In Hindu and Tibetan Buddhist traditions, 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. It is mentioned in various ancient texts, including the Kalacakra Tantra and the ancient Zhangzhung texts of western Tibet. The Bon scriptures speak of a closely related land called Tagzig Olmo Lung Ring.
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 Golden Age (Satya Yuga).
The legends, teachings and healing practices associated with Shambhala are older than any of these organized religions. Shambhala may very well have been an indigenous belief system, an Alti-Himalayan shamanic tradition, absorbed into these other faiths. This pre-existing belief system, also called Mleccha (from Vedic Sanskrit म्लेच्छ mleccha, meaning “non-Vedic”), and the amazing abilities, wisdom and long life of these ‘sun worshipers’ (the Siddhi from the Vedic Sanskrit सिद्धि of the ancient Surya Samadhi समाधि) is documented in both the Hindu and Buddhist texts.
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.
***By Kosi Gramatikoff, photography using Sony Cybershot DSC-S70, digitally mastered Adobe Photoshop CS2, KPT, EQLZ – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4764146
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