Sunday, August 18, 2002

It has been an exceedingly busy week, which is why I haven’t posted for a few days. This past Wednesday I went with my friend Naraa to Gandan Monastery to met with a 90 year old monk named Lama Gombo. A relative of Naraa’s who is a monk at Gandan suggested that I met with this venerable personage. I had meant to question him about Zanabazar (b.1635), the first Bogd Gegen of Mongolia, whom I wrote about earlier and about whom I am still gathering materials. I soon discovered that Lama Gombo’s main interest was in fact the Kalachakra Doctrine and the Legend of Shambhala, subjects about which I am also gathering information. Lama Gombo was conducting a morning prayer service in one of the temples when we arrived but as soon as he was done we retired to a quiet room at the back of the temple and had an hour-long conversation. Lama Gombo turned out to be a fount of information on the Legend of Shambhala. I will have much more to say about my first and subsequent talks with him, but for the moment I will mention only the most interesting revelations. According to the traditional version of the Legend of Shambhala the 25th and last Kalkin King of Shambhala will be born in 2324 AD and lead the Final Battle against the so-called La Los, the enemies of Buddhism identified in various Shambhalic texts as the Moslems of Central Asia. Lama Gombo now asserts that a new timetable has been issued and that the Last King of Shambhala who will lead the Final Battle against the La Los (usually interpreted as Islam) will be born between 2012 and 2018. This is one interpretation of the prophecy. The other is that the Final Battle will actually begin between 2012 and 2018. In either case the unfolding of events has been accelerated. Most interestingly, the Bogd Gegens of Mongolia, according to Lama Gombo (and according to my understanding and subject to further clarification) will decide when the final battle actually begins. Also, the last Bodg Gegen will be incarnated as General Hanuman and actually lead the armies of Shambhala against the La Los.

This past Friday I again met with Lama Gombo at the Kalachakra Temple at Gandan Monastery and after the prayer service he talked with me for two hours, with the ever-patient Naraa again acting as translator. More on this later. He then asked me to photograph the 31 Kings of Shambhala which are displayed on thangkas in the temple. (See some samples of the thangkas Here) This is the only example of such thangkas that I have seen anywhere in my travels in Nepal, India, Tibet, and China. Lama Gombo wants to do a book describing all the kings and include his interpretation of the Legend of Shambhala. He also presented me a gift of a Tibetan-style loose-leaved book (written of course in Tibetan) which includes several ancient texts on Shambhala, including the 3rd Panchen Lama's "Guidebook to Shambhala" and a more recent although much more rare Shambhala text written by the Mongolian lama Agvaan Damdin who was killed at the age of eighty in 1938 by the communists. This book contain a description of the kingdom of Shambhala, and concludes with a small guidebook for reaching the fabled kingdom.

He told me much, much more but I must stop here. Today I must get ready for my trip to Burkhan Khaldun Mountain. I am leaving for the mountain early tomorrow morning. This is the mountain where Chingis Khan went to pray before he went into battle. I have been there before, actually, as described in my book, but I think it is time to go back. I want to be there on the Night of the Full Moon, August 21 . . .