The Gathering of the Ancients, Why D.C. Why Now?
The Kalachakra was first given by Shakyamuni Buddha, the historical Buddha, in ancient India. A noble lineage has carried those sacred teachings directly from the Buddha to the present time. This past July, in this era of great world turmoil, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has chosen our nation’s Capitol, the epicenter of world politics and world changing events to again offer the historic Kalachakra empowerment for World Peace.
The highest and foremost of all tantric systems taught by The Buddha is none other than the Kalachakra transmission. During this event, in his continual mission to foster inter-faith respect and openness, the Dalai Lama hosted guest speakers from other faiths. There was an audio feed by Nelson Mandela, guest speakers such as the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, the son of Martin Luther King, Dr. Alexander Berzin, His Eminence Donald Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington D.C. and numerous Buddhist Luminaries.
Says the Dalai Lama, “We must distinguish between belief and respect. Belief refers to total faith, which you must have in your own religion. At the same time you should have respect for all other religions.” He has preformed the Kalachara empowerment more times than any other Dalai Lama in history.
Recognized Enlightened Beings, Precious Rinpoches, Lamas, Buddhist Monks and Nuns, and the lay public from over fifty countries attended. Among them was our own Precious Vajra Master, H.E. Dzogchen Khenpo Choga Rinpoche and a retinue of his students.
For ten days we prayed, learned, chanted and received empowerments from the Dalai Lama. We had the wonderful privilege to attend our precious Rinpoche, stroll the Tibetan Market set up on a nearby street, and receive direct and insightful private instructions from our own Vajra Master. During our time there, Khenpo Choga also gave a public Teaching hosted by the Quaker Meeting in Washington DC.
It was a truly humbling experience to see Rinpoches and Lamas from around the world defer to our precious Rinpoche. One elderly lama in particular offered an incredible insight when he personally got down on the floor and prostrated to Rinpoche. This was a small reminder what a blessing it is to be Khenpo’s student.
For those of us in attendance, each day was like a new blossom, bringing with it fresh insight and understanding. To receive this sacred empowerment alongside a plethora of splendid and colorful Tibetans gathered together at the nation’s Capitol for the sake of World Peace and the benefit of all beings was beyond meaningful
*Excerpts for this article came from several different sources including the Dalai Lama’s own website for the Kalachakra 2011.