Kalachakra Pilgrimage Mongolia Tour 2022
Join us on this once in a lifetime journey with Khentrul Rinpoché and Vesna Wallace into the heart of Mongolia. During this 16-day pilgrimage participants will study and practice the pinnacle of the Buddha Dharma while on an immersive journey to the countries most sacred sites.
We will start in the beautiful forest outside of Ulaanbaatar, where Khentrul Rinpoche will bestow the Kalachakra empowerment. Then Vesna Wallace, a renowned scholar in the Kalachakra Tantra and Mongolian Shamanic Buddhism, will guide us with teachings and stories about the country’s rich spiritual tradition into the Gobi desert to meet the Shambhala Oracle.
At Khamar Monastery in the Gobi desert, we will pray at Dvanaraja’s Shambhala land. Mongolians consider Shambhala Land to be an energy portal symbolically linked to the sublime realm of Shambhala. Mongolians journey here from all over to pray for a better future rebirth in Shambhala. After exploring the nearby meditation caves, we will hike one of the most sacred mountains of Mongolia known as the wish-fulfilling mountain.
Our journey continues to the oldest Monastery in Mongolia, Erdene Zuu where we will retreat and receive Kalachakra teachings. For students who are qualified, Khentrul Rinpoche will bestow the Higher Empowerment of Kalachakra as well as the transmission of the 3 Isolations practice. He will give teachings on the path of the 6 vajra yogas throughout the retreat.
To deepen our connection with the lineage, we will visit the Shank Monastery, established by Zanzabar – the reincarnation of Jonang master Jetsun Taranatha and the first Jetsun Dhampa (Buddhist head of Mongolia). We will conclude our tour back in the main capital, seeing the key religious sites and enjoying an authentic Mongolia cultural evening of Cham dancing and throat singing.
Cost: AUD $5500 (Includes accommodation, all teachings, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Airfare to Mongolia is not included.)
The tour includes:
- 15 night stay in Mongolia
- Daily guided meditations and reflections guided by Spiritual Director, Khentrul Rinpoche and Senior students
- Kalachakra Empowerment (Initiation), Vajra Vega Empowerment and Higher Empowement* *depending on approval
- Authentic traditional accommodations, all meals included
Who can come?
Pilgrimage, Kalachakra Empowerment, and retreat is open to everyone.
Higher Empowerment and 3 Isolations (Wen-Sum) Transmission is open to previous Kalachakra Initiations by an application.
Day 1 (4th August) – Arrival in Ulaanbaatar
After participants have arrived, they will be transported into the beautiful national park of Terijl. Once everyone is settled in, we will have dinner together. At an evening teaching, Khentrul Rinpoche will open the Kalachakra ceremony with offerings to the earth goddesses and give teachings on taking the empowerment.
Day 2 (5th August) – Merit Generation + Kalacakra Empowerment Evening Ceremony
Breakfast then to the Kalachakra grounds where we will engage in a variety of activities such as torma making, ritual dances, and offering making. In the evening, Khentrul Rinpoche we will have another Kalachakra ceremony and teaching
Day 3 & 4 (6-7th August) – Kalachakra Empowerment
Khentrul Rinpoche will bestow the Kalachakra Empowerment to our group and Mongolians.
Day 5 (8th August) – Travel to Khamar Monastery
Breakfast then off to the Gobi Desert. We will check in to a traditional ger gamp. Vesna Wallace will give a teaching on Mongolian Buddhism.
Day 6 (9th August) – Vajra Vega Empowerment at Shambhala Land
Breakfast then to visit the sacred space of Shambhala land where Khentrul Rinpoche will bestow the Vajra Vega Empowerment and teach on Shambhala. We will together recite the praises to Shambhala. We will visit the surrounding meditation caves and schedule permitting, we will meet the Shambhala Oracle.
Day 7 (10th August) – Wish-fulfilling Mountain
After breakfast, we will take a short drive to the most famous Gobi mountain associated with religious beliefs and rituals – Khan Bayanzurkh. This mountain has many other names, such as Wish-fulfilling Mountain, Relic mountain, Black Mountain, wish-fulfilling Jewel Mountain. We will hike and partake in the mountain ritual. Vesna will give teachings on Mongolia and Kalachakra tantra. Then we travel back to Ulaanbaatar
Day 8 (11th August) – Travel to Karakorum and Erdene Zuu
We will travel to Erdene Zuu, the oldest monastery in Mongolia, established by the grandfather of the first Jetsun Dhampa at the encouragement of the 3rd Dalai Lama. We will explore Karakorum and Erdene Zuu’s magnificent ring of stupas and settle in for our retreat. Vesna will give teachings on Mongolia and Kalachakra Tantra.
Day 9 (12th August) – Higher Empowerment or Transmissions
Today our group will split in two, one to do the innate Kalachakra retreat and the other to practice wen-sum (3 Isolations). Khentrul Rinpoche will bestow the Higher Empowerment to qualified students. Students in the Innate Kalachakra retreat will receive any necessary transmissions and blessings to commence their retreat.
Day 10 -13 (13-16th August) – Kalachakra Retreat
These 2 group retreats will consist of four practice sessions each day either focused on the Innate Kalachakra or wen-sum. One evening teaching by Khentrul Rinpoche with the aim of becoming familiar with the practices.
Day 14 (17th August) Shank Monastery and Travel to Ulaanbaatar
Not very far from Erdene Zuu, we will journey to the place where the First Bogd Jebtsundampa meditated (reincarnation of Jetsun Taranatha). It is on the top of a mountain and there is a small temple and cave. It is a very beautiful place. We will explore areas of Kharkhorin and journey back to Ulaanbaatar.
Day 15 (18th August) – Explore Ulaanbaatar
We will visit Buddhist and cultural sites around the capital. In the evening, we will complete our tour watching Mongolian cham dancing and throat singing.
Day 16 (19th August) – Retreat Completed
We will check out of the hotel and make our way home.
Food & Accomodations
Mongolian diet is typically meat and dairy-based. We have arranged for a vegetarian trip. The food will range from simple to more extravagant based on where we are staying.
Some Pictures provided:
As we travel around Mongolian, we will be staying in a mix of modern hotels, ger camps, and huts. In Ulaanbaatar, rooms will have western toilets and hot water. Gers are traditional round Mongolian tents. None of the gers have an attached bathroom, and the toilet can sometimes be 100 to 200 feet from your tent. It is rare that a ger has one big bed, so couples will mostly sleep in two twin beds within the gers. Rooms are either a twin share or a dorm-style.
If you are traveling with a friend and would like to stay with them, please write in and request. We will do what we can to keep you together.
The price for this journey is $5500 AUD per person (shared occupancy).
A non-refundable $1100 deposit holds your space. We will email you an invoice (via PayPal) at least a week before each due date.
|Payment #1 (20% – non-refundable)||AUD$1100||Paid at registration|
|Payment #2 (40%)||AUD$2220||1st of April|
|Payment #3 (40%)||AUD$2220||15th of June|
Methods of Payment
You can make payments for this tour via any of the following methods:
- Credit Card or Paypal: Check out on the form below
- Direct Debit: Tibetan Buddhist rime Institute Inc. Bank: ANZ. BSB: 013-479
Account: 4944-47223 (Please include your surname as a reference)
- Wire Transfer: Acc: Tibetan Buddhist Rime Institute. Bank: ANZ. Branch: Upper Ferntree Gully, Victoria Australia. Swift Code: ANZBAU3M. BSB:013 457. Account No: 4944 47223
- Check out on this website, with the non-refundable AUD$110 using one of the methods described above.
- Once we have confirmed the payment, we will contact you via email to confirm your registration.
- Kalachakra Empowerment(s) from Khentrul Rinpoche
- Innate Kalachakra Retreat or Wen-Sum Kalachakra Retreat
- Kalachakra and Mongolian Buddhist Teachings from Vesna Wallace
- 3 Meals per day
- All transportation within Mongolia, including airport pickup and drop off
- All accommodation (a mix of hotels and ger eco-camps)
- All meals
- All site entrance fees
- All tips at hotels and restaurants
- Mongolian cultural performance
- A visit to a well-renowned oracle (his schedule permitting)
Price does not include:
- International airfare
- Mongolian visa fee if needed
- Travel and health insurance
- Photography fees at sites
- Tip to local guide and driver
- Dana to Teachers, Rinpoche or Oracle
- Beverages in addition to water
Who Can Attend
There are no prerequisites and afterward no commitments other than the ones you choose to take. This path is flexible; it allows you to engage with it wherever you are at. The empowerment can be taken as a blessing or empowerment. The refuge, bodhisattva, tantric vows and uncommon vows of Kalachakra will be given along with the initiation for those taking this as empowerment.
Kalachakra brings peace to oneself and the world as we learn to harmonize our environment with our body & mind. Kalachakra, which means wheel of time, transcends religions time, space and perceived reality. It is the essence that makes up our very nature. It harmonizes the cosmic, with our internal system and the enlightened mind. Unlike many Buddhist tantras, Kalachakra is very detailed giving insight and direction to help anyone of any religious tradition realize their true nature. This teaching helps us move past habitual limitations to unleash our limitless potential of love & compassion.
The Kalachakra is the most comprehensive tantric practice in Buddhism. All the lineages in Tibet practice the creation phase of the Kalachakra, but the Jonang lineage has studied and practiced both the generation and completion stages in a continuous unbroken lineage from the 13th century to the present. The Kalachakra Tantra was the first teaching of the Buddha to discuss the Kingdom of Shambhala which is devoted solely to help unite people of all religions and creeds to develop a second golden age of world peace and harmony on our planet earth.
Complete System to Enlightenment
The Tibetan Buddhist Jonang Lineage specializes in the complete path that guides students in a clear step-by-step system to enlightenment. It is known specifically for upholding the 6 vajra yogas. It has never been taught in its entirety to lay (non-monastic) practitioners in the West. Most of the Jonang yogis have remained practicing in their monasteries and caves in the Himalayas. Khentrul Rinpoche, inspired by His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s effort to initiate so many students, has made it his life’s mission to bring these teachings to the West in English. He is creating the conditions for lay practitioners to realize the heart essence of these profound teachings in this lifetime and usher in the golden age of peace and harmony (Dzokden).
In order for Khentrul Rinpoché to bestow the profound pith instructions of the Kalachakra Completion Stage, it is necessary to first establish a sincere and stable relationship with him as your primary Vajra Master by receiving the Four Higher Empowerments. To help Rinpoché evaluate if you are ready to engage in these advanced practices, please read through the requirements very carefully and then fill out the form that follows.
1. Faith in the Kalachakra Path as Your Primary Path
The Higher Empowerments are only given to those disciples who have a sincere desire to achieve enlightenment in this life or the next through the practice of the Kalachakra Path. This level of commitment must arise from a clear understanding of what the path entails and why it is capable of producing the result of enlightenment. You can develop this faith by studying the path as presented in Khentrul Rinpoché’s books. At the Completion Stage level, you will need to make the Kalachakra Path your primary focus and make all other practices secondary.
2. Faith in Khentrul Rinpoché as Your Primary Vajra Master
Unlike the Generation Stage empowerments, Khentrul Rinpoché will only give the Higher Empowerment to students who have the intention of practicing the Six Vajra Yogas under his direct guidance. This level of practice requires a strong devotion towards the Vajra Master in order to really be effective; therefore, you should strengthen your faith in Rinpoché by listening to his teachings and reading his books as much as possible before requesting the Higher Empowerments. While Rinpoché does not need to be your only teacher, you will need to follow his advice above all others.
3. Understand the Nature of Tantric Samaya
While tantric Samaya is important at any stage of the Vajrayana, it is particularly powerful as support for the Completion Stage practices. In order to ensure that you are able to keep your Samaya as purely as possible, it is important that you are familiar with Rinpoché’s teachings on how to work with a Vajra Master. Failure to follow his guidelines could result in a breach of Samaya which would generate enormously negative karma for you and would dramatically reduce Rinpoché’s capacity to benefit sentient beings in this life. Therefore, please read the following chapters from Rinpoché’s book Unveiling Your Sacred Truth:
Book Two: Chapter 3 — How to Follow an Authentic Dharma Teacher
Book Three: Chapter 2 — Cultivating Devotion Towards a Vajra Master
4. Strong Foundations in the Kalachakra Preliminaries
In order to authentically practice the Six Vajra Yogas, it is necessary to have established at least a basic level of realization in both the common and uncommon preliminaries. How much time should be spent on the preliminaries will depend on each individual and the current stage of their development. To learn more about where to focus your energy, you should refer to the guidelines presented in “How to Practice the Kalachakra Path”. The more integrated the preliminaries are in your mind, the more effective you will be able to practice the Kalachakra Completion Stage.
Advice for Travel
You are responsible to book your own international flights. To arrange your airport pickup and dropoff you will need to send a copy of your flight itinerary.
When must I arrive in Ulaanbaatar?
Flights typically arrive in the morning to Ulaanbaatar, so we’ve planned the first day accordingly. We do recommend arriving on the morning of August 6th, the first day of the tour at the latest. We may be taking a bus the next morning to a destination over 7 hours away. If you wish to arrive early, we can help you with hotel reservations.
What time should I book my departing flight from Ulaanbaatar?
The trip is technically finished after breakfast although most flights will leave early in the morning before breakfast is served.
If you wish to stay on and continue your independent exploration of Mongolia, please plan your own trip.
First and foremost, your passport MUST be valid at least 6 months beyond the end date of the trip, and you’ll need two empty pages in the Visas section of your passport (make sure they are in the Visa section, not the Amendment or Endorsement section). Most countries require a visa for Mongolia. Please check with your local Mongolian embassy for details.
What To Bring
Traveling to Mongolia can be a challenging yet wonderful experience. It is essential that you familiarise yourself with local customs and international laws.
There are no required vaccines to enter Mongolia. You can read the American CDC’s recommendations here and the UK’s NHS recommendations here. We advise you to check with your local doctor to decide what is best for you.
It is useful to bring a small first aid pack which includes:
Nausea and diarrhea medicine, travel sickness tablets, glucose powder, paracetamol tablets, saline eyewash, cold and flu tablets, mosquito repellent, sunscreen and any other supplies you feel you may need or have been advised to bring. We will not be at high altitude but Mongolia is al at an altitude that can generate sickness in some people. If you are sensitive to an altitude above 1800 meters prepare.
Check with the Mongolian Embassy if you are concerned about any medication you need to bring with you.
We suggest medical insurance which includes evacuation and trip cancellation insurance, as well, as you never know what obstacles life can toss at you leading up to a trip. However, we do not require this coverage, we only suggest it highly. We will be in remote areas that may not have a modern medical facility. Please plan accordingly.
Arriving in Mongolia in August, the temperature is +25°C to +38°C during daytime and +8°C to +20°C at nights until 15 August. The temperature cools down +10°C to +15°C after 15 August. In the Gobi desert, the temperature is more erratic and the weather can change rapidly.
When attending the teachings, you will require something to sit on, so bring a meditation cushion with you and a plastic sheet in case it rains. You will most definitely need insect repellent. Other items which will come in handy are umbrella, sunscreen, towel, hat, sunglasses, toilet paper/tissues, batteries, headlamp, camera, SD card for extra storage, torch, chargers, adaptors, pen, paper/writing book, favorite snack food, access to $500 for extra food and miscellaneous expenses.
We recommend drinking only bottled water, and you will want to rinse your toothbrush off in bottled water. Bottled and boiled water will be available throughout the trip.
You can either exchange cash in Mongolia or use local ATMs. It’s best to bring some with you as we won’t have time to exchange money in many places. All of your meals and transportation are covered, so you just need personal spending money.
For most of the trip, there will not be wifi available. You will have wifi at our hotel in Ulaanbaatar.
To get the most out of the retreat section you will need a copy of the Profound Path of Vajra Yoga. You are advised to purchase a copy in advance from our store or in the USA at store.dzokden.org as we will not have extras with us on the trip.
Profound Path of Vajra Yoga
This prayer book contains the traditional Jonang Kalachakra preliminary (ngondro) practice materials in English with transliterated Tibetan. Two complete sadhanas, the traditional lineage sadhana of the Divine Ladder and Khentrul Rinpoche’s version Enlightening the Heart are included along with a wide variety of lineage prayers and supplications.
There is no required preparation. If you want to familiarize your mind with any of the material related to the trip we have selected a few of the text.
Unveiling Your Sacred Truth 1, 3 or 3 by Khentrul Rinpoche
The Kalachakra Path offers a profound method for actualising your greatest potential and contributing to greater peace and harmony within this world. For the first time ever, this extraordinary path is revealed in a step-by-step manner, allowing students to gradually approach this uniquely comprehensive system in a structured and methodical way.
Hidden Treasure of the Profound Path By Khentrul Rinpoche
In this direct and clear commentary on Jetsun Taranatha’s classic text “The Divine Ladder”, Khentrul Rinpoché reveals the profound methods which have been used by Kalachakra masters for hundreds of years to achieve extraordinary realisations. Through these practices, you will be guided in a step-by-step manner through a process of transformation that allows you to gradually experience your greatest potential in this very lifetime.
The Inner Kalachakra Tantra
Translated by Vesna Wallace The Kalacakratantra, the latest and most comprehensive Buddhist Tantra available in its original Sanskrit, has never been the topic of a full-scale scholarly study. This fascinating volume fills that gap, concentrating on the inner Kalackaratantra and discussing the nature of human beings.
The Kalachakra Tantra: The Chapter on Sadhana
Translated by Vesna Wallace This is the first complete English translation of the fourth chapter of the esoteric Buddhist Kalacakra Tantra text and its eleventh-century commentary, the Stainless Light (Vimalaprabha).
Rules and Conditions
Requirements for Kalachakra Practice
You will need to have a copy of “Divine Ladder” written by Khentrul Rinpoche. It is preferable that you have a mandala set, however, it is not compulsory. It would also be beneficial to have a copy of “Hidden Treasure” a commentary on the Divine Ladder as well as Sacred Truth book 3. These items are available online at www.dzokden.org
- Mobile phones should be kept to a minimum. Other technologies should be left at home where possible
- The rooms are for at least 2 persons.
- All meals are included in the tour costs and are pre-ordered. If you have any special requests please contact your tour guide representative the day before.
- Please be punctual and attend all sessions where possible
- Out of respect for the teachers, we ask that participants attend all sessions
- It is recommended that any personal items be kept in a locked bag. The Tibetan Buddhist Rime Institute cannot be held responsible for any items left around the property that is stolen or damaged.
- Please be prepared for the Gobi desert. Pack electrolytes to prevent heatstroke. The Tibetan Buddhist Rime Institute cannot be held responsible for any injury incurred.
Food Or Medical Issues
If you have a serious food allergy or medical condition we should know about please inform us by email to discuss as soon as possible.
This is not a strenuous trip. We will be driving for several multi-hour stretches times on this trip, so guests should be able to sit in a vehicle for up to 5 hours at a time (although we can stop for bathroom breaks and leg-stretching along the way). At times, during the Kalachakra practice retreat, we will be sitting on the ground for hours at a time. It is unknown how many of the facilities will have chairs as this is not common in the nomadic culture.
Traditionally, an offering is made to the teacher at the conclusion of the Tour (please note that this is entirely optional) as a gesture of appreciation. You can offer whatever you think is appropriate. However, here are a few suggestions – a card, flowers, money, food or other items. A Tibetan offering scarf (khata) is given to the teacher for a blessing as part of the ceremony and can be borrowed or purchased from retreat volunteers or you may like to bring your own.
Khentrul RinpocheNon-Sectarian Master of Kalachakra
Khentrul Rinpoché Jamphel Lodrö is the founder and spiritual director of Dzokden. Rinpoche is the author of Unveiling Your Sacred Truth, The Great Middle Way: Clarifying the Jonang View of Other-Emptiness, A Happier Life, and The Hidden Treasure of the Profound Path.
Rinpoche spent the first 20 years of his life herding yak and chanting mantras on the plateaus of Tibet. Inspired by the bodhisattvas, he left his family to study in a variety of monasteries under the guidance of over twenty-five masters in all the Tibetan Buddhist traditions. Due to his non-sectarian approach, he earned himself the title of Rimé (unbiased) Master and was identified as the reincarnation of the famous Kalachakra Master Ngawang Chözin Gyatso. While at the core of his teachings is the recognition that there is great value in the diversity of all spiritual traditions found in this world; he focuses on the Jonang-Shambhala tradition. Kalachakra (wheel of time) teachings contain profound methods to harmonize our external environment with the inner world of body and mind, ultimately bringing about the golden age of peace and harmony (dzokden).
Vesna WallaceKalachakra and Mongolian Buddhist Scholar
Vesna A. Wallace is a senior Professor of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her fields of specialization are Indian Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna Buddhist traditions and Mongolian Buddhism. She has authored and translated four books related to Indian Buddhism, three of which pertain to the Kālacakra tantric tradition in India, published an edited on Mongolian Buddhism titled Buddhism in Mongolian History, Culture, and Society and more than seventy articles on Indian and Mongolian forms of Buddhism. Her most recent book, which is currently in the press by Oxford University Press, is an edited volume titled Sources of Mongolian Buddhism, and her forthcoming, co-authored book is The Text, Image, and Imagination in Mongolian Buddhist Rituals, which will be published by Columbia University Press.