Shambhala

In Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhist tradition, Shambhala (Sanskrit: शम्भलः Śambhalaḥ, also spelled Shambala or Shamballa; Tibetan: བདེ་འབྱུང, Wylie: Bde'byung; Chinese: 香巴拉; pinyin: Xiāngbālā) is a mythical kingdom. The kingdom is said to be laid out in precisely the same form as an eight-petalled lotus blossom surrounded by a chain of snow mountains. At the centre lies the palace of the King of Shambala who governed from the city called Kalapa. Shambhala is also often called Shangri-la in some texts. [2]

Shambhala is mentioned in various ancient texts, including the Kalacakra Tantra[3] and the ancient Zhangzhung texts of western Tibet. The Bon scriptures speak of a closely related land called Tagzig Olmo Lung Ring.[4]

Hindu texts such as the Vishnu Purana (4.24) mention the village Shambhala as the birthplace of Kalki, the final incarnation of Vishnu, who will usher in a new Age (Satya Yuga).[5]

Whatever its historical basis, Shambhala (spelling derived from Buddhist transliterations) gradually came to be seen as a Buddhist pure land, a fabulous kingdom whose reality is visionary or spiritual as much as physical or geographic. It was in this form that the Shambhala myth reached Western Europe and the Americas, where it influenced non-Buddhist as well as Buddhist spiritual seekers—and, to some extent, popular culture in general.

KalachakraSera
Kalachakra thangka[1] from Sera Monastery

In the Buddhist Kalachakra teachings

Rigdan Tagpa
Manjuśrīkīrti, King of Shambhala

Shambhala is ruled over by Maitreya, the future Buddha. The Kalacakra tantra prophesies that when the world declines into war and greed, and all is lost, the 25th Kalki king will emerge from Shambhala with a huge army to vanquish "Dark Forces" and usher in a worldwide Golden Age. Using calculations from the Kalachakra Tantra, Alex Berzin puts this date at 2424.[6]

Manjuśrīkīrti is said to have been born in 159 BC and ruled over a kingdom of 300,510 followers of the Mlechha religion, some of whom worshipped the sun. He is said to have expelled 20,000 people from his domain who clung to 'Surya Samadhi' (sun realization) rather than convert to Kalachakra (Wheel of Time) Buddhism.

Alti-Himalayan Shaman -1812-1813
Portrait of an Alti Himalian Shaman. Detail from "A Sorceress from Tungusy" 1812–1813 by: E. Karnejeff

These expelled Rishis, seers, sages and saints, who had realized truth and eternal knowledge exclaimed, "We want to remain true to our Sun-Chariot. We do not wish to give up our belief system to change to another." This shows there may have been a fundamental difference between the 2 time-cycle-based doctrines. After realizing these were the wisest and best of his people and how much he was in need of them, he later asked them to return. Some did. Those who did not return were said to have set up another magical city elsewhere, the Shambhallah of mystic legend. Manjuśrīkīrti initiated the preaching of the Kalachakra teachings in order to try to convert those who returned and all still under his rule. In 59 BC he abdicated his throne to his son, Puṇḍārika, and died soon afterward, entering the sambhogakaya of buddhahood and was made a posthumous Buddhist saint.[7][8]

Western receptions and interpretations

Some westerners have been fascinated with the idea of Shambhala, often based on fragmentary accounts from the Kalachakra tradition. Tibet and its ancient traditions were largely unknown to westerners until the twentieth century; whatever little information westerners received was haphazard at best.[9]

The first information that reached western civilization about Shambhala came from the Portuguese Catholic missionary Estêvão Cacella, who had heard about Shambhala (which he transcribed as "Xembala"), and thought it was another name for Cathay or China. In 1627 they headed to Tashilhunpo, the seat of the Panchen Lama and, discovering their mistake, returned to India.[10]

In Altai Mountains folklore Mount Belukha is also believed to be a gateway to Shambhala.[11]

The Hungarian scholar Sándor Kőrösi Csoma, writing in 1833, provided the first geographic account of "a fabulous country in the north...situated between 45' and 50' north latitude". Due north from India to between these latitudes is eastern Kazakhstan, which is characterized by green hills, low mountains, rivers, and lakes. This is in contrast to the landscape of the provinces of Tibet and Xinjiang in western China, which are high mountains and arid.

Theosophy

During the late-19th century, Theosophical Society co-founder Helena Blavatsky alluded to the Shambhala myth, giving it currency for Western occult enthusiasts. Blavatsky, who claimed to be in contact with a Great White Lodge of Himalayan Adepts, mentions Shambhala in several places, but without giving it especially great emphasis.

Later esoteric writers further emphasized and elaborated on the concept of a hidden land inhabited by a hidden mystic brotherhood whose members labor for the good of humanity. Alice A. Bailey claims Shamballa (her spelling) is an extra-dimensional or spiritual reality on the etheric plane, a spiritual centre where the governing deity of Earth, Sanat Kumara, dwells as the highest Avatar of the Planetary Logos of Earth, and is said to be an expression of the Will of God.[12]

Expeditions

Nicholas and Helena Roerich led a 1924–1928 expedition aimed at Shambhala.[13]

Inspired by Theosophical lore and several visiting Mongol lamas, Gleb Bokii, the chief Bolshevik cryptographer and one of the bosses of the Soviet secret police, along with his writer friend Alexander Barchenko, embarked on a quest for Shambhala, in an attempt to merge Kalachakra-tantra and ideas of Communism in the 1920s. Among other things, in a secret laboratory affiliated with the secret police, Bokii and Barchenko experimented with Buddhist spiritual techniques to try to find a key for engineering perfect communist human beings.[14] They contemplated a special expedition to Inner Asia to retrieve the wisdom of Shambhala – the project fell through as a result of intrigues within the Soviet intelligence service, as well as rival efforts of the Soviet Foreign Commissariat that sent its own expedition to Tibet in 1924.

Modern times

French Buddhist Alexandra David-Néel associated Shambhala with Balkh in present-day Afghanistan, also offering the Persian Sham-i-Bala, "elevated candle" as an etymology of its name.[15] In a similar vein, the Gurdjieffian J. G. Bennett published speculation that Shambalha was Shams-i-Balkh, a Bactrian sun temple.[16]

In Western culture

Shambhala may have been the inspiration for Shangri-La, a paradise on Earth hidden in a Tibetan valley, which features in the 1933 novel Lost Horizon by British author James Hilton.[17] There is also a Yu-Gi-Oh! trading card game deck called “subterror” that uses the lore of Shambala in cards such as “The Hidden City” and defenders that protect the city from dangerous “behemoths.”

In Don Rosa's Treasure of the ten Avatars(Uncle Scrooge Adventures#51) the protagonists lead an expedition to Shambhala. The inhabitants made sophisticated Hydraulic traps that scared troops of Alexander the Great.

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ Crossman, Sylvie and Jean-Pierre Barou, eds. Tibetan Mandala, Art and Practice (The Wheel of Time). New York: Konecky & Konecky, 2004. ISBN 1-56852-473-0. pp.20-26
  2. ^ Leepage, V (1996) Shambhala: The Fascinating Truth Behind the Myth of Shangri-la. Theosophical Publishing House, Illinois.pp 23-4
  3. ^ The Tantra by Victor M. Fic, Abhinav Publications, 2003, p.49.
  4. ^ The Bon Religion of Tibet by Per Kavǣrne, Shambhala, 1996
  5. ^ LePage, Victoria (1996). Shambhala: The Fascinating Truth Behind the Myth of Shangri-La. Quest Books. pp. 125–126. ISBN 9780835607506.
  6. ^ Berzin, Alexander (1997). "Taking the Kalachakra Initiation". Retrieved 2016-06-20.
  7. ^ Das, Sarat Chandra (1882). Contributions to the Religion and History of Tibet, in Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Vol. LI. Reprint: Manjushri Publishing House, Delhi. 1970, pp. 81–2.
  8. ^ Edwin Bernbaum "The Way to Shambhala: A Search for the Mythical Kingdom Beyond the Himalayas" 1980 & Albert Grünwedel "Der Weg nach Shambhala" 1915
  9. ^ Lopez, Donald S. Jr. Prisoners of Shangri~La, Tibetan Buddhism and the West, The University of Chicago Press, 1998
  10. ^ Bernbaum, Edwin. (1980). The Way to Shambhala, pp. 18-19. Reprint: (1989). Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc., Los Angeles. ISBN 0-87477-518-3.
  11. ^ aprilholloway. "Mysteries of the Kingdom of Shambhala".
  12. ^ Bailey, Alice A, A Treatise on Cosmic Fire 1932 Lucis Trust. 1925, p 753
  13. ^ Archer, Kenneth. Roerich East & West. Parkstone Press 1999, p.94
  14. ^ Znamenski (2011)
  15. ^ David-Néel, A. Les Nouvelles littéraires ;1954, p.1
  16. ^ Bennett, J.G: "Gurdjieff: Making a New World". Bennett notes Idries Shah as the source of the suggestion.
  17. ^ Wood, Michael (17 February 2011). "BBC - History - Ancient History in depth: Shangri-La". BBC. Retrieved 28 February 2018.

References

  • Rock opera "Szambalia" ("Shambhala") (2014). Official premiere in Poland, Warsaw (24.06.2014)
  • Rock song "Halls of Shambala" by B. W. Stevenson, covered and popularized by the rock band Three Dog Night Shambala (song)
  • Berzin, Alexander (2003). Study Buddhism. Mistaken Foreign Myths about Shambhala.
  • Martin, Dean. (1999). "'Ol-mo-lung-ring, the Original Holy Place." In: Sacred Spaces and Powerful Places In Tibetan Culture: A Collection of Essays. (1999) Edited by Toni Huber, pp. 125–153. The Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, Dharamsala, H.P., India. ISBN 81-86470-22-0.
  • Meyer, Karl Ernest and Brysac, Shareen Blair (2006) Tournament of Shadows: The Great Game And the Race for Empire in Central Asia ISBN 0-465-04576-6
  • Bernbaum, Edwin. (1980). The Way to Shambhala: A Search for the Mythical Kingdom Beyond the Himalayas. Reprint: (1989) St. Martin's Press, New York. ISBN 0-87477-518-3.
  • Jeffrey, Jason. Mystery of Shambhala in New Dawn, No. 72 (May–June 2002).
  • Trungpa, Chogyam. Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior. Shambhala Publications. ISBN 0-87773-264-7
  • Znamenski, Andrei. (2011). Red Shambhala: Magic, Prophecy, and Geopolitics in the Heart of Asia. Quest Books, Wheaton, IL (2011) ISBN 978-0-8356-0891-6.
  • "Tibetan Buddhist Atrocities and Propaganda." Dr. S. D'Montford. "Tibetan Buddhist Atrocities and Propaganda." Happy Medium Publishing. Sydney. 2004
  • Allen, Charles. (1999). The Search for Shangri-La: A Journey into Tibetan History. Little, Brown and Company. Reprint: Abacus, London. 2000. ISBN 0-349-11142-1.
  • Znamenski, Andrei. Red Shambhala: Magic, Prophecy, and Geopolitics in the Heart of Asia. Wheaton, IL: Quest Books, 2011. ISBN 978-0-8356-0891-6
  • Martin, Dan. (1999). "'Ol-mo-lung-ring, the Original Holy Place." In: Sacred Spaces and Powerful Places In Tibetan Culture: A Collection of Essays. (1999) Edited by Toni Huber, pp. 125–153. The Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, Dharamsala, H.P., India. ISBN 81-86470-22-0.
  • Symmes, Patrick. (2007). "The Kingdom of the Lotus" in Outside, 30th Anniversary Special Edition, pp. 148–187. Mariah Media, Inc., Red Oak, Iowa.
A. H. Almaas

A.H. Almaas ( AHL-məss) is the pen name of A. Hameed Ali (born 1944), a Kuwaiti American author and spiritual teacher who writes about and teaches an approach to spiritual development informed by modern psychology and therapy which he calls the Diamond Approach.

Almaas is originally from Kuwait. He is the spiritual head of the Ridhwan School. He may be described, among other things, as an Integral theorist, mystic, spiritual teacher or an exponent of the perennial philosophy.

Almaas' books were originally published by the Ridhwan School, under the Diamond Books publishing title, but are now published by Shambhala.

The Diamond Approach is a contemporary spiritual path integrating the teachings and practices of the ancient wisdom traditions with modern depth psychology. The Diamond Approach is derived from the experiences of Almaas, along with Karen Johnson and Faisal Muqaddam (who split off early on to develop his own approach). They were among the first students of Claudio Naranjo, an early pioneer of the integration of spiritual and therapeutic work.

The curriculum of the work draws upon the founders' backgrounds in Sufism, Platonism, Buddhism and the Fourth Way. Teachers of the Diamond Approach focus on the students' specific perception of their own immediate work issues. Presentation of a canonical body of knowledge and practice is introduced over time as required.

Buddhism in Venezuela

Buddhism in Venezuela is practiced by over 52,000 people (roughly 0.2% of the population). The Buddhist community is made up mainly of Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans.

Most identify with the Mahayana tradition, reflecting the religious heritage of their emigrant countries.

However, in the mid-1990s Keun-Tshen Goba (né Ezequiel Hernandez Urdaneta), together with Jigme Rinzen, founded a meditation center using the Shambhala Training method.

There are Buddhist centers in Caracas, Maracay, Mérida, Puerto Ordáz, San Felipe, and Valencia.

Chögyam Trungpa

Chögyam Trungpa (Wylie: Chos rgyam Drung pa; March 5, 1939 – April 4, 1987) was a Buddhist meditation master and holder of both the Kagyu and Nyingma lineages, the eleventh Trungpa tülku, a tertön, supreme abbot of the Surmang monasteries, scholar, teacher, poet, artist, and originator of a radical re-presentation of Shambhala vision.

Recognized both by Tibetan Buddhists and by other spiritual practitioners and scholars as a preeminent teacher of Tibetan Buddhism, he was a major figure in the dissemination of Buddhism to the West, founding Vajradhatu and Naropa University and establishing the Shambhala Training method.

Among his contributions are the translation of numerous Tibetan texts, the introduction of the Vajrayana teachings to the West, and a presentation of the Buddhadharma largely devoid of ethnic trappings. Trungpa coined the term crazy wisdom. Some of his teaching methods and actions were the topic of controversy during his lifetime and afterwards.

Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche

Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche (རྫོང་གསར་ འཇམ་དབྱངས་ མཁྱེན་བརྩེ་ རིན་པོ་ཆེ, born June 18, 1961), also known as Khyentse Norbu, is a Tibetan/Bhutanese lama, filmmaker, and writer. His four major films are The Cup (1999), Travellers and Magicians (2003), Vara: A Blessing (2013) and, most recently, Hema Hema: Sing Me a Song While I Wait (2017). He is the author of the books What Makes You Not a Buddhist (Shambhala, 2007); Not for Happiness: A Guide to the So-Called Preliminary Practices (Shambhala, 2012); The Guru Drinks Bourbon (Shambhala, 2016); and Best Foot Forward: A Pilgrim's Guide to the Sacred Sites of the Buddha (Shambhala, 2018) and his other books like Teachings on Ngöndro, Parting from the Four Attachments, What to do at India's Buddhist Holy Sites, Buddha Nature, Introduction to the Middle Way are also available through the Siddharthas Intent website.

He is the eldest son of Thinley Norbu, and therefore the grandson of Dudjom Jigdral Yeshe Dorje. Rinpoche has teachers from all four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism and is a follower and champion of the Rimé (non-sectarian) movement. He considers Dilgo Khyentse as his main guru. He is also the primary custodian of the teachings of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo.

Jamgon Ju Mipham Gyatso

Jamgön Ju Mipham, or Mipham Jamyang Namgyal Gyamtso (1846–1912) (also known as "Mipham the Great") was a very influential philosopher and polymath of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism. He wrote over 32 volumes on topics such as painting, poetics, sculpture, alchemy, medicine, logic, philosophy and tantra. Mipham's works are still central to the scholastic curriculum in Nyingma monasteries today. Mipham is also considered one of the leading figures in the Ri-me (non-sectarian) movement in Tibet.

Kalachakra

The Kalachakra (Sanskrit: Kālacakra, Tibetan: དུས་ཀྱི་འཁོར་ལོ།, Wylie: dus kyi 'khor lo; Mongolian: Цогт Цагийн Хүрдэн Tsogt Tsagiin Hurden; Chinese: 時輪) is a term used in Vajrayana Buddhism that means "wheel(s) of time".

"Kālacakra" is one of many tantric teachings and esoteric practices in Tibetan Buddhism. It is an active Vajrayana tradition, and has been offered to large public audiences. The tradition combines myth and history, whereby actual historical events become an allegory for the spiritual drama within a person, drawing symbolic or allegorical lessons for inner transformation towards realizing buddha-nature. The most important texts of this tradition include Kalachakra Tantra and Vimalaprabhā. The tradition's roots are in India, but its most active history and presence has been in the monasteries of Tibet. The tradition is a form of nondualism, and devotees of the tradition believe that the Kalachakra was taught by Gautama Buddha himself.

Kalki

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Kings of Shambhala

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Lion's Roar (magazine)

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Sakyong Jamgon Mipham Rinpoche, Jampal Trinley Dradul (born Ösel Rangdrol Mukpo on November 15, 1962) is the head of the Shambhala lineage and Shambhala, a worldwide network of urban Buddhist meditation centers, retreat centers, monasteries, a university, and other enterprises, founded by his father, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. In July 2018, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche stated that he is stepping back from his duties due to an investigation into his alleged sexual misconduct.

Shambala Preserve

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Shambhala (roller coaster)

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Shambhala Buddhism

The term Shambhala Buddhism was introduced by Sakyong Mipham in the year 2000 to describe his presentation of the Shambhala teachings originally conceived by Chögyam Trungpa as secular practices for achieving enlightened society, in concert with the Kagyu and Nyingma schools of Tibetan Buddhism. The Shambhala Buddhist sangha considers Sakyong Mipham to be its head and the second in a lineage of Sakyongs; with his father, Chögyam Trungpa, being the first.

Shambhala Publications

Shambhala Publications is an independent publishing company based in Boulder, Colorado. According to the company, it specializes in "books that present creative and conscious ways of transforming the individual, the society, and the planet". Many of its titles deal with Buddhism and related topics in religion and philosophy. The company's name was inspired by the Sanskrit word Shambhala, referring to a mystical kingdom hidden beyond the snowpeaks of the Himalayas, according to the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Several of its major authors are Chögyam Trungpa, Pema Chödrön, Thomas Cleary, Ken Wilber, Fritjof Capra, A. H. Almaas, John Daido Loori, John Stevens, Edward Espe Brown and Natalie Goldberg.

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Shambhala Training is a secular approach to meditation developed by Tibetan Buddhist teacher Chogyam Trungpa and his students. It is based on what Trungpa calls Shambhala Vision, which sees enlightened society as not purely mythical, but as realizable by people of all faiths through practices of mindfulness/awareness, non-aggression, and sacred outlook. He writes:

The Shambhala Training teachings cover art, society, and politics and the goal of creating an enlightened society. That goal is presented as not solely a social and political process, but one requiring individuals to develop an awareness of the basic goodness and inherent dignity of themselves, of others, and of the everyday details of the world around them. This is facilitated by cultivating gentleness and bravery.Shambhala Training is currently administered worldwide by Shambhala International. The Satdharma community offers a comparable "Shambhala Education" course of training in Ojai, California.

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