Blue Annals (deb-ther sngon-po)

by George N. Roerich | 1949 | 382,646 words | ISBN-10: 8120804716 | ISBN-13: 9788120804715

This page relates ‘Date of the Kalacakra-tantra’ of the Blue Annals (deb-ther sngon-po)—An important historical book from the 15th century dealing with Tibetan Buddhism and details the spiritual doctrine and lineages of religious teachers in Tibet. This chapter belongs to Book 10 (The Kalacakra).

Chapter 2 - Date of the Kālacakra-tantra

In the Vimalaprabhā[1] it is said:

Here the fixing of chronological calculations (byed pa la nges pa): In 600 years from the time of the Tathāgata-the period of Mañjuśrī (‘jam dpal); in 800 years from that time-the era of the Mlecchas;[2] by lowering the era of the Mlecchas by 182 years, (one obtains) the time of rigs ldan rgyal dka',[3] during which Kulika Durjaya introduced the "lesser" chronology (mentioned in the Kālacakra).[4]

This date should be regarded as a correct calculation based on the era of the Mlecchas.

"The past Prabhāva year, etc. " mean the cycles of sixty years of which the first was the Prabhāva (rab byung) year (me yos, Fire-Hare year, 1027 A.D.) and which (are designated) as “Prabhāva and others."[5]

Each period of sixty years, which preceded the present years (were called) the "past Prabhāva."1223 Basing themselves on the above quotation, most of the later scholars maintained that the time of the appearance of the Kālacakra in Madhyadeśa corresponded to the beginning of the first cycle (rab byung) of the "past" years ('das lo). But it seems to me that the Kālacakra had appeared in Āryadeśa long before that time, for in the Sahajasaṃvarasādhana[6] composed by the mahāsiddha (Vajra)ghaṇṭapāda is found the second śloka of the introductory (1a) verse of the Vimalaprabhā: " (He) was impressed by the Bhagavatī Prajñā,[7] which though formless, yet has a form." (rnam par bcas kyang rnam med bcom ldan 'das shes rab ma ste de yis 'khyud).

Also because after Ghaṇṭapāda (came) rus sbal zhabs. [8] He (transmitted it) to dza lan dha ri pa;[9] the latter to Kṛṣṇapāda (nag po pa); the latter to Bhadrapāda (bzang po zhabs); the latter to Vijayapāda (rNam rgyal iabs); the latter to Tilli-pa;[10] the latter to Nā-ro-pa. Thus from Ghaṇṭa(pāda) till Nā-ro-pa there have been eight teachers in the Line. Also because Nā-ro-pa and Kālacakrapāda, father and son, were contemporaries.

Further, because it is said in the gshin rje gshed kyi 'khor lo'i gsal byed,[11] composed by Śrī Virūpa, that he had written the text basing himself on the Kālacakra.

Also because, when relating the story of tsi lu pa’s[12] search for the Kālacakra, it was said that the ācārya had read (it) in the vihāra of Ratnagiri (rin chen ri bo) which had been left undamaged by the Turuṣkas, and was of the opinion that, in general, for the (attainment) of Enlightenment the Mahāyāna Guhyamantra (gsang sngags) was necessary, and that the text had to be studied with the help of the commentary by the Bodhisattvas. Accordingly he proceeded in search of the Kālacakra.[13] Thus it has to be admitted that the system of Kālacakra seems to have reached Āryadeśa at an early date, and that (the system) became known to many people in the time of Kālacakrapāda, father and son.

The statement by glan bang so ba and others that the first translation (of the Kālacakra) into Tibetan was that of gyi jo, seems too be correct, because the coming of the paṇḍita Somanātha (zla ba mgon po) took place in the later life of gra pa mngon shes, who said that in his youth he had heard the Kālacakra from (his) uncle. 

Footnotes and references:


Vimalaprabhā-nāma- -mūla-tantrānusārinīdvādaśasāhaśrīkālaghukālacakratantrarājaṭīkā, Tg. rgyud, '347; also Kg. rgyud 'bum, No. 845.


The starting year of the Kālacakra chronology is the first year of the Hijra, calculated from the year 624 A. D., instead of 622 A. D.


Kulika Durjaya


Kulika Durjaya is said to have introduced the system of calculations kn wn as byed pa'i rtsis in 806 A.D.


According to some authorities the Kālacakra-Tantra was preached by the Buddha in his 80th year at Śrī Dhānya-kaṭaka (Amarāvatī in the Sattenapalle Tāluka of Guṇṭūr District, Madras) upon the request of Sucandra (zla bzang ). According to bu ston rin po che the Buddha preached the Kālacakra system in the year of his Enlightenment (see dus' khor chos 'byung, fol. 13a, volume IV /ṅa/ of the "Collection of Works," or gsung 'bum). According to him the "statement made by some that the Buddha had preached it (the Kālacakra) in the year of his passing into Nirvāṇa at Śrī Dhānya-kaṭaka should be rejected." 1223 The past Vibhava, past Śukla, etc.


Tg. rgyud, No. 1436.










This is the Yamāriyantrāvali, Tg. rgyud, No. 2022.




So the Kālacakra must have been in existence at that time.

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