What is Shambhala?

A Lecture in Chulalongkorn University’s “Buddha in the 21st Century” Series, March 25, 2 pm, Room 708, Boromratchakumari Building, Faculty of Arts, 7th floor, Chulalongkorn University.

Shambhala is an ancient secular tradition with outer, inner and secret aspects — at once intended as a method of achieving a harmonious social order and a way of quelling discord in one’s mind.

Shambhala has long fascinated Westerners since it was first discovered by the British Theosophical Society more than 100 years ago. Pioneers such as Madame Blavatsky called it “shangri-la,” a romantic lost kingdom that popularized in books and films, such as “Lost Horizon” and “South Pacific”. In fact, it is a serious spiritual method, connected with Tibet’s robust folk tradition, e.g. the legend of Gesar, and Buddhist tantras, such as the Kalachakra. Though pre-Buddhist, the tradition of Shambhala is the hidden teaching of some of Tibetan Buddhism’s most significant contemporary exponents, such as the late Chogyam Trungpa and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Relevant to the “Buddha in the 21st Century” lecture Series at Chulalongkorn University, is that Shambhala does not emphasize the attainment of individual enlightenment. Rather, it fosters “enlightened society,” and it explicitly aims at using “spiritual warriorship” to achieve a radical course-correction in social systems that have lost their balance with nature.

Shambhala principles are conveyed by the organization Shambhala International, which has 175 meditation centers around the world, including one located in Bangkok. Though this organizations, teachings of Shambhala are expressed to the public by means of a series of weekend programs, called Shambhala Training, to be introduced in Bangkok for the first time April 3,4,5 http://bangkok.shambhala.info

Prof Craig Warren Smith, a Senior teacher of Shambhala Buddhism, now in residence at Chulalongkorn University’s Center for Ethics of Science and Technology will present the lecture. For more than 20 years a Shambhala training instructor, he will lead the upcoming training in Bangkok, which will include the participation of Chulalongkorn’s professor Dr. Soraj Hongladarom as guest speaker.

His lecture March 25 will overview of Shambhala teachings and suggest how and why Shambhala principles are currently being embraced as a complement to conventional Buddhist practice.

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