The teachings of the Kalachakra were given by a mystical manifestation of the Buddha to those who were in a mystical state of purified karma and perception. Because of this, it therefore does not matter much whether or not any specific tantra in question was expounded during the life of the historical Buddha. However, in fact the Root Tantra of the Kalachakra was set forth by the Buddha himself during his lifetime.
On the fifteen day of the third month, one year after his enlightenment, Buddha Sakyamuni expounded the Prajnaparamita sutra on the Vulture’s Peak, thereby setting forth the second turning of the dharma wheel. Simultaneously, he manifested himself as the deity Kalachakra at the Sri Dhanyakataka Stupa in southern India and taught the Kalachakra Tantra.
The main recipient of the teaching was King Suchandra who was from the Kingdom of Shambhala. Returning to his kingdom he practiced and taught the Tantra to his subjects and descendants. Seven generations on, the practice was further propagated by King Yashas who became known as the first Kulika King who converted the whole population of Shambhala including the 35 million Brahmin sages, to becoming the exponents of the Kalachakra tantra.
In the tenth century, Mahasiddha Chilupa from Orissa, east India, set forth to Shambhala to receive the teachings of the Kalachakra. From him the teaching came down to Pindo Acharya, Narotapa and Atisha of India and to Rwa Chorab and Dro Lotsawa of Tibet. With the advent of Tantric Buddhism, the practice of the Kalachakra was introduced and taken up enthusiastically by the Tibetans.
Present day lineage holders of the Kalachakra Tantra include His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama who has given the empowerment of the Kalachakra many many times.
KALACHAKRA INITIATION BY HHDL (EATIMATED NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS)
- May 1954 Norbulingka, Lhasa, Tibet (100,000)
- Apr 1956 Norbulingka, Lhasa, Tibet (100,000)
- Mar 1970 Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh, India (30,000)
- Jan 1971 Bylakuppe, Karnataka, India (10,000)
- Dec 1974 Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India (100,000)
- Sep 1976 Leh, Ladakh, India (30,000)
- Jul 1981 Madison, Wisconsin, USA (1,500)
- Apr 1983 Dirang, Arunachal Pradesh, India (5,000)
- Aug 1983 Tabo - Spiti, Himachal Pradesh, India (10,000)
- Jul 1985 Rikon, Switzerland (6,000)
- Dec 1985 Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India (200,000)
- Jul 1988 Zanskar, Jammu & Kashmir, India (10,000)
- Jul 1989 Los Angeles, USA (3,300)
- Dec 1990 Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh, India (130,000)
- Oct 1991 New York, USA (3,000)
- Aug 1992 Kalpa - Kinnaur, Hiamchal Pradesh, India (20,000)
- Apr 1993 Gangtok, Sikkim, India (100,000)
- July 1994 Jispa - Keylong, Himachal Pradesh, India (30,000)
- Dec 1994 Barcelona, Spain (3,000)
- Jan 1995 Mundgod, Karnataka, India (50,000)
- Aug 1995 Ulan Bator, Mongolia (30,000)
- Jun 1996 Tabo - Spiti, Hiamchal Pradesh, India (20,000)
- Sep 1996 Sydney, Australia (3,000)
- Dec 1996 Salugara, West Bengal, India (200,000)
- Aug 1999 Bloomington, Indiana, USA (4,000)
- Aug 2000 Kyi - Spiti, Himachal Pradesh, India (25,000)
- Oct 2002 Graz, Austria (10,000)
- Jan 2003 Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India (200,000)
- Apr 2004 Toronto, Canada (8,000)
- Jan 2006 Amarvati, Andhra Pradesh, India (100,000)
- Jul 2011 Washington, DC, USA (8,000)
- Jan 2012 Bodhgaya, Bihar, India (200,000)
- Jul 2014 Leh (Ladakh), Jammu & Kashmir, India (25,000)