Kalchakra is a Sanskrit word for “Wheel of Time.” It is a complete, elaborately detailed, cosmology. It is founded in a tantric cosmogony – a traditional sacred explanation of the creation and structure of all. In the description, the microcosm that is man is not different from the macrocosm that is the Universe. Besides these two very complex “maps” – one outside us, the other inside us, there is given a method – a way to practice and apply this knowledge, in order to achieve ultimate happiness. Kalachakra can also be translated, the Cycle of Time. It is the name of a highest level tantra and also the name of the dark blue male deity, whose golden consort is Vishvamata (Mother of the Universe.) The teaching of it, which is preparatory to the initiation, requires the construction of an intricate Mandala, and to do it is an extensive undertaking.
Perhaps the most admired and discussed symbol of Buddhist religion and art is the Mandala, a word which, like guru and yoga, has become part of the English language. Its popularity is underscored by the use of the word Mandala as a synonym for sacred space in scholarship (the) world over, and by its presence in English – language dictionaries and encyclopedias. Both broadly define Mandalas as geometric designs intended to symbolize the universe, and reference is made to their use in Buddhist and Hindu practices.
The word Mandala itself if derived from the root Manda, which means essence, to which the suffix – la, meaning container, has been added. Thus, one obvious connotation of Mandala is that it is a container of essence. As an image, a Mandala may symbolize both the mind and the body of the Buddha. In esoteric Buddhism the principle in the Mandala is the presence of the Buddha in it, but images of deities are not necessary. They may be presented either as a wheel, a tree, or a jewel, or in any other symbolic manifestation.
Mandala (literally meaning a circle) is a tantric mediation device. It is a visual aid for concentration and introversive mediation leading to the attainment of insights and to activation of forces culminating in "Siddhi" supernatural forces. The Mandala is a graphic representation to this process. There are many types and varieties of Mandalas depending on the nature of the central deity. The square of the " Sacred Palace " proper is enclosed in multiple circles of flame (lotus, fire, water and soon), Vajra, eight cemetrics (appears only in wrathful deities), then the inner square to reach of the deity of the Mandala. It is reported that in the year after Buddha Shakyamuni attained Enlightenment, he was asked by King Chandrabhadra of Shambhala to teach the Kalacakratantra. The Buddha manifested himself in the form of the Kalacakra meditational deity in south India and gave the full teachings and initiation of this tantra. The Kalachakra teaching was then transmitted through a lineage of seven kings and 25 propagators.
The Mandala of Kalachakra has three major squares and corresponding entrance gates. The mandala has been elaborately described in Nispannayoganali of Abhayakaragupta. The Mandala, according to the Nispannayogavli, has more than seven hundred deities standing or seated holding various emblema. There are 2 ways of presenting Kalachakra. The first one is to represent all the deities in the proper order according to the text and while the other is to depict the Mandala in symbols of animals, and flowers. Examples of such Kalachakra Mandala paintings can be found in the Potala palace and in the Musee Guiment Collection show the divinities in figures, but even there the artist finds it impossible to describe in the text.