Lost Horizon and Myth of Shambhala Essay Example
Lost Horizon and Myth of Shambhala Essay Example

Lost Horizon and Myth of Shambhala Essay Example

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  • Pages: 7 (1763 words)
  • Published: November 23, 2021
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In the Lost Horizon novel, James Hilton describes a fictional place known as Shangri-La that was inspired by the famous Shambhala myth. Hilton portrays Shangri-La as an exceptional spiritual place that is inaccessible as well as a hidden valley in Tibet. In relation to the Tibetan Buddhist custom, Shambhala implies a mythical place that is hidden in the Asia state near Tibet (Hilton 54). This mythical place is perceived as a heavenly place, the Buddhist Pure Land, where only sacred practices for instance meditation usually take place (LePage 9). Individuals living in such a kingdom enjoy maximum happiness and freedom. In my point of view, such a mythical kingdom of utopian peace cannot exist in this contemporary world because several evil deeds as well as increased cases of racism are really devastating. This paper thus aims


at describing the ideal meaning of the Shambhala myth, reasons why this land of utopian peace cannot exist in the 21st century, and why individuals would wish to find such a mythic place. Lastly, the paper will elucidate more on how my idea of utopia would look like.

Myth of Shambhala is a famed mythical utopian kingdom of paramount peace and tranquility. This mystic land is believed to be in a hidden place in the Himalayas (Hilton 61). In addition, Shambhala is a harmony land that is ordained to bring in the golden era of Divine Wisdom. Significantly, Hilton comprehensively describes such a utopian land, Shangri-La, as a mystic place where people enjoy maximum peace and delight. It is also a mythical land that conserves the most imperative world’s cultural values ranging from the horrible storms of war and repression.

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The occupants of this community are indeed perfect as well as semi-perfect human beings who usually guide the evolution of humankind. Shambhala is the key foundation of the Kalachakra, the leading branch of the Tibetan mysticism (LePage 10).

Importantly, the ideal Buddhist myth of Shambhala is adapted from the past Hindu myth. The conception of the Shambhala myth is perceived to have outer, inner as well as alternative meanings. For example, the outer meaning explains that Shambhala exists as a physical land, though only human beings with precise destiny can easily reach moreover experience it. The inner and alternative meanings usually entail the ideal understanding of what the myth signifies in relation to the individuals’ body and mind, the inner meaning, and when conducting the meditative practice, the alternative meaning (Sopa 83).

The occupants of Shambhala are certainly individuals with trendy science of physiology along with incomparable mind that aids in contributing to the exclusive powers from the sacred custom practices. In Lost Horizon, Hilton employs significant characteristics of the utopian literature. For example, he narrates the Conway’s story indirectly due to his mystery creation. He uses a framed tale with Rutherford, the fictional author, who narrates what he hears from Conway before his disappearance. Hilton criticizes the manner in which the European states were brutally governed.

This technique thus enfolds the improbable most especially in a realistic manner. Hilton employs this technique in order to portray Shangri-La as a mystic perfect society. Through this, the reader can effortlessly comprehend the horrible dangers associated with the world war. The narrative in this enlightening novel recounts the individuals’ hunt for spiritual to the East due to the extreme impacts

of the World War I (Hilton 107). It is palpable that the story in Lost Horizon is narrated like Conway’s with an indication of a man through the secondhand dialogues as well as explanations.

I therefore believe that such a kingdom of paramount utopian peace cannot exist in this contemporary world because of the increasing cases of racism along with severe suffering being faced. In the Loss Horizon novel, it is blatant that Shangri-La, the mystic kingdom, is depicted as a sacred ground where individuals enjoy maximum peace and contentment, and adhere to the set Buddhism principles. In addition, inhabitants of Shangri-La do not believe in engaging themselves in awful war (Hilton 57). People in such a mythic place also do not undergo severe suffering, as seen in the modern days where individuals are suffering from terrible attacks and poverty.

In Shangri-La, inhabitants are ruled with outstanding love and wisdom, and no injustice cases are documented unlike in this contemporary world where there are alarming cases of social injustices due to the unfair governing systems being put into action by distinct states. In order to portray the outstanding kingdom of utopian peace, the Shangri-La, Hilton for example employs the Orient’s version. This aids him in criticizing various characteristics of the Western life that undermine the individuals’ crucial rights. Various elements of the Hilton’s fictionalized Tibet are exclusively appropriate since they are not comparable to those of Europe.

For instance, he condemns the Western competitiveness when Conway opts to stare at the Kuen Lun Mountains. Conway is extremely delighted that their being less high when compared to any other range, as he asserts, “might save them eternally from…less tempting

lure to the record-breaker (Hilton 42). Hilton strongly condemns the ideal superlatives of the Western and the terrible misuse of the most critical natural world, particularly for the record-breaking explorations. Importantly, he extremely treasures the mountains beyond the mystic kingdom of paramount peace, Shangri-La, for being remote. Outstanding land of utopian peace cannot exist in the contemporary days due to the unsolved predicaments such as discrimination among others that individuals are experiencing.

Hilton portrays Shangri-Li, the kingdom of utopian peace, as a traditional Buddhist community that is exclusively devoted to spiritual or sacred lifestyle, which I feel that it is difficult to find in contemporary world. In the novel, lama is a great indication of a spiritual accomplishment as well as the ideal authority of teaching individuals. Hilton depicts that lamas upheld decisive religious cultural values of Tibet, though the custom was invaded by their enemies, the foreign invasions (Hilton 72). This therefore compelled Father Perrault to maintain the lamasery at the mystic land, Shangri-Li veiled from the world rivals. Additionally, the religion practice of Shangri-Li is certainly the hybrid religion, and is defined by Buddhist model of moderation, and governs its crucial belief systems and lifestyle accordingly. Individuals in such utopian land have a great respect to the established Buddhism principles and maintain a spiritual quality, as seen when Conway engages in distinct dialogues with the famed lama who eventually acknowledges him with immense spiritual wisdom (Hilton 95).

Contrarily, such characteristics cannot be seen in this modern world as the Western civilization is in awful world crisis and it is heading to horrible destruction. For instance, in the Western modernity, individuals have forgotten the traditional religious

beliefs, and increased cases of hatred are documented and competitive lifestyle hence making it difficult for an incomparable kingdom of utopian peace to exist.

In my point of view, everyone would really like to find a mythic place such as Shangri-La because it is indeed the Promised Land where individuals live peacefully and happily. In addition, such a mystic kingdom has splendid beauty that everyone would wish to live on. Shangri-La is also characterized with outstanding amalgam of Buddhist principles, Confucian wisdom as well as Daoist, which I believe would exclusively be significant to individuals. The Tibetan Buddhist tradition embraces the crucial spiritual practices for example meditation that could be helpful to the pure individuals who believe in Christianity or Buddhism.

Besides, I feel every individual would like to live in an environment where he/she enjoys paramount tranquility of mind, which is an imperative characteristic of Shangri-La in the Hilton’s informative novel. For example, Hilton (60) explains, “One had to breathe consciously and deliberately…were disciplined to harmony with mind and limb”. Such union of the individuals’ bodies, mind as well as environment significantly proposes the accomplishment of the Buddhists meditative practice that pure people would wish to have. Importantly, individuals with incredible trendy science of physiology can greatly benefit in the utopian kingdom as Hilton describes it in Loss Horizon, and thus they would strive to find it in order to enhance their skills by engaging with other proficient people in that community.

Lastly, my idea of utopia would be an outstanding one since it would be characterized with the most imperative characteristics that embraces humanity and respects the critical rights of human beings. For example, my utopian

society would be an environment where every individual enjoys the freedom of worship regardless of their ethnicity, race or economic background. In addition, cultural diversity would highly be prioritized in order to ensure all cultural values from distinct background are extremely respected. In my perfect society, members of distinct communities would freely cooperate with other people from big or small communities as they wish without restrictions.

Members would engage in any kind of businesses they wish to, and the workforce would own the established factories in the community. Importantly, no single individual would have the capability of possessing the manpower or other material things in order to undermine other underprivileged communities or individuals. Besides, my ideal perfect society would tremendously discouraged the horrible gap that exists amid the wealthy individuals and disadvantaged ones most especially by ensuring equal distribution of the limited resources. I therefore believe that such critical characteristics would define an incomparable utopian society.

In conclusion, Shangri-Li in the Hilton’s enlightening novel was inspired by the myth of Shambhala. It is palpable that Shambhala is a fabled land of peace and where individuals enjoy maximum happiness predominantly in a hidden valley in Tibet. Such mythical kingdom is characterized with exceptional spiritual practices for instance meditation, peace, faithfulness to the established decisive Buddhism principles, and occupants have immense knowledge in the science of physiology. I therefore believe such a magic kingdom of utopian peace cannot exist in this contemporary world due to the devastating issues such as racism among others that are being faced today.

Importantly, individuals would wish to find this mystical land for example Shangri-Li in order to live peacefully, perform their religious practices freely,

and enhance their skills most especially in the field of physiology science. Lastly, my ideal utopia society would be portrayed by exceptional characteristics such as freedom of worship, equal allocation of resources, and embracing every cultural value of diverse individuals despite their color or economic status.

Work cited

  • Hilton, James. Lost Horizon: A Novel. New York: Open Road Integrated Media, 2012. Internet resource.
  • LePage, Victoria. Shambhala: The Fascinating Truth Behind the Myth of Shangri-La. Wheaton, Ill. u.a.: Quest Books, 1996. Print.
  • Sopa, Geshe Lhundub. The Wheel Of Time:The Kalachakra in Context. Ithaca, N.Y., USA: Snow Lion Publications, 1991. Print.
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