towards an apocalyptic end (Kali yuga),
the Kalachakra Tantra has a
particularly destructive and aggressive character. It includes special
rites which are supposed to accelerate the general decline through symbolic
acts. "What is Kalachakrayana
[the Kalachakra Way]?"
– asks one of the leading experts in the field of Tantrism, the Indian
Shashi Bhusan Dasgupta, and tellingly answers, "The word kala means time,
death and destruction. Kala-Chakra
is the Wheel of Destruction."
just some of the problematic aspects that critics object to in the Kalachakra Tantra and the Shambhala Myth it contains. They
ought to provide sufficient grounds to question whether this ritual can still
be seen as having a humanistic, peaceful, tolerant, freedom-loving and
ecumenical character. In addition, the Shambhala
myth integrated into the Kalachakra
Tantra has – insofar as it has been accorded historical and ideological
relevance – led to extremely aggressive behaviour patterns, megalomaniac
visions, conspiracy theories and terrorist activity. But above all it
exercises a special fascination for neo-fascist circles and provides a
source of ideological inspiration
In the wars between Byelorussians, Bolsheviks and
Mongolians, the Shambhala myth
was associated with ideas of the return of Genghis Khan at the beginning of
the twenties. The Mongolians saw themselves in this conflict as
"Shambhala warriors". Their military actions were extremely
The Italian fascist and right-wing extremist
philosopher of culture, Julius Evola, saw in the mythic realm of Shambhala the esoteric centre of a
sacred warrior caste and suspected that the palace of the world king, whose
escutcheon was the swastika, could be found there. He held lectures on
these views for the SS “Ahnenerbe”.
In the occult literature (the "Nazi
mysteries”), "masters" from Shambhala
are depicted as the hidden string pullers who are supposed to have
participated in the "magical" creation of the Nazi regime (Trevor
Ravenscroft, Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier u. a.).
In the ideological SS underground of the post-War
period and in the "SS mysticism" of the nineties, the mythical
kingdom of Shambhala is seen as a
sanctuary for an aggressive and morbid "Nazi religion" (Wilhelm
Landig, Jan van Helsing u. a.).
myth is one of the ideological pillars of "esoteric
Hitlerism". This is the worldwide, racist, occult doctrine of the
Chilean diplomat, Miguel Serrano,
and the Indian by adoption, Savitri Devi ("Hitler’s
With his concept of the Shambhala warrior, the now deceased Tibetan Lama, Chögyam
Trungpa (1940-1987), laid the first foundations for a potential "Combative Buddhism", already
found in large parts of East Asia, in the
West. Instead of monasteries, Trungpa’s Shambhala
warriors live in military camps, meditation is accompanied by military
parades, in place of the begging bowl his pupils carry weapons and rather
than monastic robes they wear military uniforms. The master himself no
longer moved around in Buddhist style, with yellow and red monastic robe
and walking staff and sandals, but rather rode forth on a white horse (in
accordance with the apocalyptic prophecy of the Kalachakra Tantra) in
peaked cap, tunic and high boots. The Shambhala coat of arms can be seen on
the saddle of a horse in a photo of the martial Trungpa.
Myth provides the ideological basis for the terrorism of the Japanese
apocalyptic guru, Shoko Asahara. He derives his apocalyptic visions from
the teachings of the Kalachakra
Tantra. His intention is to accelerate the onset of the Shambhala war
and this is his justification for his poison-gas attacks on the Tokyo Underground.
Asahara was the first leader of a sect to make the "uninvolved"
from outside of his own organization the target of his deadly attacks and
thus opened the floodgates for the religiously motivated international
terrorism that has become the number one topic in the world community.
Even if these
fascist and terrorist interpretations of the Shambhala myth are erroneous, it is therefore all the more
pressing that the XIV Dalai Lama and his followers lay bare the Kalachakra
ritual in all its detail, correct possible distortions, projections and
misuses, and distance themselves publicly from its more problematic
contents, that or edit them out of the traditional texts. Instead, however,
there have in the past been numerous friendly meetings between the Tibetan
religious leader and former SS figures (Heinrich Harrer, Bruno Beger), the
founder of "esoteric Hitlerism", Miguel Serrano, and the
terrorist, Shoko Asahara, whom even after the Tokyo attacks he described as
his "friend, albeit an imperfect
one”. Only later did he distance himself from him.
according to statements in numerous international media reports, Tibetan
Buddhism is the "trend religion" of our time. Through the XIV
Dalai Lama, through both his charismatic appearances and his ostensibly
humanist speeches and writings, a gigantic, unreflective cultural import of
Eastern concepts into the West is taking
place, one which displays fundamentalist characteristics and serves as an
ideological foundation for various fundamentalist camps and can continue to
so serve in the future. The Buddhist leader appeals to people’s deep need
for harmony and peace, but the history of Lamaism itself, the contents of
the Tibetan Tantras and their complex of rituals, even the conditions which
prevail among the Tibetans in exile,
are anything but peaceful and harmonic. There are passages in the Kalachakra Tantra which brazenly
call for a "war of the religions", which are intolerant and
aggressive. In Tibetan Buddhism we have an archaic, magic-based religious
system, which has remained to a large extent untouched by the fundamentals
of the Western Enlightenment. This is also the reason it is so attractive
for right-wing extremists. For centuries it has led to social injustices
that any freedom-loving citizen of today would be forced to reject. The equality
of the sexes, democratic decision making and ecumenical movements are in
themselves foreign to the nature of Tantric Buddhism, although the XIV
Dalai Lama publicly proclaims the opposite.
In a reaction
to 11 September 2001, Der Spiegel
drew attention to aggressive elements and fundamentalist currents in the
three monotheistic religions in an article entitled "Religious Mania –
The Return of the Middle Ages". As is so often the case in such
cultural critiques, Buddhism was spared. This is untrue! All of the topics
criticized in this article (battles against
unbelievers and dissidents, religious wars, armament fantasies, theocratic
visions of power, apocalyptic predictions, misogyny, etc.) are to be found in a particularly
concentrated degree in the Kalachakra Tantra.
Forum Kalachakra (CFK) demands that a wide-ranging cultural debate over the
Kalachakra Tantra and the Shambhala myth. The CFK collects
information, distributes and translates documents.
© Victor & Victoria Trimondi
Further information about the Kalachakra-Tantra:
Kalachakra: The Public and the Secret Initiations
Kalachakra: The Inner Processes
The ADI Buddha: His Mystic Body and his Astral
The ADI Buddha: The Mandala
Principle and the World Ruler
The Aggressive Myth of Shambhala
The Manipulator of Erotic Love
The Spearhead of the Shambhala War: The Mongols
The Shambhala Myth and the West
The Doomsday Guru Shoko Asahara and XIV Dalai Lama
The Buddhocratic Conquest of the West