The Kalachakra and Theosophy

Kālachakra is a term in Vajrayana Buddhism, meaning wheel, or “time’s cycle.”

The book published as “The Voice of the Silence” by Helena P. Blavatsky, she notes, were but “chosen fragments” from a wider claimed Buddhist volume, called The Book of the Golden Precepts.

In it, the candidate is asked:

“Would’st thou become a Yogi of “Time’s Circle”? Then, O Lanoo: —

Believe thou not that sitting in dark forests, in proud seclusion and apart from men; believe thou not that life on roots and plants, that thirst assuaged with snow from the great Range — believe thou not, O Devotee, that this will lead thee to the goal of final liberation.” (The Voice of the Silence, Fragment II: The Two Paths, 1889.)

It is more probable, that the cause of Theosophy has an authentic connection to not only Buddhism, broadly speaking, but specifically the Buddhist Tantra material. Helena Blavatsky, a Russian/Ukrainian Buddhist always spoke about the formation of the Theosophical Society in New York, as apart of the mission and reform of famous Tibetan Buddhist teacher Je Tsongkapa (1357–1419).

It was to especially, educate the West about Buddhist teachings, but also to make known that a lost, but preserved  secret Wisdom-Tradition exists, and explains the mysteries of a long lost past, and tradition through Buddhas preceding Gautama’s time. This demonstrates that, the original mission of the Theosophical Society’s goes beyond the attempt to carry on the ideal of the Alexandrian Neoplatonists.

The Western world had no formal introduction to the Kalachakra at this time.

In Helena Blavatsky’s ‘Mystery of the Buddha’ (BCW XIV, pp. 388-99), she says, “What is given here is taken from the secret portions of Dus Kyi Khorlo (Kala Chakra, in Sanskrit, or the ‘Wheel of Time,’ or duration).” The Tibetan source for the “Cosmogenesis” and “Anthropogenesis” volumes of “The Secret Doctrine” H.P.B. claimed was the Stanzas of Dzyan, from the first volume of the Kiu-te commentaries; the former may be the lost Root Kalachakra Tantra, or Mula Kalachakra. The Stanzas of Dzyan (transcribed from Dhyana; Jap. Zen) are from the first section of the seven secret folios of the Kiu-te (cf. ‘The Secret Books of “Lam-Rim” and Dzyan’) or in Tibetan rGyud-sde (“Tantra Division”) — the title of the Kanjur. Blavatsky said that the esoteric volumes of the Kiu-te were kept secret under supervision of the Panchen Lama of Shigatse and was the study of the disciples of an Esoteric School.

The Voice of the Silence is specifically claimed to be a Yogacara text of a school of the esoteric Yogacaras; and the “chosen fragments from the ‘BOOK OF THE GOLDEN PRECEPTS’ – for the daily use of Lanoos (Disciples).” In 1925 the ninth Panchen Lama (Thubten Chökyi Nyima) officially endorsed the book and called it the “only true exposition in English of the Heart Doctrine of the Mahayana and its noble ideal of self-sacrifice for humanity.”

It was about “The Voice of The Silence” that famed Buddhist writer D.T. Suzuki said:

“Here is the REAL Mahayana Buddhism!” (see The Secret Doctrine of Dzyan)

Another text — the “Secret Book of Maitreya,” was made use by H.P.B.’s byang-chubs or “tchang-chubs” (i.e., mahatmas), K.H., Morya, and the Chief Chohan-Lama (who was ‘the Chief of the Archive-registrars of the secret Libraries of the Dalai and Ta-shü-hlumpo Lamas-Rimpoche’), who were part of this hidden School.

This Secret Book of Maitreya has been identified today as the Uttara-Tantra or Ratna-gotra-vibhāga (see When the Clouds Part: The Uttaratantra and Its Meditative Tradition as a Bridge between Sūtra and Tantra, translated and introduced by Karl Brunnhölzl, Snow Lion, 2014). This book was to be used as the bridge to the tantras. Note, that Tantric Mysticism does not refer to sex, as its symbols yab-yum or “father-mother” refer to the combination of method and wisdom in attaining bodhichitta, or the compassionate wish to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. Helena Blavatsky anticipated the reaction of the scholars to her work in The Secret Doctrine.

H.P. Blavatsky says in the Introductory to the The Secret Doctrine (1888):

“No one styling himself a ‘scholar,’ in whatever department of exact science, will be permitted to regard these teachings seriously. They will be derided and rejected a priori in this century; but only in this one. For in the twentieth century of our era scholars will begin to recognize that the Secret Doctrine has neither been invented nor exaggerated, but, on the contrary, simply outlined.”

100 years later, this happens with the research of David and Nancy Reigle in the 1970s.

Nobody believed Blavatsky in the 1880’s. On the Stanzas of Dzyan her magnus opus was based upon, she remarked:

“I cannot go and invent things; I am obliged to translate just as the stanzas give it in the book.”

“These facts take us well beyond the realm of probability. Blavatsky indeed had esoteric northern Buddhist sources” (David Reigle). There has been some successful and extensive research over the past few decades§.

The Dalai Lama wrote in 1989 when the centennial edition of The Voice of the Silence came out:

“I am therefore happy to have this long association with the Theosophists and to learn about the Centenary Edition: THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE which is being brought out this year. I believe that this book has strongly influenced many sincere seekers and aspirants to the wisdom and compassion of the Bodhisattva Path. I very much welcome this Centenary Edition and hope that it will benefit many more.”


§A close network of scholars have been conducting research on The Book of Dzyan. See —

[1] The Book of Dzyan – Prajna Quest Blog
[2] Eastern Tradition Research Institute

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