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Taking the Kalachakra Initiation

by Alexander Berzin

German Flag Kalachakra. Das Rad der Zeit. 256 Seiten - O. W. Barth, Muenchen, 2002, ISBN: 3502610681 bei Amazon.de «Dieses Buch ist die ideale Vorbereitung auf die Kalachakra-Initiation und hilft Schritt für Schritt, die wesentlichen Punkte der Zeremonie zu verstehen. Es erläutert in klarer Weise den Kalachakra-Weg der spirituellen Entwicklung wie auch die damit verbundenen Gelübde und Verpflichtungen» (S. H. der Dalai Lama).
French Flag Introduction à l'initiation de Kalachakra, éd. Vajrayogini, Marzens, 1985, 1999, ISBN : 2911582241 de Amazon.fr
British Flag Snowlion, 1997, 199pp, ISBN 1-55939-084-0
Italian Flag L'Iniziazione di Kalachakra, Ubaldini Editore
Russian Flag Publishing House "Nartang"

bookcover Taking the Kalachakra InitiationPublisher Snowlion: Kalachakra tantra practice overcomes the limitations of historical, astrological and biological cycles, to achieve Buddhahood. Since 1970, many great Tibetan masters have given the initiation to large numbers of people. Taking the Kalachakra Initiation expands oral teachings Alex Berzin gave during several Kalachakra initiations to deepen participants' experience before and after the initiation. He explains the tantric theory, vows, commitments, how to visualize, and the thoughts and feelings participants need to generate at each step of the empowerment. It presents the variations in the Kalachakra initiation for the four lineages of Tibetan Buddhism, and relates Kalachakra teachings to karma, astrology, Tibetan medicine, the fabled land of Shambhala, and world peace.

Amazon: Traditionally, the secrets of tantric methods for attaining enlightenment were handed down from teacher to student in private ceremonies. An alternative tradition allows for mass empowerments, in which a teacher, such as the Dalai Lama, initiates scores, hundreds, even thousands of committed seekers into these esoteric methods that hasten one's enlightenment for the benefit of all. Alexander Berzin, who has studied for decades under Tibet's Kalachakra experts, including the Dalai Lama, has put together a handbook for those who have participated in, plan to participate in, or just have an interest in the Kalachakra initiation. He provides a background of the three-day ceremony, a summary of the texts from which it originates, and a detailed description of the vows and methods involved. Having served as a translator for the Kalachakra initiation and a lecturer during the procedures, Berzin anticipates the concerns of participants and explains in easy-to-understand language that takes the mystery out of the ceremony and brings it down to earth. - Brian Bruya


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Review by Rudy Harderwijk:
Overall Rating:

This book could have had the sub-title 'A practical guide to the Initiation'. I would consider it a very good introduction to the much more formal and scholarly 'Kalachakra Tantra, Rite of Initiation' by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Jeffrey Hopkins.
Alex Berzin manages to convey the essence of the Kalachakra tantra, the vows, committments, and the initiation ceremony in day-to-day language, which makes the book absolutely essential for the serious first-time initiate, and a 'must-have' for just about everybody else. Also for people who do not intend to take the initiation, this book appears quite suitable to remove misconceptions about tantra and may well inspire some to take it.
As a practical guide, I could only wish for Alex' book to have included for example the Kalachakra Six-Session Guru Yoga, or another (brief) sadhana for practice afterwards, but that again may have been less appropriate for non-initiates.

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