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Conway is among four kidnap victims, the others being Mallinson, his young assistant who is anxious to get back to civilization, Barnard, a brash American, and Miss Brinklow, an evangelist. Conway himself rounds out the group as an established diplomat and stoic. When the plane crashes in the Kuen-Lun Mountains, the quartet is rescued and taken to the hidden lamasery of Shangri-La.
About The Monks Tibetan Yoga Came From
Their lineage is from a recently destroyed monastery in an area of Tibet considered a "forbidden zone", even to most Buddhists. Other primary monasteries were located in the isolated Pyrenees mountains of Spain, The Jungles of the Yucatan, and the mountains of South America.
Before the destruction of their primary monastery in Tibet, they also began an experiment of "coming forward" to the public, with a smaller monastery in California. There, many North Americans joined the order. Those monks were taught by the last "head monk" of the order, who trained at the Tibetan monastery (he passed on 4/22/2002).
They continue the practices and are passing on the lineage and teachings to others, while working towards building a new primary monastery isolated in the Rocky Mountains.
I was fortunate enough to visit their monastery, and I couldn't help but be constantly reminded of a movie I'd seen called "Lost Horizon" (both an old B&W version, and a modern Technicolor version starring Peter Finch, and a host of great actors). Why was it so similar?
I believe the author of the book "Lost Horizon", either also visited, heard stories from those who had, or perhaps even had visions in his dreams. Even his name for the place, Shangri-la, was similar to the name for their monastery "Shargung-la". But most striking, just as in the movies/book, their was no "dogma" as many religions have, and their spiritual beliefs/philosophies were so simple - compassion, caring, unselfishness, kindness, harmlessness and loving one another.
As tools of spiritual growth, they used yoga, meditation, and humble, loving personal interaction/constructive criticism (like you'd use a mirror showing you what you really look like, and what needs to be changed).
I also believe one of the most important tools, is seeing other people (and life events) as "mirrors", to help us see ourselves. I thus welcome, and even ask for, constructive criticism as a tool for change, in an ongoing process of self-improvement.
The below "balcony" photo is typical of the amazing Buddhist monasteries that were once found in the thousands in Tibet. Most have been destroyed. There are no photos of Shargung la remaining after it was bombed/shelled. It was actually quite different. And explorers (from National Geographic) only came upon the isolated area of Tibet in which it was located, after its destruction. And even though it no longer stood, they too were amazed by just the fact that a sub-tropical environment, not visible by satellites even, existed amongst the high, fridgid, barren Himalayas.
The phrase "Shangri-La" most probably comes from the Tibetan ཞང་,"Shang - a district of Tsang, north of Tashilhunpo" + རི, "Mountain" = "Shang Mountain" + ལ, Mountain Pass, which suggests that the area is accessed to, or is named by, "Shang Mountain Pass". However, it may be that Hilton had heard of Shambhala - the Tibetan equivalent of Shangri-La, but could not remember its name.