Shambhala Warrior Prophecy

I don’t know how many times I’ve watched and re-watched this sharing by Joanna Macy of the Shambhala Warrior Prophecy. Each time I watch it, I feel tears come up – not of sadness, but more of a recognition of the truth being spoken in her words. It reminds me of this intuitive call I heard many years ago. The call that initially made me choose not to go to university. This despair at knowing that a more beautiful world is possible, but not yet manifest.

I re-post it here because they do feel like marching orders. I also made a transcription of the video below with bits I made bold for the key points as reminders to myself.


In the Tibetan tradition there is a prophecy that has taken on great meaning for me and my friends and colleagues. It was made twelve centuries ago and when I went to the community that I am very close to in Northwest India  – Tashi John, where I’ve been, belonged to it in a way for the last 45 years since we were there in the Peace Corps.

When I went back in the 1980s, they were talking about this prophecy as coming true in our time. So I said, “Ohhh, what’s it about?” They said it’s so amazing… It’s about a very dark time.

My dear friend and teacher, Dru-gu Choegyal Rinpoche tells it this way and I share it in that same way. And it’s been like getting my marching orders for this time in the Great Turning.

So it goes like this:

There comes a time when all life on Earth is in danger. In this time, great powers have arisen. Barbarian powers. And although they waste their wealth in preparations to annihilate each other. They have much in common. Weapons of unfathomable death and devastation. Technologies that lay waste the world.

And it is just at this point where the future of all beings hangs by the frailest of threads that the Kingdom of Shambhala emerges.

Now you can’t go there. It’s not a place. It exists in the Hearts and Minds of the Shambhala Warriors. Actually you can’t tell a Shambhala warrior by looking at her or him. Because they wear no uniforms. No insignia. We have no banners. Have no barricades on which to climb to threaten the enemy or behind which they can rest and regroup. They don’t even have any home turf. Forever and always they must move across the terrain of the Barbarian Powers.

And Choegyal Rinpoche said to me, “Now is the time when great courage is required of the Shambhala Warriors.” Moral courage and physical courage because they’re going to go into the Heart of the Barbarian Powers – to dismantle their weapons. And weapons in every sense of the word. The bombs and armaments manufactured and deployed. And the quarters of power where the decisions are made.

And he said Joanna mark this, “The Shambhala Warriors know that these weapons can be dismantled, because they are monomaya – mind made. They are made by the human mind, they can be unmade by the human mind. Because the disasters that are threatening us and unfolding are not brought about by some extra-terrestrial force or some satanic deity. Or even by an unchangeable and inexorable fate. They arise from our relationships. And our priorities. And our habits. They’re made by the human mind, they can be unmade by the human mind.”

“So the time is upon us,” he said, “when the Shambhala Warriors go into training.” Well you can imagine, I said, “How do they train?” And he said, “They train in the use of two weapons.” That was the term he used. “What are they?” I asked. And he held up his hands the way the Lamas hold the ritual objects and the great Lama dances of these people. And he said, “One is compassion. And the other is insight into the radical interdependence of all phenomena.”

And you need both. One is not enough. You need the compassion because that provides you the fuel. The motor force. To get you out there, where you need to be to do what you need to do. And what it consists of, basically, is not being afraid of the suffering of your world. Now when you’re not afraid of the suffering of the world, nothing can stop you. But that by itself he said, is too hot. It can burn you out. So you need the other. You need that wisdom, that insight, into the mutual belonging of everything that is interwoven, as it is, in the web of life.

And when you have that you see, you know that this is not a war between the good guys and the bad guys. But that the line between good and evil runs through the landscape of every human heart. And we are so interwoven in the web of life that even the smallest act with clear intention has repercussions through that web that we can barely see. But that he said is a little cool by itself, so you need the heat of the compassion.

And if you’ve looked at the Tibetan monks chanting, often you will see in their pujas their hands doing moving mudras, and often they are dancing the interplay between Karuna and Prajna – compassion and wisdom.

Well, that’s the prophecy. This is it, I’ve got my marching orders. And I remember my son Jack was with me at the time with the rest of the family living at the quarters at the edge of the settlement and I went home that evening and said, “You won’t believe the prophecy I just heard from Choegyal Rinpoche!” And I told it. And Jack said, “Well did he tell you how it’s going to turn out? Did he tell you how it was going to end?” I laughed and said, “NO! And thank goodness. I wouldn’t have believed him if he told me how it was going to turn out. And don’t you believe anyone either who tells you how it’s going to turn out. It’s that not-knowing that is our great gift. That Don’t Know Mind that lets us be great. And let’s great things happen.

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