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Kalachakra is depicted in sexual union (yab-yum) with his consort, Vishvamata, the mother of all beings.
Kalachakra has four heads, with three eyes in each head. His hair is tied up in a double knot. He has twenty-four arms and each hand holds a different Buddhist symbol. His two main arms are crossed around the waist of his consort Vishvamata and each of his main hand holds a vajra (dorje).
Vishvamata also has four heads, each one has three eyes. She has eight arms and each hand also holds a Buddhist symbol. In her two front hands she holds a Vajra (Dorje) and a Bell (Ghanta). The Dorje symbolizes the male principle and the clear essence of reality that is the basis of everything. The Bell symbolizes the female principle and is a representation of profound wisdom. When unified in a ceremony of ritual prayer, they form a symbol of incorruptible purity that no force can destroy.
The imagery of yab-yum is very significant in tantra because it symbolizes the union of great bliss and profound wisdom. This union represents the experience of enlightenment, the result of the tantric meditations. The teachings of the Kalachakra are very complex and the visualizations using the yab-yum are meant for advanced meditators.
In the hidden kingdom of Shambala, it is said that its inhabitants practiced Tantric Buddhism based on the Kalachakra system. They fused time and timelessness into a non-dualistic view of absolute reality. This Tantric practice is most important to the Gelugpa school with whom it is most closely associated. His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama is part of the Gelug or "Yellow Hat" school of Tibetan Buddhism.
Kalachakra refers to a vast system of spiritual exercises said to be taught by the Buddha more than 2,500 years ago in India and also is the name of the principal yidam (meditational deity) in this system. Kalachakra is part of wider system of practices in Tibetan Buddhism called tantra.
Tantra refers to specific methods in Vajrayana Buddhism that utilize a chosen yidam to bring about a positive result. Yidams, such as the Kalachakra deity, represent both enlightenment and particular qualities of the enlightened mind that the meditator is trying to cultivate. Specifically, the Kalachakra deity, with its many faces, hands, and ritual implements, symbolizes the ability to handle all situations at any time. Kalachakra is shown trampling figures, which represents overcoming the forces of ignorance, anger, and greed.