A Letter from the New York Shambhala Center – July 5th, 2018

To the New York Shambhala Community:

We write to you with tremendously heavy hearts and a range of emotions that have emerged since hearing the report that the head of Shambhala, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, has been accused of sexual harm by multiple women.

We want to state very clearly that abuse of any kind cannot be tolerated, and we are horrified and shocked by these allegations. We are committed to supporting the New York community and providing a safe space for everyone. We’re also committed to conveying your feedback, including your anger, disappointment and calls for change, to the Kalapa Council and to the Sakyong.

This is an evolving situation and we promise to be transparent and to communicate clearly with our community. To this end, we are creating a webpage to share what we know, what we don’t know, what we’re currently doing, and where we go from here. Beginning next week, please access this page ny.shambhala.org/healing-harm for up-to-date information and more resources.

Here are links to the information we are aware of to date, including news articles detailing the allegations and various Shambhala responses.


On Monday night, we held a large Community Gathering where we sat, shared, and processed the allegations together. It was an intense evening of difficult conversations, the first of many to come as we navigate this period of uncertainty. Thank you to everyone who showed up, stood up, and let your voices be heard.

For those who weren’t able to attend, and for those who have more thoughts you’d like to share, please send us your questions and/or comments. We may not have all the answers, but we are committed to hearing you and sharing your feedback.

A number of specific questions came up at the meeting that we will address here:

  • Who to contact with questions/input: Please send your questions and concerns to our New York Center leaders, Sarah Freidel ([email protected]) and Katherine Lieberson ([email protected]).
  • Will SMCNY be communicating info to Shambhala International: Yes, SMCNY is in direct communication with the Kalapa Council and is acting as a conduit to convey the concerns of the SMCNY sangha.
  • What is the process moving forward: We are currently designing a process to engage our sangha. We are committed to holding more Community Gatherings, smaller affinity group conversations, and more time for Public Sittings (details to come).
  • Do my dues or donations to SMCNY support Shambhala International or the Sakyong: No, SMCNY does not participate in unified giving (where Centers send funds to SI), so your dues/donations stay in SMCNY.


We sincerely apologize for the delay in getting this letter out to you. You should not have been met with silence during what has been an extremely challenging week. Though it’s not an excuse, we wanted to collect our own thoughts and feelings, and listen to feedback from the sangha and our teaching faculty.

This is an incredibly challenging time. We are a strong sangha here in New York, and we believe that our bonds with one another and the teachings go deeper than one person. This is a time for us to lean on our community, and our personal relationships with one another and the teachings.

We care deeply for each of you and we are here for you.

We look forward to hearing from you.

With love,

Sarah & Katherine