Addressing Harm and Community Care in Shambhala

Shambhala New York is part of a global community which aspires to awaken kindness, goodness and wisdom within ourselves, others, and society. This vision is rooted in the principle that every human being has a fundamental nature of basic goodness. To hold this vision and aspiration means the pain, confusion, and harm that are also part of our experience cannot be ignored. We need to look directly at the ways we maintain traditions, habits, power structures, language patterns, and other forms that perpetuate such suffering – individually and collectively, consciously and unconsciously.

Our community has been experiencing uncertainty and upheaval since allegations of clergy sexual abuse were made against Shambhala’s lineage holder, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, in mid-summer 2018, and a recently concluded investigation by a third-party investigator found some of those allegations to be credible. The Sakyong has stepped back from his teaching and administrative responsibilities to focus on self-reflection and to facilitate healing.  A number of initiatives have been put in place, which you can read more about here.

Here in New York we remain committed to teaching and practicing meditation, and to work together as a community towards collective liberation. At the same time, we are clear that meditation is not a replacement for therapeutic healing of trauma. We aspire to create a supportive and healing cultural sanctuary for those who come seeking to ease their suffering, regardless of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religious beliefs, physical disability, legal or socioeconomic status.  We recognize that that we will continue to make mistakes, that not intending harm doesn’t mean no harm was caused, and we will never give up. We are working on getting better at having challenging conversations. We are working to offer more support of particular vulnerable groups. We are working on training our community to better recognize and undo the causes of all kinds of suffering.

Our community is more engaged than ever before in acknowledging our history, seeing where we are caught, and transforming our culture to acknowledge and stop harm, and enact justice. And we know that much more work is needed to examine how these show up in our own hearts and minds.

We welcome you to join us in this practice.