Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings


Melen, Christopher John 2006. Kalachakra. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.

[thumbnail of U584037.pdf] PDF - Accepted Post-Print Version
Download (31MB)


The title of the piece is Sanskrit, and derives from Tibetan Buddhism (of which I am a practitioner). It is usually translated as 'wheel of time', or 'time-cycles'. The Kalachakra tradition represents a vast and profound body of teachings on the nature of time and the cosmos. Its central image is that of reality as a system of interlocking and interdependent time-cycles or 'wheels', from the cosmic scale of the stars, planets and seasons right down to the intimate periodicities of the human body: 'As above, so below'. This 'macrocosm-microcosm' time-structure is what I have tried to reflect in my piece. The piece is not meant, however, as a literal musical description of this cosmological model: rather it should be viewed as a metaphor, a parallel but ultimately musical process, obeying purely musical laws of attraction and repulsion, creation and destruction. Although Buddhism is not theistic in the conventional sense, it has a pantheon of sorts, with time personified in the form of the deity Kalachakra, a figure somewhat parallel to Shiva within the Hindu tradition ('Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds'). If the piece is illustrative in any sense then it is illustrative of the creative and destructive processes at work in the universe, but viewed here in a special sense as the body and limbs of the Adi-Buddha ('Cosmic Buddha'), the deity Kalachakra.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Music
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
ISBN: 9781303170843
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 12 Feb 2016 23:14

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics