Thousands Attend Kalachakra Empowerment at Kumbum Monastery in Qinghai
Crowds of Buddhist devotees assembled at Kumbum Monastery in the northwestern Chinese province of Qinghai over the weekend for the Kalachakra empowerment—a complex series of Tibetan Buddhist rituals and teachings—scheduled from 18–21 September. The ceremony was conducted by the senior Tibetan lama Geja Rinpoche, and drew “thousands of devotees from all sectors of Tibetan society,” according to an unnamed source. (Radio Free Asia) Other sources estimated the number of attendees, which included ethnic Tibetans, Mongolians, and Han Chinese, at about 200,000.
While Chinese security forces regularly monitor and sometimes halt events involving large assemblies of people in ethnically Tibetan regions of China—in 2014, government employees in neighboring Gansu Province were barred from participating in a similar ceremony—reportedly, this ceremony was officially sanctioned.
According to a public notice issued for the occasion by Kumbum Monastery, 10 large video screens and at least 100 loudspeakers had been set up to enable participants to see and hear the rituals and teachings. “Every effort has been made to ensure a safe and comfortable environment,” the notice said. (Radio Free Asia)
The empowerment and practice of Kalachakra, which means “wheel of time,” are believed by many Buddhists to be instrumental in bringing peace to the world. There are two main Kalachakra traditions—the Ra lineage and the Dro. According to both, the Kalachakra and its related commentaries were returned to India from Shambhala in 966 by an Indian pandit.
Kalachakra empowerments are frequently conducted outside of Tibet by the exiled spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama. About 150,000 Buddhists traveled to the Himalayan region of Ladakh in northern India to attend the 33rd Kalachakra ceremony in July 2014—also the 60th year since His Holiness first offered the empowerment at the Norbulingka in Lhasa.
According to the Dalai Lama, the Kalachakra ceremony “. . . is a way of planting a seed, and the seed will have karmic effect. One doesn’t need to be present . . . in order to receive its benefit.” (Wikipedia)
Thousands Gather in China's Qinghai For Tibetan Buddhist Ceremony (Radio free Asia)
Kalachakra: Wheel Of Time (Focus News)