from jade tran, founder of shamballa
"I remember suffocating in a Tibetan monastery up in the Himalayas; each breath felt like empty weight into my softening body. A pounding had been hounding my head throughout my journey like sonic waves crashing on my temple shores. I remember lying still on a thin mattress, one arm pinned to a saltwater drip, the other snuggled around my twelve-year-old son. This trip will be my last, I thought to myself, I am never coming back.
I confronted my own mortality. I was out of breath.. out of place.. out of mind, and if I could choose where to die, I wouldn’t mind dying in Tibet. It took weeks of treatments & countless herbal concoction, but with the love & care from the nuns & yogis, they helped me survive to tell my tale. I admired the quiet strength they all held within. Despite their adherence to the vegetarian lifestyle, the nuns & yogis have endured and continue to survive the chilliest winters & thinnest airs our planet can offer, all while handling their day-to-day activities. I thought to myself, If these nuns & yogis could commit to being vegetarian, why couldn’t I? How hard can it be?
After returning to my world in Viet Nam as a conglomerate's Marketing Director, I decided to make a slight adjustment in my life. I committed to a vegetarian lifestyle, and I remained devoted to my new lifelong trait.. for the next few months.. until one fateful company conference in Ha Noi.
As I browsed the buffet’s dinner selection, I skimmed at all the vegetarian choices. A quick lap around the buffet was enough for me to know my limited options. As frustrating as it seems, I came to accept that there were generally less choices for lifestyles like mine, but before I could start picking what I wanted, a colleague of mine introduced me to the buffet’s escargot egg rolls. Although simple on the outside, my colleague convinced me with how unexpectedly delicious & delightful it really is. Just try it, she said, Just one bite. I was still reluctant knowing I already was a few months in on my new lifestyle. Trust me, it’ll change your life. And so I did. Just one bite. And it was more than enough to change my life.
I felt ashamed in quiet, chewing yet struggling to swallow. I thought to myself, If you felt compelled to eat this from just a simple conversation, how can you combat grander desires? It put my life into perspective; if people who have less can endure more than me, what does that say about me? Lingering in my mind, this question taunted every decision I made, and the constant reminder guided the transition from my old and into my current lifestyle.
This is the inspiration behind Shamballa, a haven made from my heart for those seeking to savour the extensive world of flavours within our vegetables. The word “Shamballa” can be traced back to Sanskrit where it means a place of peace, stasis, and joy. Based on Tibet’s most sacred writings by Kanjur Tanjur, Shamballa is a hidden kingdom nestled north of the Bodhi Gaya city, a holy place in Buddhism where the Buddha was enlightened under the Bodhi tree. Folklore surrounding the interior of the kingdom varies. Some say it is an oasis enclosed by vast mountain ranges, tender snow, and glistening ice. Few believe there is an ethereal gate that lead to a metaphysical world, binding various intangible space-time dimensions with our own. Others state that this hidden oasis is too spiritually far for any soul to reach, and it can only be admired from a distance.
I warmly invite you into this realm, a sanctuary to detach from your reality and let Tibetan tunes wash over your mind. With the love & care bestowed upon me by nuns & yogis along my journey, I pass on their good karma on to you, my dearest sentient siblings.
I hope your body & mind find peace at Shamballa."