Kalachakra Alphabet Tibetan Thangka Painting


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The Dalai Lama and the Kalachakra

Although thought to have once been a carefully guarded secret of the Shambhala Kingdom, the Kalachakra Tantra is now widely known. The Dalai Lama himself has given thirty-three separate initiations into this practice all over the world, including in Tibet, India, Switzerland, Canada, and the United States.

In an essay on his website, His Holiness writes, “the Kalachakra initiations empower the disciple to practice the yoga of the Kalachakra tantra, and, ultimately, to achieve the state of Shri Kalachakra.” As with other mandala practices, the goal here is for the initiate to “enter” into the mandala and identify with the deity represented therein.


  • Dimensions: 55 x 55 cm
  • Materials: Tibetan  Gold Dust With Tibetan Colors
  • Canvas: Organic Cotton
  • Hand Painted In Nepal
  • Fine Quality Tibetan Thangka

The Kalachakra seed syllable (rnam bcu dbang ldan) or Tenfold Powerful One is the best known symbols of the Kalachakra system, and probably of the entire Tibetan tantric tradition. The symbol consists of an ornamental ring of fire, then the main symbol which combines seven individual syllables, on top are a crescent, a disc and a curved shape, making ten.10-fold powerful one, Surrounding the main symbol is a kind of frame made of flames, which corresponds to the outermost "Circle of Wisdom" of the mandala. On the left and right of the actual Tenfold Powerful symbol are the Lantsa characters for E and VAM, representing the union of respectively emptiness (E) and bliss (VAM).
The individual syllables are represented in a in a stylized version of Sanskrit Lantsa (or Ranjana) characters. (Lantsa is an Indian Buddhist script, probably of late Pala origin, derived from Sanskrit, although certain scholars date it as late as the seventeenth century. It was used in Nepal until recent history. It is specifically used for mantra syllables and the titles of sacred texts.) The symbol usually stands on a lotus (which also symbolizes the heart chakra) and three or four discs, like the Kalachakra deity: a white moon disc, a red sun disc, a black/blue Rahu disc and a yellow Kalagni disc. (The Rahu and Kalagni discs are often combined into one black Rahu disc.)
The symbolism given here is taken mainly from teachings by ven. Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche (Graz 1999 and Bodhgya 1990).
However, it must be realised that there can be some differences between the various Kalachakra traditions. For example, in the explanation below, the disc above the syllable is white and symbolises the moon, but depending on the specific symbolism and tradition, it can also be depicted red and the crescent below can also be white etc., so variations of the seed syllable are possible.
The all-pervading space element which is represented by the syllable A is not represented, but it is automatically present when writing any consonant in Sanskrit (and Tibetan). In the Kalachakra tantra, there is a profound symbolic relationship with the vowels and consonants (Ali and Kali) of the Sanskrit alphabet. 
In Tibetan Kalachakra texts, the syllables HAM KSHA MA LA VA RA YA are often written on top of each other, not as normally from left to right.
Below, the syllable is broken into it's constituent parts to show the form of each, and also list some of the most basic symbolism associated with each, related to the Kalachakra mandala. The symbolism goes much further though, for example in Inner, Outer and Secret Kalachakra (see Kalacakra seed syllable), the ten Shaktis, the ten main channels at the heart, the ten perfections etc. The individual forms shown are not the normal forms they would take as a syllable, but the shapes in stylised form to combine them in the overall figure.

The seed syllable further can symbolize for example:
- Aspects of the Outer Kalachakra, like the elements and the ten planets 
- Aspects of the Inner Kalachakra, like channels and chakras
- Aspects of the Alternative Kalachakra, like the initiations, the 10 powers, 10 forces and 10 perfections (paramitas)

For Frequently Asked Questions you can visit our FAQ page here.

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Kalachakra Alphabet Tibetan Thangka Painting

Kalachakra Alphabet Tibetan Thangka Painting

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