History of the Search for Shambhala Part 1

About the history of the search for the hidden kingdom of Shambhala, a place of perfection in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.

THE CONTINUING SEARCH FOR SHAMBHALA

Background

Is there really a hidden galaxy of minds living in seclusion in an inaccessible part of Asia, or is it merely a myth? Shambhala, the "Hidden Kingdom," is thought of in Tibet as a community where perfect and semiperfect beings live and are guiding the evolution of humankind. Shambhala is considered to be the source of the Kalacakra, which is the highest and most esoteric branch of Tibetan mysticism. The Buddha preached the teachings of the Kalacakra to an assembly of holy men in southern India. Afterwards the teachings remained hidden for 1,000 years, until an Indian yogi-scholar went in search of Shambhala and was initiated into the teachings by a holy man he met along the way. The Kalacakra then remained in India until it made its way to Tibet in 1026. Since then the concept of Shambhala has been widely known in Tibet, and Tibetans have been studying the Kalacakra for the last 900 years, learning its science, practicing its meditation, and using its system of astrology to guide their lives. As one Tibetan lama put it, how could Shambhala be the source of something which has affected so many areas of Tibetan life for so long and yet not exist?

Tibetan religious texts describe the physical makeup of the hidden land in detail. It is thought to look like an eight-petaled lotus blossom because it is made up of eight regions, each surrounded by a ring of mountains. In the center of the innermost ring lies Kalapa, the capital, and the king's palace, which is composed of gold, diamonds, coral, and precious gems. The capital is surrounded by mountains made of ice, which shine with a crystalline light. The technology of Shambhala is supposed to be highly advanced; the palace contains special skylights made of lenses which serve as high-powered telescopes to study extraterrestrial life, and for hundreds of years Shambhala's inhabitants have been using aircraft and cars that shuttle through a network of underground tunnels. On the way to enlightenment, Shambhalans acquire such powers as clairvoyance, the ability to move at great speeds, and the ability to materialize and disappear at will.

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