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In several important texts, Trungpa Rinpoche gave particular emphasis to four rulers as exemplars of the spontaneous appearance of the Shambhala path: Ashoka Maharaja who ruled India and lived from 304- 232 BC; Gesar, King of Ling who is semi legendary but whose dates would be in the ninth or tenth century AD; the third Ming Emperor, Yong Le who lived from 1360 to 1424; and Prince Shotoku Taishi who was Regent of Japan and lived 574-622 AD. Trungpa Rinpoche referred to these four as the ancestral sovereigns of Shambhala.

These rulers, whether knowing of Shambhala explicitly or not, took the secular world as the path of enlightenment. They were born into real worlds with specific social challenges. In the face of these conflicts, they embodied the principles of enlightened engagement and rulership in specific ways, and they worked unceasingly to uplift every aspect of their societies. Their lives soon became the subject of legend and soon it became difficult to distinguish between what they truly did and what in subsequent ages people longed for...

A GATEWAY TO SHAMBHALA PART IV | LEVEKUNST art of life

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