In recent years many Westerners have become acquainted with this tradition as various lamas have given the Kalachakra Initiation to large groups of people. I myself have given it several times in Western countries, as well as in India and Tibet. Such initiation are given on the basis of a mandala, the sacred residence with its residence deities, usually depicted in graphic form . The tradition I follow employs a mandala constructed of colored sand which is carefully assembled prior to each initiation and dismantled once more at the end.
Due to their colorful and intricate nature, mandalas have attracted a great deal of interest. Although some can be openly explained, most are related to tantric doctrines that are normally supposed to be kept secret.
Consequently, many speculative and mistaken interpretations have circulated among people who viewed them simply as works of art or had no access to reliable explanations. Because the severe misunderstandings that can arise are more harmful than a partial lifting of secrecy, I have encouraged a greater openness in the display and accurate description of mandalas."
HH Dalai Lama,
'The Kalachakra tantra, rite of initiation'