A Statement Addressing Harm within the Shambhala Global Community


From the Chicago Shambhala Center Governing Council:

Shambhala Chicago is part of a global community that aspires to awaken kindness, goodness and wisdom within society. This vision is rooted in the principle that every human being has a fundamental nature of goodness, warmth and intelligence. The journey of becoming fully human means seeing through fear and egotism, and waking up to our natural intelligence. It takes kindness—to ourselves and others—and courage, to wake up in this world, and it means that we cannot ignore the pain, confusion and harm that are also part of our experience. We need to look directly at the ways we maintain traditions, habits, power structures, language patterns, and other forms that perpetuate suffering—individually or collectively, whether consciously or unconsciously.

Currently our community is experiencing uncertainty and upheaval in response to reports of sexual misconduct by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, Shambhala’s lineage holder, first made public in Summer 2018. These reports have been investigated by a third-party investigator, Wickwire Holm, and the Sakyong has stepped back from his administrative responsibilities. In addition, other reports of harmful behavior have been reported within our community.  Since these reports have been made public, the international governing body called the Kalapa Council has resigned and has been replaced by a Board of Directors. A number of initiatives have also been put in place by the global organization, and you can find a list below with links to communications related to the situation.

Sharp divisions in the Shambhala community exist as to the path ahead. The unique practices and teachings offered by the Sakyong as the Shambhala lineage holder are supplicated by some and are now questioned or rejected by others. While we respect the divergence of views within our community, we also want to be clear that the Chicago Shambhala Meditation Center does not condone misconduct and that we remain committed to providing a space where people can gather, meditate, practice, and study the dharma free from harm and abuse.

In response to the reports of harm within our community, our center has held community meetings, surveyed responses from our members, and presented programming that addresses how to deal with sexual harm, trauma, and healing. We also continue to work with everyone in our community—those who struggle with concerns about harmful behavior in Shambhala, as well as those who choose to remain students of the Sakyong. The heartbreak of our current situation affects us all, and we can all contribute to a more enlightened culture.

We aim to provide an environment of benevolence, generosity, and peace within the Chicago sangha, alongside recognition of the systemic issues revealed within the Shambhala community (see links to information below). While some members have left the community out of disillusionment and pain, new members continue to join, and we welcome them as we move forward together on a path committed to building a brave space free from harm. 

We on the Governing Council of the Chicago Shambhala Meditation Center continue to believe that the three jewels—the buddha, the dharma, and the sangha—offer a path to freedom and becoming fully human. May our aspirations and our efforts be of benefit.

If you have comments, please email [email protected].

The following list will continue to be updated.


—2020—

Child Protection Policy, 3/22/2020

Letter from the Shambhala Board of Directors 2/2/20

Update from the Shambhala Process Team 1/20/20

Letter from Ani Pema Chodron 1/16/20

 

—2019—

Letters from the Shambhala Board

December Update from the Board 12/7/2019

Financial Report to the Community 11/17/2019

October Update from the Interim Board 10/13/2019

August Update from the Interim Board 8/21/2019

Moving Forward with Sale of Marpa House  7/30/2019

Investigación sobre el Tratamiento de los Casos de Abuso Infantil 7/26/2019

Investigation into Handling of Child Abuse Issues 7/24/2019

Recent Arrests of Former Shambhala Members 7/1/2019

June Update to the Shambhala Community 6/28/2019

Update on Marpa House from the Interim Board 5/16/2019

Further Correction to April Update 5/02/2019

CORRECTION: April Update from the Interim Board  4/26/2019

April Update from the Interim Board 4/25/2019

Financial Report to the Community 3/26/2019

Message from the Interim Board Regarding the Olive Branch Report 3/19/2019

March Update to the Community 3/9/2019

Response from the Interim Board Regarding the Kusung Letter 2/18/2019

Message from the Interim Board Regarding the Wickwire Holm Report 2/3/2019

Financial Update from the Interim Board Regarding Marpa House 2/3/2019 (log in)

Letters from the Process Team

An Update from the Process Team 11/12/2019

A Message from the Process Team Steering Committee 9/05/2019

July Update from the Process Team 7/10/2019

Update from the Process Team 6/03/2019

Update from the Process Team 5/01/2019

Community Update from the Process Team 4/04/2019

Introduction to the Process Team 3/06/2019

Letters from Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche

Letter from the Sakyong 12/14/19

A Message from the Sakyong 2/21/2019

A Message from the Sakyong 2/4/2019

Letter from the Acharyas

Letter to the Community from the Acharyas 2/20/2019

Letter from Lady Diana Mukpo

Letter from Lady Diana Mukpo to the Shambhala Community 2/19/2019

Letters from the Transition Task Force

Final Letter from the Transition Task Force 1/27/2019

Process Team Announcement 1/20/2019

News Articles

The Arrest of William Karrelis 2/1/2019

Reports

Olive Branch Report 3/19/2019 (scroll down page)

Wickwire Holm Report 2/3/2019

 

—2018—

Letters from Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche

A Message from the Sakyong 7/10/2018

A Message from the Office of the Sakyong 7/6/2018

Letter from Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche to the Shambhala Community 6/25/2018

Letters from the Shambhala Interim Board

Message from the Interim Board about Shambhala Day 12/27/2018

Message from the Interim Board about the Care and Conduct Policy 12/23/2018

Community Letter from the Interim Board 11/26/2018

Introduction Letter from the Shambhala Interim Board 10/31/2018

Announcement from the Shambhala Interim Board 10/11/2018

Letters from the Transition Task Force

Update from the Transition Task Force 12/22/2018

Update from the Transition Task Force 11/2/2018

Letter from the Transition Task Force 9/21/2018

Letter from the Transition Task Force 9/13/2018

Letter from the Transition Task Force 8/30/2018

Letter from the Transition Task Force 8/18/2018

Letter from the Transition Task Force 8/7/2018

Letters from the Kalapa Council

Letter from the outgoing Kalapa Council 10/15/2018

Letter from the outgoing Kalapa Council 9/11/2018

Letter from the outgoing Kalapa Council 8/23/2018

Letter from the outgoing Kalapa Council 8/11/2018

Letter from the Kalapa Council 7/30/2018

Letter from the Kalapa Council 7/20/2018

Letter from the Kalapa Council regarding leadership transition 7/6/2018

Letter from the Kalapa Council 6/29/2018

Letter from the Kalapa Council 6/27/2018

Finance Reports / Communications

Finance Report Update to the Shambhala Community 9/20/2018

Finance Report to the Shambhala Community 8/15/2018

Letter from the Shambhala Director of Finance 7/18/2018

Letters from around the Shambhala mandala

Letter from the Office of Practice and Education 8/19/2018

Letter from the Northern California Leadership 8/1/2018

Letter from Shambhala Mountain Center 7/10/2018

A Letter from the Women Acharyas 7/8/2018

Letters from An Olive Branch

Letter from An Olive Branch 9/10/2018

Letter from An Olive Branch 9/3/2018

Letter from / Introduction to An Olive Branch 7/20/2018

Letter from Ani Pema Chödrön

Letter from Ani Pema Chödrön 9/22/2018

Letters from other Buddhist Communities

A Letter from Kwong-roshi to the NorCal Shambhala Community 8/8/2018

Project Sunshine Reports

Announcement from Project Sunshine  9/28/2018 

Project Sunshine First Report

Project Sunshine Second Report

Project Sunshine Memorandum

Project Sunshine Third Report

Other Resources

Shambhala Care and Conduct Policy 2015

An Olive Branch Website

Kay Pranis: The Art of Holding Circle—on circle practice

Buddhist News & News Articles

Tricycle Article

Lion’s Roar Report alleges sexual misconduct by leader of Shambhala community

New York Times The ‘King’ of Shambhala Buddhism Is Undone by Abuse Report

Helpful writings by Shambhala Teachers

Susan Piver On Shambhala

Ethan Nichtern Reflections on Shambhala

Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche When a Buddhist Teacher Crosses the Line

A video message from Llama Rod Owens to the Shambhala Community

A video message from Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo & Lama Tsultrim Allione

Teachings

Meditation in the City with Shanté Small Holding Space, Healing Harm

Pema Chödrön No Right No Wrong

Tricycle Magazine Sex in the Sangha…Again (2013 interview)