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Shambhala (Skt., obscure: ‘happiness giving’? Tib., bde.ʾbyung, ‘source of happiness’). A semi-mythical kingdom in Tibetan Buddhist cosmology; ‘the only Pure Land which exists on earth’ (Birnbaum). While playing an important part in the Kālacakra cycle of tantras, Shambhala is also a popular myth in its own right. Located ‘somewhere north of Tibet’, Shambhala is governed by a line of thirty-two wise and powerful kings—who guard the true doctrine of Buddhism through a period of world history which sees a decline in religious values. When this decline is at its lowest depth, the final king of Shambhala, Rudra Cakrin, will emerge from his kingdom with a great army, subdue the forces of evil, and establish a golden age. See also SHANGRI-LA.

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