Himalayan Art Resources

Buddhist Deity: Kalachakra Main Page

Kalachakra Main Page | Kalachakra Outline Page

Database Search: All Images | Paintings | Sculpture | Mandalas

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Kalachakra Definition (below)
- Kalachakra Outline Page
- Kalachakra & Vishvamata
- Heruka Kalachakra
- Vishvamata
- Vajravega
- Kalachakra Related Deities
- Kalachakra: Retinue Figures
- Mantra Monogram
- Shambhala Kings & Vidyadhara
- Shambhala Pureland
- Kalachakra Cosmology
- Five Early Kalachakra Teachers
- Teacher Lineage (guru sampradaya)
- Dhanyakataka Stupa
- Kalachakra Resources & Bibliography
- Mandalas
- Kalachakra Sculpture
- Kalachakra, Mongolia
- Masterworks
- Confusions
- Others...

Kalachakra Mandala types according to number of deities:
1,620 Deity Mandala
722 Deity Mandala
73 Deity Mandala
36 Deity Mandala
32 Deity Mandala
25 Deity Mandala
23 Deity Mandala
19 Deity Mandala
13 Deity Mandala
9 Deity Mandala
2 Deity Mandala (Kalachakra & Consort)
1 Deity Mandala (Solitary Kalachakra)

Kalachakra and the consort Vishvamata are the principal deities originating in the Sanskrit text - Kalachakra Tantra. The text and meditational practices belong to the classification of Non-dual Anuttarayoga Tantra practiced to a greater or lesser degree by all schools of Tibetan Buddhism. The concept of 'time' is used as the special metaphor to symbolize the process of transformation from mundane existence to complete enlightenment. From among the numerous lineages to enter Tibet the Rwa and Dro are the most famous.

Iconographic Description:
"...Shri Kalachakra shining forth with stainless light rays of five [colours], with a body blue in colour. Having three necks the central is blue, right red and left white. The main face is black and fierce with bared teeth. The right face is red and desirous. The back face is yellow and in samadhi. The left face is white and very peaceful. Each face has three eyes.

The hair is tied in a tuft [along with] a vishvavajra, crescent moon, and Vajrasattva as a crown, a vajra jewel, vajra earrings, vajra necklace, vajra bracelets, vajra belt, vajra anklets, vajra scarf, vajra mala, and a loose tiger skin skirt.

The first [two] shoulders on the right and left are blue, second red, third white, for a [total] of six [pairs] of shoulders, twelve upper arms and twenty-four hands. The first four [right and left] are black, second four red, third four white. The thumbs of all the hands are yellow, index finger white, middle finger red, ring finger black, and little finger green. The first knuckle is black, second red, third white. All of the fingers are beautiful and radiant.

The first four black right hands hold a vajra, sword, trident and curved knife. The four red [hold] a flaming arrow, vajra hook, a rattling damaru and hammer. The four white [hands hold] a wheel, spear, stick and a battle axe.

The first four black left [hands] hold a vajra bell, shield, katvanga and a skullcup filled with blood. The four red [hold] a bow, vajra lasso, jewel and a white lotus. The four white [hold] a conch, mirror, vajra chain and the four-faced head of Brahma adorned with lotus [flowers].

Above a moon, sun and rahu, standing in a very playful manner, the right red leg is extended atop red Kamadeva having one face and four hands, holding five flower arrows, a bow, lasso and a hook. Under the left white leg is Rudra, white with one face, three eyes and four arms, holding a trident, damaru drum, skullcup and a katvanga. The demon [consorts] Rati and Uma in a woeful [manner] hold the soles [of Kalachakra's feet].

Vishvamata, yellow in colour, embraces [Kalachakra] from the front. The faces, from the right are yellow, white, blue and red, each with three eyes. There are eight arms. The [first] right hands hold a curved knife, hook, a rattling damaru and bead mala. The left [hands hold] a skullcup, lasso, white lotus with eight petals and a jewel. Vajrasattva [appears] as a crown. Adorned with the five mudras. The left leg is extended - standing together with the Bhagavan." (Buton Tamche Kyenpa Rinchen Drub, 1290-1364. dus 'khor sgrub thabs bsdus pa rin po che'i snying po. gsung 'bum rin chen grub [zhol par khang] Volume 5, Pages 163-176. [TBRC W1934]).

Rwa Lineage: Buddha Shakyamuni-Kalachakra, the Shambala King Suchandra, a line of Eight Shambhala Kings ending with Manjukirti and Pundarika, a Manjushri emanation, Chilu Pandita, Pindo Acharya, Kalachakrapada the younger (Naropa), Manjukirti, Samantashri, Rwa Chorab, Rwa Yeshe Sengge, etc.

Kalachakra Lineage, Mahamandala, Abhisheka and Commentary of Vimalaprabha, together with its Branches: Vajradhara, Vajragarbha, Vajra Dakini, Vajracharya Chilupa, Kalachakra the Greater, Kalachakra the Lesser, Anusama Rakshita, Sadhuputra, Dharmakara, Dharmamitra, Bikshata Deva, Panchen Shakyashri, Sakya Pandita, Lama Chokyi Gyalpo (Chogyal Pagpa 1235-1280).

Jeff Watt 2-2003 [updated 2-2014, 5-2017]


- Laghutantantra (Abridged Kalachakra Tantra).
- Vimalaprabha (Stainless Light).
- Kalapavatara (Entrance to Kalapa.

- Ornament of Stainless Light: An Exposition of the Kalachakra Tantra (Library of Tibetan Classics). Khedrup Norsang Gyatso and Gavin Kilty (2001).

- Kalachakra Tantra. Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey and Allan Wallace (1983).

Read more at TBRC