A basic truth of the Shambhala teachings is that we all want to lead sane, dignified lives, and that this is possible. If we look directly at our own experience, we can discover a continuity of wakeful dignity underlying all changing conditions. This wholesome, wakeful presence is referred to in Shambhala Training as basic goodness.
The Shambhala teachings recognize that this truth of innate human wisdom and basic goodness does not belong to any one religion or doctrine. We can appreciate all genuine contemplative paths, whether they stem from the great religions, the arts, or from native spirituality; however, this wisdom arises only when the grasping and confusion of ego is stilled through a commitment to a contemplative discipline.
Shambhala is inspired by the ancient legend of the Kingdom of Shambhala, said to be a society which drew its gentle and fearless sense of social responsibility from the practice of meditation. The legend of the Kingdom of Shambhala has been a guiding vision for many centuries in Asian culture and has parallels in Western traditions. Shambhala represents the ideal of secular enlightenment, a view that all aspects of civilization—family, commerce, education, science, the arts, religion—can be permeated with a natural sense of sacredness.