Born in the 11th century in India, the legend of Shambhala 1 crossed the borders of many countries and cultures - almost all of them by the beginning of the 21st century. What is the secret and charm of Shambhala? What is behind this magic word? What gave the legend of the mysterious country such a long and rich life? This legend has made a true journey through time and space and is on the threshold of its millennium, remaining in demand in the East and arousing increasing interest in the West. This essay examines the current interpretation of the ancient legend in the changing modern world on the example of two traditional regions of its distribution: Buryatia and Tibet.
Candidate of Historical Sciences
The modern existence of the legend of Shambhala in the traditional regions of its distribution is characterized by a bizarre mixture of traditional features and introduced innovations in the text of the legend. We will look at its existence in Buryatia (the main traditional place of distribution of this legend on the territory of Russia) and in Tibet (the first and main country that received this legend from India) during the last three decades, when this confusion became most pronounced.
Buryatia. Until the end of the 20th century, the Buryat lamas of the older generation retained traditional book ideas about the sacred land of Shambhala.
These ideas are based on the Buddhist teaching Kalachakra2, which originated in India at the beginning of the XI century and is the latest of the Buddhist tantras3. According to the Kalachakra Tantra texts, the king of Shambhala Suchandra and his entourage were petitioners for her first sermon from Shakyamuni Buddha. Tradition dates this event back to 881 B.C. 4 and believes that Suchandra brought this teaching to his country to this day, and that it was from there that it reached India at the beginning of the eleventh century through one or more Indian Buddhist yogis. Thus, the legend of Shambhala is intended to prove the later origin of the teaching in order to link its origin with Shakyamuni Buddha and thereby legitimize it.5 In the 30s of the XI century, this teaching became widespread in Tibet. With the Mongol peoples ' acceptance of Buddhism from Tibet, the Kalachakra teaching appears in their territories as well. Along with it, the legend of Shambhala is also spreading here, as well as in Tibet.
On the territory of Russia, the Kalachakra teaching is traditionally presented in Buryatia and Kalmykia. Here, as in Tibet and Mongolia, this tantra continues to be a living teaching.
Speaking about the older Buryat lamas, we mean those who received Buddhist monastic education (more or less completed) before the closure of the monasteries in the late 30s. It should be said that in the XVIII-XIX centuries. in close cooperation with Tibetan specialists (there was a contract system) in a number of territories of the Mongolian peoples local centers for the study of Kalachakra Tantra were formed. On the territory of the USSR and the MNR, these centers existed until the aforementioned 30s of the XX century. - the time of the beginning of the persecution of Buddhism by the communist regimes of these countries. In Buryatia, among such centers, the faculty of Kalachakra Tantra of the Egitu datsan (monastery) near the village of Ust-Egita (Yeravninsky district) stood out, in particular.
A native of the village of Uldurga (Yeravninsky district), the tantric lama Gatabon Lama (Tsyrenzhab Gatabon, died in 1979) completed a full course of study in this monastery and received the highest theological degree - gabzha and the highest degree of the tantric lama-agramba. Ts. Gatabon was the closest associate of Bidiy Dandarovich Dandaron (1913-1974)6
The second key theme of the legend of Shambhala - after the story of the first preaching of Kalachakra Tantra and the spread of this teaching from Shambhala to India - is the theme of the cleansing war. According to a prophecy attributed by tradition to Shakyamuni Buddha, in remote times, when the degradation of the world reaches its final stage, an army will come from Shambhala, led by its king Rigdan 7 Dragbo Khorlojan. The army of Shambhala will conduct a grand battle, during which they will destroy the dark forces that will take over the entire world (except for Shambhala) by that time, and establish a new perfect era. This era will last for a certain time, but gradually degradation will begin to gain strength again, and the world will once again plunge into the abyss of disbelief and low values.
Throughout the ten centuries of the legend of Shambhala's existence, the theme of a just war punishing and destroying the world's evil, as if it provoked the politicization of the legend itself, led to the fact that Shambhala was remembered in difficult moments of history, including in the XX century, which was so full of them.
In his latest work, On the Four Noble Truths of the Buddha, 8 B. D. Dandaron mentions that the Nazi elite of Germany showed interest in Shambhala-in order to strive for world power. At the end of the twentieth century, there were also publications in Russia that the Bolshevik regime was also interested in Shambhala - for similar purposes.9
10 recall that the old Buryat lamas preferred to discuss the sacred theme of Shambhala in detail in their own circle and with their students. The laity, for the most part, had only general ideas about it. The level of religious education of lay people in Buryatia (until the 1930s) was generally very high, but the number of those who knew the Tibetan script (and, accordingly, could directly get acquainted with Tibetan literature) was generally insignificant. However, due to the significance and popularity of the legend of Shambhala, its two main Tibetan sources were translated into Buryat.
The first of these texts is the work "The Source of Ten Million Wonders - an explanation of the great place of the Siddhas 11 of the country of Shambhala and a description of India" by Panchen Lama VI Lobsan Baldan Yeshey (1738-1780)12, also commonly known as "Description of the Way to Shambhala". The second text is "Prayer for Rebirth in northern Shambhala", a short work by the same author. There are their monastic woodcuts in the old written Buryat language - this letter was owned by many lay people.
The first text (the most famous Tibetan work on Shambhala) - both in the original and even more so in translated form-was and is very rare. The second text has become more widespread in Buryatia (the author's personal collection contains a copy of the woodcut edition of the work in the Buryat language) due to its ritual nature.
Until the end of the 70s of the XX century, oral Shambhala well-wishes were widely distributed in Buryatia. On the occasion of Buddhist rituals or during festive feasts, believers often said a prayer for rebirth in Shambhala and participation in the Shambhala War as part of the army of Rigdan Dragbo Khorlozhan13.
It was believed that for rebirth in Shambhala, in addition to the corresponding desire, it is necessary to have an initiation in Kalachakra Tantra and a good knowledge of Buddhist teachings.
To participate in the great battle against the forces of evil and ignorance, rebirth in Shambhala is considered simply necessary, since, according to the traditional view, the Shambhala army is not recruited from other areas of this world. Old lamas in Buryatia also told lay people that during the Shambhala War it was good to be born even as a bug - being trampled by a Shambhala soldier, you will find a higher birth (in Shambhala or other sacred areas of Buddhist cosmology)14.
At the same time, the oral Buryat version of the legend of Shambhala in the 70s of the XX century was characterized by some innovations. These include the motive of participation in the Shambhala War of modern military equipment. There was an idea that this war would involve both siddhis -the magical powers of yogis (Shambhala people), and the latest technology (artillery, tanks and aircraft equipped with radio devices and electronic equipment).15. Modern technology acts as a correlate of the magical powers of Yogis. It seems to duplicate them, although it does not merge with them - the siddhas still had the decisive word in the victory of the Shambhala army.
...The old generation of Buryat lamas who possessed knowledge has passed away
an ancient legend. Fragments of this knowledge are still preserved by the older generation of lay believers. Not only young people, but also the middle generation in the traditional region of distribution of this legend currently have only the most approximate ideas about it. Almost no one in Buryatia now speaks the old written Buryat language, and precious texts about the sacred country - where they are still preserved-are gathering dust without attention. Now the source of information about Shambhala is increasingly - paradoxically - speculation on this topic generated by Western mass culture. Nevertheless, interest in Shambhala in Buryatia continues to persist. Ideas about wonderful hidden lands and eschatological ideas (futurological retribution to real enemies) are deeply rooted in human consciousness. Who knows, perhaps the ancient legend will still find its second wind here.
Tibet. Until the middle of the twentieth century, Tibet, which remained isolated in many respects from the outside world, did not have any serious disagreements between doctrinal cosmology and practical geography. The clash with twentieth-century civilization, especially intense in emigration, has called into question many aspects of traditional Tibetan culture, including in the field of cosmology. This could not but affect the ideas of Tibetans about the reality, nature and location of Shambhala.
From the perspective of the legend itself, it is believed that before receiving initiation into the Kalachakra teachings, the inhabitants of Shambhala were ordinary people, and the country itself was their usual place of residence. After receiving initiation into this tantra and as they progressed in its practice, the inhabitants of the country became powerful yogis with mystical abilities-siddhas, as a result of which their country-abode itself acquired miraculous properties and became inaccessible - due to its purity - to ordinary people.
Currently, most Tibetans continue to insist on the reality of Shambhala. A wealth of material on contemporary interpretations of the Shambhala location proposed by Tibetan emigrants has been collected by a researcher from the United States, Edwin Bernbaum16. The data of the scientific picture of the world that denies Shambhala's existence are themselves criticized by Tibetans. Lama Tenboche tells E. Bernbaum: "How can you be sure that Everest is the highest mountain in the world until you check it out for yourself?"17. The prominent scholar Ketsun Tsang Po states, on the other hand: "You Western scientists have gone everywhere and explored almost the entire surface of the earth, and now you are looking for new places, so the country of Shambhala may soon be discovered." 18
In other words, Western science, which does not find a place for Shambhala in its worldview, on the contrary, is charged with the task and merit of finding a mysterious country that is not detected by the old means. In the development of this thesis in the sot-
The legend of Shambhala was formed at a time when the traditional religious worldview prevailed, which has little in common with modern scientific geography.
In the Kalachakra worldview, the world mountain Sumeru is surrounded by seven ring continents. The outer one, the Jambudvipa, consists of twelve parts. The southern most part has the shape of a triangle with its apex facing Sumer, is called Small Jambudvipa and is considered our world. Small Jambudvipa is divided from south to north into six equal-width parts-strips. Shambhala is supposed to be located on the fifth (from the south) part-north of India and Tibet (respectively, the first and second parts). The question of the correlation of the Shambhala Buddhist legend with any place known to modern geography is unsolvable, and from the traditional point of view, it is useless. "The land of people-celestials" (one of the epithets of Shambhala) is supposed to be inaccessible to ordinary people. It is believed that if a person wants to be in Shambhala, he should receive initiation into the teachings of Kalachakra and start practicing Kalachakra yoga, and not engage in a fruitless search for the land of great yogis by the forces of his mind clouded by worldly vanity.
the traditional prophecy is interpreted in the appropriate way: the idea that on the eve of the Shambhala War, the forces of ignorance and vice will take over the entire world, except for Shambhala, and come close to it, is considered as the discovery of a hidden country by Western civilization.19
Among other things, the desire to defend the reality of Shambhala also takes on a cultural and political connotation among the representatives of the Tibetan diaspora: if today the Tibetan emigrant youth lose faith in such concepts as Shambhala, then tomorrow more significant values in the traditional culture of Tibet may be discarded. However, the "weathering" of the meaning of Tibetan culture in emigration is growing-the" benefits of civilization " are becoming more attractive to Tibetan youth.
Those who leave Shambhala as a real place have to somehow place it on a changed world map. Since, according to the traditional view, Shambhala is located relative to Tibet in the north, the north direction, as before, sets the direction of the search.
Some place Shambhala on the northern outskirts of Tibet (in the Kunlun Mountains, etc.), but most believe that this country is located in Siberia or another part of Russia. There are attempts to place Shambhala even in the Arctic. So, the already mentioned Ketsun Tsangpo believes: "Shambhala is not in Russia, it is north of the land that people use, somewhere higher in the land of snow"20. From here, it is already "close at hand" to the North Pole. This point of view also has adherents. Thus, Kunga Rinpoche suggests: "Shambhala may be located at the North Pole, as the North Pole is surrounded by mountains of ice, and Shambhala is also surrounded by them." 21
E. Bernbaum reports that once during a discussion about the location of Shambhala, the Dalai Lama XIV joked: "If you go directly north from India, you will pass through the North Pole and eventually end up in America. So, perhaps America is Shambhala?"22. However, according to E. Bernbaum, it turned out that some in the hierarch's entourage took this idea seriously. Sakya Trizin (hierarch of the Sakya School) This is how he played up the topic: "You Americans are looking for Shambhala, but modern Tibetans want to go to New York." 23
At the North Pole ,the" theme of the north " in the search for Shambhala is exhausted. Further on, other planets and stars are already considered. Some Tibetans believe that Rigdan Dragbo will come from outer space. The possibility of finding Shambhala on another planet, according to E. Bernbaum, was discussed by the Dalai Lama XIV and Sakya Trizin.
The opinion expressed by some European scholars that Shambhala is a certain country that existed before and has now disappeared is unacceptable for Tibetans and Buddhists in general, since it negates the prophecy about the upcoming Shambhala War.
The Shambhala story itself retains its traditional features in the emigrant Tibetan environment. Most people here still believe that the Panchen Lama will be reborn as the future king of Shambhala, Rigdan XXV Dragbo Khorlojan. According to E. Bernbaum, a number of high lamas know not only that they will be officers in his army, but also know their birth names and military ranks in Rigdan Dragbo's army.
We have been directly observing and investigating the situation in Tibet since 1996. As far as geographical knowledge is concerned, the monasteries that are the centers of Tibetan traditional culture are the most modern places in the world.-
various geographical maps (of their province, the PRC, and the world) have become almost an essential element of the interior of the rooms of His Holiness or Lama (Rinpoche or Tulku), and they are quite familiar with them. However, ordinary monks, as I have seen, often could not even show Tibet on a map, and, say, they had not even heard of Antarctica at all. As for the legend of Shambhala, monks in Tibet still draw knowledge about this sacred country from traditional texts and are not concerned about its "registration" in the modern global world.
Beginning in the second half of the 20th century, Tibetan scholars began to correlate traditional chronology with European chronology (these parallels are recorded in modern Tibetan publications). As a result, with regard to Shambhala, we now have dates according to the European chronology for all the events (both past and future) described in this legend. Thus, the first initiation into the Kalachakra teaching is attributed by modern Tibetan scholars to 881 BC, the spread of this teaching from Shambhala to India - by 1027, and the upcoming battle of Shambhala-by 2424.
According to the European chronology, the dates of the reigns of all the kings of Shambhala, as well as the most important events of these reigns, have been recalculated. So, it is said that in 1927, King Aniruddha ascended to the golden throne of Shambhala, and in 2027, the reign of the next ruler of this country, King Narasingha (the 29th in a row, starting from Suchandra), will begin.
In May 2007, during our seventh Tibetan expedition, when visiting Radod Devazhan24 Monastery, we asked its monks, in particular, about their ideas about the next births of the Sol Lama Agwan Lobsan (1719-1795). This outstanding Kalachakra Tantra theorist and practitioner lived here for many years, and here, after completing his yoga practices, he left the body. However, for some reason, this saint did not become the founder of a new line of rebirths, was not recognized as a reborn saint (although all the prerequisites for this were there).
Residents of the monastery told that the Londol Lama was reborn in Shambhala, and those who are successful in the practice of Kalachakra Tantra can feel the touch of the palm of the Londol Lama on the top of their head-his blessing from Shambhala.
1 Shambhala is the sacred land of Buddhism, considered inaccessible to ordinary people. The kings and the entire population of this country are depicted as powerful yogis practicing the Kalachakra tantra. The Buddhist legend of Shambhala is reflected in the written monuments of the East: Indian (XI century), Tibetan (XI-XX centuries) and Mongolian (XVIII-XX) Buddhist works. On the structure and main content of the legend of Shambhala, see: Strelkov A.M. In search of Shambhala / / Eastern Collection. 2003, N 3 (14). pp. 123-129.
2 For a general outline of the Kalachakra doctrine, see: A. Strelkov. Wheel of Time / / Eastern collection. 2004. N 4 (19). pp. 42-54.
3 The term tantra (Skt. "loom", " basis (cloth)", "essential part", "model", "system", "doctrine") acts as the name of a class of religious systems (arise in Buddhism and Hinduism in Deut. I millennium A.D.-the beginning. II millennium AD) and at the same time is used as the name of the class of basic texts of these systems.
4 Dung dkar blo bzang 'phrin las. Dung dkar tshig mdzod chen mo (Dungar Lobsan Prinlay. Large dictionary "White shell"). Pe cin (Beijing), 2002, p. 2210.
5 This is also true of other Buddhist tantras, which contain legends about yogis who received these teachings from supernatural beings in the heavenly or subterranean regions, where they have been preserved since the time of Shakyamuni Buddha.
6 Dandaron Bidiya Dandarovich (1914-1974) - Russian Buddhologist and Buddhist religious figure of Buryat origin. Dandaron's father was the lama-philosopher Dorji Badmaev. As a child, Dandaron attended a monastery school, where he studied Tibetan, Sanskrit, and Buddhism. Dandaron studied at the Aviation Equipment Institute in Leningrad and was a free student of the Eastern Faculty of Leningrad State University.
In Soviet times, as a researcher, he tried to synthesize Buddhism with the achievements of modern science and the ideas of Western philosophers. Dandaron had many disciples, particularly among Buddhists. He was repeatedly convicted for his activities.
In the camps Dandaron acquired his first students, among them were two Germans and a Pole Kokoschka. Before leaving the camp, Kokoschka made a false fracture of his arm and, hiding the sheets of Dandaron's manuscript "Neobuddism" under a plaster cast, took it to the West. Between his sentences, Dandaron, along with Lama Padma Dorji, wrote a petition to Stalin for the revival of Buddhist monasteries in Buryatia. The letter was quickly responded to: in 1946, the Aginsky datsan was revived, and construction of a new datsan, Ivolginsky, began 40 km from Ulan-Ude.
As a result of the last demonstration trial, he was sentenced to 5 years in prison. He died in the camp. Dandaron compiled a 15,000-word Tibetan-Russian dictionary, as well as a"Tibetan-Russian Dictionary of Philosophical Terms".
7 Rigdan (Tib. "Having a kind"). Here, the " kin " is the entire population of Shambhala as a religious community that practices the Kalachakra teaching. The kings of Shambhala hold the title Rigdan as the head of this community.
Dandaron B. D. 8 The Black Notebook (On the Four Noble Truths of the Buddha). St. Petersburg, 1995.
9 See, for example, the publications of O. Shishkin.
10 Testimony of V. L. Gomboeva, daughter of Lodoi Lama from Kizhinga (village of Kizhinga, Republic of Buryatia, 1996).
11 Yogis who have attained mystical powers are siddhis.
12 Famous Tibetan religious figure and scholar, considered in the Tibetan tradition the sixth hierarch in the line of rebirth of the Panchen Lamas, which, along with that of the Dalai Lama, is the most influential in Tibetan Buddhism.
13 Certificate of Tsyvan-lamkhai (Ts. V. Dashitsyrenov) (born in 1951) (Ulan-Ude, 2003).
14 Certificate of a native of the village of Zagustai, Kizhinga district, grandmother Chimit (born in 1913) (Zagustai, 1996).
15 The testimony of Tsyvan-lamhai.
Bembaum E. 16 The Way to Shambhala. Los Angelos, 1989. P. 20.
17 Ibid. P. 28.
18 Ibid. P. 29.
20 Ibid. P. 36.
21 Ibid. P. 36 - 37.
23 Ibid. P. 37.
24 One of the six oldest monasteries in Central Tibet (founded in 1205), located near Lhasa.
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