Shambhala Vision – What is Shambhala ?

In Tibet, as well as many other Asian countries, there are stories about a legendary kingdom that was a source of learning and culture for present-day Asian societies. According to the legends, this was a place of peace and prosperity, governed by wise and compassionate rulers. The citizens were equally kind and learned, so that in general, the kingdom was a model society. This place was called “Shambhala”.

Ground of Sanity

While it is easy enough to dismiss the Kingdom of Shambhala as pure fiction, it is also possible to see in this legend the expression of a deeply rooted and very real human desire for a good and fulfilling life. In fact, among many Tibetan Buddhist teachers, there has long been a tradition which regards the kingdom of Shambhala, not as an external place, but as the ground or root of sanity and wakefulness that exists as a potential in every human life. From that point of view, it is not important to determine whether the kingdom of Shambhala is fact or fiction. Instead, we could appreciate and emulate the ideal of an enlightened society that it represents.

Not being afraid of who we are

The premise of the Shambhala vision is that in order to establish enlightened society for others, we need to understand what we inherently have to offer others. Thus, the basis of the Shambhala tradition, is not being afraid of who we are. That is the definition of bravery- not being afraid of ourselves. That is why the Shambhala path is a path of warriorship. We become warriors in the original sense of the word: one who is brave. We develop fearlessness in accepting ourselves the way we are, and out of that arises a profound gentleness and willingness to open to the world and help others.

We cultivate this through the practice of meditation, and the path of Shambhala Training. Through these disciplines we can connect to our own innate gentleness and fearlessness, and are naturally inspired to open to the world and help others.