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The Kings of Sambhala

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The seven Dharma Kings

Here are depicted the 32 kings of Sambhala from the Tibetan tradition. On this page are the seven Dharma kings that are said to have preceeded the Kalkī (rigs ldan) kings, who number 25. Please scroll down to see all the Dharma kings, and click on any of them to see a higher resolution image.

The paintings shown here belong to Benchen monastery in Kathmandu, Nepal. They were commissioned for the large Kālacakra Empowerment given there in 2005 at the time of the Kālacakra revelation by Ven. Tenga Rinpoche.

1. The first Dharma king of Sambhala, Sucandra (zla ba bzang po), an emanation of Vajrapāṇi, who is said to have received the Kālacakra teachings from the Buddha.
[[File:Skd02b.jpg|thumb|250px|2. Sureśvara (lha'i dbang po), an emanation of Kṣitigarbha)] [[File:Skd03b.jpg|thumb|250px|3. Tejī (gzi brjid can), an emanation of Yamāntaka.]]

Kalkī Kings

A depiction of Sambhala, reputedly painted by, or painted under the direction of, the 8th Karmapa, Mikyo Dorje (mi bskyod rdo rje).

There are some problems with the listing of the kalkī-kings. The general list given in Tibetan texts, and used in the series of pictures shown here, contains 25 names, but the great Indian Kālacakra teacher Vibhūticandra pointed out to Tibetan colleagues that the names of the 18th and 19th in this list, Hari and Vikrama, belonged together as one name, Harivikrama. He also pointed out to them that some Tibetan lists similarly split up the name of number 24 in the list into two names, Ananta and Vijaya. This persists to this day.

The advice of this great Kālacakra teacher was duly noted by the Tibetans but in practice ignored, and their misreading of the Sanskrit when translating into Tibetan was not corrected. Accepting his advice would reduce the list to 24 kings, although the predecessor to Cakrī is in fact another by the name of Yaśas, and his inclusion would return the list to the correct count of 25. He is actually mentioned in a quotation from the Kālacakra Mūlatantra, but this has generally been ignored by Tibetan writers.

The additional error of splitting the name of Anantavijaya would produce a list of 26, unless of course the second Yaśas is omitted, which was generally the case in Tibetan lists.

See this page for the story of how the kings came to be known as kalkī-kings.

1. Yaśas (grags pa(), an emanation of Mañjugoṣa, the king who converted the ṛiṣis to the single vajra-caste. He composed the Laghu-tantra.
2. Puṇḍarīka (padma dkar po(), an emanation of Lokeśvara. He composed the tantra commentary, the Vimalaprabhā.
11. Aja (rgyal dka'), an emanation of Yamāntaka. He established the Kālacakra karāna calendar, epoch 806 C.E.
21. Aniruddha (ma 'gags pa), an emanation of Jambhaka. The present Kalkī king.
25. Rudracakrī (drag po 'khor lo can), an emanation of Mañjuśrī. He is predicted to defeat the barbarians when they finally try to invade Sambhala.