outer world - environment and beings -
Subject to time and the auspicious
conjunction of planets and stars,
Our inner being - aggregates and sense
Subject to the movement of subtle channels, winds and essences,
Are in fact the deities of Glorious Kalachakra - the Wheel of Time.
knows this should so compose a wondrous calendar...
Such is the delirious
chatter of the old man Dilgo Khyentse.'
'A Wondrous Calendar....'
By Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
Kalachakra means Time-Wheel,
as "Kala" is Sanskrit for Time and "Cakra" (or Chakra) is Wheel in Sanskrit. One
could also translate it as Time-Cycles. Much in this tradition revolves around
the concept of time and cycles: from the cycles of the planets, to the cycles
of our breath and the practice of controlling the most subtle energies within
one's body on the path to enlightenment.
The time-cycles in the external universe are interrelated to the inner
cycles of energy in our bodies. Thus, the phrase 'as it is outside,
so it is within the body' can be found in the Kalachakra Tantra to emphasize
similarities between ourselves and the cosmos; the basis for astrology.
But the similarities are taken to an even more profound level of connections
and interdependence as taught in the Kalachakra literature. Ultimately,
the teachings are designed to guide the practitioner on the path to
Buddhahood, and the Kalachakra contains its own unique methods which
are among the most complicated within Buddhism. However, individual
practitioners require require different methods to achieve the same
Based on a mix of Indian, Chinese and Kalachakra Tantra sources, the
unique system of Tibetan astrology
was developed. The system is used in a quite different way from the
western astrological approach, where birth-charts form the main basis.
It should be noted that the time of birth is considered much less important
in buddhist thought, because the actual new life started at the time
of fertilization of the egg, rather than at the moment of birth.
The Kalachakra astrological system forms one of the main building blocks
to compose the Tibetan calendar.
Part of the first chapter of the Kalachakra Tantra is dedicated to making
an accurate calendar. The astrology in the Kalachakra is not unlike
the Western system, and complicated calculations are required to determine
e.g. the exact location of the planets. The system is so complex, that
the traditional Tibetan calculations may require an overhaul, as Edward
Henning suggests in his page on the Kalacakra
As with most of the concepts in Kalachakra, much of the basis for eg.
astronomy, astrology and time-divisions can be found in the traditional
teachings of the Indian Vedas. See for example the pages of Astronomia