The Burlington Shambhala Center Response to Misconduct in Shambhala

What Has Happened

At this time, the global Shambhala community is going through a period of upheaval following credible reports of sexual misconduct and abuse of power committed by some of its leaders and teachers, including the current lineage holder, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. A subsequent formal investigation has confirmed some of these reports, and additional reports brought forward by numerous individuals who have suffered or witnessed harm, have exposed a culture within Shambhala that has for decades given rise to certain abuses of power, both actively and passively. As a result, vulnerable members of the global Shambhala community have experienced unconscionable harm.

Our Local Process

The Burlington Shambhala community believes that this legacy of misconduct and abuse is incompatible with the Shambhala view of kindness, compassion, and connection to basic goodness. For the past several months, we have engaged with each other in a community process of exploring and sharing our individual thoughts and feelings about what is happening within the global Shambhala community and what our local response will be. While we recognize that it will take time to foster a truly inclusive community process and collaboratively develop the specifics of our local response, we also feel that it is crucial to make a clear public declaration of our current position and commitments in relation to ongoing revelations of misconduct and the reform efforts that have been initiated by Shambhala International.

Our Position

      As a community, we support the following declarations:

  • We strongly condemn the harmful actions committed by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and other Shambhala teachers, leaders, and members of the global Shambhala
  • We stand in support of every person within the Shambhala community who has suffered harm.
  • We openly acknowledge that ignorance, exploitation, and denial of entrenched patterns of power and patriarchy within Shambhala culture have led to incidents of harm that have been ignored, dismissed, and covered up, as well as attempts to pacify and retaliate against individuals who have chosen to speak We declare that this is unacceptable and must be eliminated in our Shambhala culture going forward.
  • We are examining our relationship with Shambhala International as we intelligently monitor and engage with their reform efforts, doing everything within our power to ensure that reforms will prevent future incidents of harm.


Our Local Commitments

As a community, we make the following commitments:

  • We are committed, first and foremost, to the health and well-being of our local Shambhala community.
  • We commit to providing a safe and accessible environment-free from harassment, mistreatment, and discrimination-for people of any gender, race, age, sexual orientation, and physical ability, as well as all spiritual traditions.
  • We are committed to examining and taking responsibility for the ways in which the culture of our local community has contributed, consciously or unconsciously, to harmful patterns of belief and behavior within the global Shambhala community.
  • We are committed to maintaining an inclusive process through which all members of our local Shambhala community may continue to express their thoughts and feelings, and collectively develop our local response to ongoing revelations and reform efforts at the international
  • We are committed to the continued presentation, study, and practice of the Shambhala and Buddhist Dharma.
  • We are committed to developing a local governance structure that is in alignment with the Shambhala vision of enlightened society and that will manifest the commitments in this statement.

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