Dearest Friends @ CASonline,


We are sending you one "fable" of MAHAKALA, the great Buddhist Protector in relation to CAS's coming programme in January 2007 by Palpung Khen Rinpoche Samten Gyatso --


The MAHAKALA Initiation, as is with the other three initiations, are extremely rare and precious and not easily available even within Tibetan monastic circles --


We should rightly consider ourselves unbelievably fortunate to be able to receive these unbelievably precious programmes from a Master, personally chosen and enthroned by HH the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa !!  



The full programme details are available from CAS's web site: --



Till, then, do keep ourselves busy with much mantras for good of all mother sentient beings instead of listless talks !! ( As advised by HE Garchen Rinpoche in Singapore a few years back !! )


"Namo Amitofuo !!"



bb & other interesting-mahakalas      @ CAS of Thousand-Arm Chenrezig





Initiation of Six-Arm Black Mahakala

Mahakala's typical blackness symbolizes his all-embracing, comprehensive nature, because it is the hue into which all other colors merge; it absorbs and dissolves them. Just as all colors disappear in black, so do all names and forms melt into that of Mahakala. Black is also the total absence of color, again signifying the nature of Mahakala as ultimate reality. This in Sanskrit is named as nirguna (beyond all quality and form). Either way, Mahakala's dark complexion represents his transcendence of all form. Kala however also means time. Etymologically, 'kala' means that which absorbs everything within itself (kalayati iti kala). Thus Mahakala is the cosmic nature of time, into which we will all dissolve in the course of time. He is the transcendent-time (maha-kala), absolute, eternal, measureless, and ever present.

This form is most favored by the Gelukpa and the Shangpa Kagyu Orders of Tibetan Buddhism and in this manifestation, Mahakala is considered to be the fierce and powerful emanation of Avalokiteshvara, the buddha of compassion.

It is very important that we know these symbols of Mahakala because many times we have mistaken notions that he may be a clinging spirit or harmful, evil being, perhaps even the Lord of Death ready to devour and attack. One would find great difficulty in relating to the various symbols without understanding that our awakened compassion is the essential quality of the being of Mahakala. 

Mahakala has never been known to harm one being, even in the slightest manner, because he is constantly benefiting beings through the continuous play of the enlightened mind.

He is adorned with the following symbolic attributes:

A crown of five skulls: This is worn by all manifestations of Mahakala and represents the transmutation of the five negative afflictions of human nature into positive virtues.

The Six Arms signify the successful completion of the six perfections (shad-paramita), which are practiced and brought to perfection by bodhisattvas during the course of their training.

The Protector's body is midnight blue, symbolic of the changeless Dharmakaya. 

His three eyes symbolize his knowledge of the past, present and future, and also the manifestation of the three bodies of Buddha

The crown adorned with five skulls symbolizes the transformation of the five poisons of anger, desire, ignorance, jealousy and pride into the five wisdoms. 

His six arms symbolize the attainment of the six Perfections:  generosity, patience, morality, diligence, meditation and wisdom.  The ritual curved knife, cuts attachment to ego. 

The kapala or skull bowl filled with blood symbolizes the subjugation of the maras or evil ones.  (An alternate interpretation can be found in other contexts.) 

The rosary symbolizes his continuous activity for the benefit of beings. 

The damaru or hand-drum symbolizes his power over the dakinis. (Also, different interpretations in other contexts.) 

His trident symbolizes his power over the three kayas -- the spheres of desire, form and formlessness.  (An alternate interpretation can also be found.) 

The lasso binds those who break their vows. 

His two feet are the means and the wisdom to accomplish his task. He tramples on a vinayaka, to symbolize his destruction and dispersal of great obstacles. 

The sun on which he stands symbolizes his illumination of the darkness of ignorance. 

His lotus seat symbolizes purity undefiled by samsara. 

The surrounding blazing fire symbolizes his activity that consumes neurotic states. 

The tiger skin stands for purification of desire; the elephant skin for purification of pride, and the snake, for the purification of anger. 

His other ornaments together symbolize that he has all the qualities of a Buddha. 

A Mahakala Fable


The Dhe-Tsang monastery, built in 1414 by a close disciple of Je Tsongkhapa is situated in the Gyalrong district of eastern Tibet. When its founder, Ngawang Drakpa, came to the region intending to build a monastery there, he realized that the place was special but couldn't decide on the best location to build the hermitage. At that very moment, a huge crow swooped down on him, picked off his scarf, and flew away with it. The monk hastened to follow the crow. Eventually, the garment was found hanging from the branches of a Juniper tree. Here it is relevant to observe that the crow is visualized in Tibetan Buddhism as an incarnation of Mahakala, whose name literally means the 'Great Black One.' Taking this occurrence to be an auspicious omen, Ngawang decided to build the monastery around the tree, which would itself serve as a natural pillar of the prayer hall.

During the actual construction of the monastery, the revered monk faced many obstructions from the local Bonpo masters who practiced a primitive form of shamanism and thus felt threatened by the unfolding of the Buddhist faith in Tibet. Whatever was constructed of the building during the day would collapse during the night. These mishaps were attributed to the black magic performed by the Bonpos. One day, when Ngawang Drakpa was contemplating the problem, the crow reappeared. Much relieved by its presence, the venerable monk wrote a letter to his guru Tsongkhapa in Lhasa, asking for help. The master in response to his pupil's plea then composed a practice brimming with spiritual potency and gave it the name: 'The Solitary Hero Vajra Bhairava Sadhana.' He gave it to the crow to deliver it to Ngawang Drakpa. When the latter received the manual he performed the practice immediately, which led to the subduing of all the leading Bonpo priests. This text later became one of the most significant one used in all Gelukpa monasteries and retains its popularity to the present day.

When the major part of construction was completed, the lama began to look for master sculptors who could create spiritually charged images for the retreat. One day, three black men came to the monastery and stayed there for some time. They later revealed that they were sculptors from India. Delighted on hearing this, Ngawang Drakpa eagerly sought their services in building the required deity statues. Of the three men from India, only one agreed to stay on and help. As per his promise, the sculptor created all the statues requested except that of Mahakala, which alas, was only half-finished when the day of inauguration arrived.

The celebrations for the occasion consisted of various ritual dance performances. At the end of the program, the Indian sculptor declared that he too wished to perform a dance for the contemplation of the audience and proceeded to enthrall them with an exceptionally energetic performance wearing a swirling costume and a large wrathful mask, leaving the viewers in raptures. Towards the conclusion of the dance, his physical form suddenly started to shrink until finally only the giant mask remained on the ground and there was no trace of the body of the dancer. Taken aback by the bizarre turn of events, the monks rushed to the chamber where the half finished statue of Mahakala lay. To their utter surprise, the statue was complete. The sculptor had merged with his creation, granting it an unparalleled spiritual potency.

The story does not end here however. Later they were informed that the two companions of the Indian sculptor, who had declined to stay on, had each made a Mahakala statue at two different monasteries and had likewise mysteriously disappeared into their respective creations. It was not long before the perceptive adepts realized that these sculptors were none other than the great god Mahakala in his various manifestations, incarnating himself as the savior and protector of monasteries. Thus at Ngawang's hermitage he was the Six-Armed Mahakala and had created a sculpture of himself with half-a-dozen hands. In a similar manner the other two had created icons of the Four-Armed and the White Mahakala respectively. Collectively, they were named the three Mahakala brothers and became vastly popular all over Tibet.

Though Mahakala's image is honored in all Tibetan monasteries, it is only at Dhe-Tsang that he is regarded as a living member of the sangha. Thus for example during offering ceremonies it is still customary for the chant leader to announce: "Do not forget the black man's share," and the same of what each monk receives is also set aside for Mahakala and presented to his sacred image. This tradition originated in the fact that when the so called 'black man from India' was sculpting the icons and was asked what he desired in return for his services replied "Only that much that is offered to the monks." When counting the number of residents at this exceptional monastery, this generous protector is also taken as a member.

Excerpted from wikipedia, De-Tshang, Geshe Damcho and Khenpo Karthar?s teachings.