by Alyssa McFarland, 2018
On May 1st and 2nd, 2018, His Holiness the 42nd Sakya Trizin bestowed the Kalachakra empowerment to about 250 people at the Lynnwood Convention Center. Sakya Monastery organized this auspicious event, which marked the first time the Kalachakra Empowerment has ever been given in the Pacific Northwest. As our area is subject to earthquakes, we felt an empowerment that – among other things – helps the environment would be especially beneficial for our region.
His Holiness arrived to a grand procession with all of the regalia of the traditional Tibetan style, with flags and a red carpet. The sound of horns and music announced his arrival. Tibetan dancers led the procession, escorting His Holiness through the crowd of devotees, heads bowed and katags extended, eager to greet a great master of the Sakya tradition. He proceeded along a path adorned with auspicious symbols and strewn with flower petals, and then received the traditional “chema” welcome offering (of barley, butter and chang), offered by young members of the Tibetan community.
The Kalachakra belongs to the highest yoga tantra class, the Anuttarayoga. The two-day empowerment that His Holiness bestowed was based on the Vajramala tradition, and is a briefer version than the one bestowed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Day 1 was to prepare us for the actual empowerment on Day 2, but it was imperative to attend both days to actually receive the empowerment. On Day 1, His Holiness covered the fourteen preparatory points giving us the reading transmission and translation of them. Among them:
- Right intention and motivation: Initiates should enter the mandala with right purpose, thinking that we are entering the mandala for the intention to attain enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings.
- Receiving the refuge, bodhisattva and vidyadhara vows.
- Feel joy at having met the Vajrayana path, as it has been traversed by all the Buddhas of the three times.
- Purify the mental continuum by visualizing the merit field, which is in the nature of light, and reciting the seven-limbed prayer.
- Throwing neem sticks to determine future attainments.
- Receiving the protection cord to pacify obstacles for dreams.
- Receiving kusha grass to place under the pillow and mattress in a specific manner.
- Being given the instruction to examine our dreams the following morning upon waking to check for positive or negative signs.
On Day 2, we received the vows of the Five Dhyani Buddhas and then mentally entered the mandala to receive the empowerment. Entering the inner mandala means that primordial wisdom descends in to your mental continuum.
His Holiness described all the deities of the mandala in Tibetan while we imagined seeing them and feeling great joy. In keeping with a major mandala empowerment, His Holiness gave the four major empowerments as well as the vajra and bell empowerments.
At the conclusion of this extraordinary teaching, mandala offerings were presented to His Holiness by the Sakya Phuntsok Phodrang, Sakya Monastery, the Tibetan Association of Washington and the Vietnam Sakya Center. Sponsors and volunteers were recognized and presented with Kalachakra thangkas. Everyone then proceeded up to the throne to present His Holiness with a katag offering in appreciation for receiving such a precious teaching.
We are very grateful to H.H. the 42nd Sakya Trizin for his incomparable kindness in giving us a chance to receive this great blessing.