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 Post subject: Shambhala International Owns Up to Past Abuse
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 6:01 pm 
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https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/shambhala-abuse/

eon Chilton | https://tricy.cl/2oU7FD9

Spurred by the #MeToo movement and anticipating articles in the Guardian and Newsweek, the Shambhala International Buddhist community recently announced that the organization is looking into past “abhorrent sexual behavior.”

“In our complex history there have been instances of sexual harm and inappropriate relations between members and between teachers and students. We are still emerging from a time in which such cases were not always addressed with care and skill,” reads the statement, posted on Shambhala’s Facebook page.

The statement, dated February 12, was written by the Kalapa Council, Shambhala’s governing body. No senior teachers were under investigation at the time, according to the statement, and no new complaints have been filed since, Kalapa Council spokeswoman Ashley Dinges said in an email sent to Tricycle on Wednesday.

Shambhala is an international Buddhist community with more than 200 groups and centers.

“Members have at times not felt heard or have been treated as though they are a problem when they tried to bring complaints forward. We are heartbroken that such pain and injustice still occurs. The Kalapa Council takes responsibility for creating spaces to recognize and heal wounds from the past, and we are feeling how full attention to such healing is in great need,” the statement reads in part.

Shambhala leadership is, however, distancing themselves from a 39-page report called Project Sunshine, which was published on February 15 but made available to Shambhala in advance, according to the report’s author. In a second letter sent earlier this week, the Kalapa Council said that their original announcement was not in response to the report, written by former Shambhala member Andrea M. Winn, which contains five accounts that include childhood sexual abuse, betrayal by senior leaders, and a male sangha member exposing himself on retreat.

In a telephone interview with Tricycle on Wednesday, Winn said that not only were several members of the Kalapa Council aware of the report, but also that they were sent—and presumably read through—drafts of the report, and saw the finalized version ahead of publication.

Winn said that Kalapa Council members Adam Lobel and Jane Arthur were planning to write statements supporting Project Sunshine, but ultimately they “did not feel comfortable” doing so. Winn said she developed what she thought was a collaborative and trusting relationship with Lobel and Arthur over the last few months, but that there has been a “curious breakdown” in communication over the past week. Winn said she was not sent a copy of Shambhala’s letter and only heard it had been sent out through the grapevine.

“If they come to a place of wanting to work together, I’m open to that. This is all about bringing . . . actual healing to the community,” Winn said.

Winn, a second-generation Buddhist, said she was forced out of her Toronto Shambhala community around 2000 after speaking up about the childhood sexual abuse she experienced. She has continued to practice on her own, and a year ago, decided to reach out to other survivors in the Shambhala community. She holds a master’s in counseling psychology specializing in treating relational trauma, and the report also outlines steps that she believes needs to happen, including an unbiased needs assessment and training for Shambhala leaders in trauma-informed practices so that abuse survivors are not re-victimized.

Shambhala members can report abuse, harassment, and other improper behavior to the International Care and Conduct Panel, and the complaint is investigated by the organization on a local, regional, or international level. Law enforcement may be contacted if there is a credible threat of harm.

“A lot of people have been harmed going through the process,” Winn said. “I have heard of one case where the woman was happy with the process—and many cases that left the survivor further traumatized and forced to leave the community.”

Tricycle asked the Kalapa Council to outline how the organization specifically investigates abuse situations. Dinges, the spokeswoman, declined to answer, but said that the council will investigate “serious allegations from the past even if no formal complaint is submitted” with the help of a third party. Dinges also said there will be a Shambhala-wide announcement on March 19 outlining next steps for investigating the Project Sunshine accounts.

Prominent teachers in the tradition, including Judy Lief and Acharya Judith Simmer-Brown, are supporting Winn’s report and findings.

“I am quite hopeful that this is a turning point for the Shambhala community. It is admirable to bring such discussion into the open,” Lief told Tricycle. “May it begin a path of healing for all involved.”

Ravenna Michalsen, a musician not associated with Project Sunshine, said she pulled back from Shambhala after experiencing harassment about a decade ago. Since taking her story public last fall, Michalsen said she initiated a conversation with one of the men involved, whom she says is now a teacher and has since resolved the issue with her and become a co-moderator of a Facebook group called Societal Lhasang, where Shambhala members can discuss abuse and brainstorm a way forward.

“I ended up having many conversations with different women about their experiences, and it broke my heart to hear how so many of them tried to report what occurred and were not believed, or ignored, or shut down . . . These experiences were so at odds with the truly luminous teachings of Shambhala, and I believe that dissonance caused many to leave the sangha,” Michalsen wrote in an email. “[Our group] has attracted the attention of those within the Shambhala hierarchy, so I am hopeful that active teachers and those seeking to be teachers will educate themselves about the patriarchy, the intersections of power, gender, and race and general common sense with regards to sexual behavior.”

Shambhala International is not alone in beginning to examine sexual abuse allegations. Last year, several Buddhist communities announced steps to rectify abuse and improper relationships within their groups. In August 2017, Sogyal Rinpoche resigned from Rigpa, the international Buddhist organization that he founded, following accusations of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. Sogyal was said to enter a period of retreat following the announcement (though he was seen shortly after at a conference in Thailand). Last spring, Lama Norlha, the abbot of New York’s Kagyu Thubten Choling Monastery, stepped down after multiple women whom he allegedly had sexual relationships with came forward. Norlha died last month.

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 Post subject: Re: Shambhala International Owns Up to Past Abuse
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 6:01 pm 
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https://www.facebook.com/groups/155357775215959/

This is a group for humans of all gender identities to talk about their experiences of being harassed, assaulted, abused or otherwise driven away due to gendered power relations within the sangha.

It is also a group within which I hope we can all plan / brainstorm ways to remedy this societal ill.

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 Post subject: Re: Shambhala International Owns Up to Past Abuse
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 6:03 pm 
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excellent comment:

How can the same people who enable the abuse, based on the Tantric teachings of 8th century medieval Indian sorcerers and sadhus, whose concepts about ' enlightenment ' are dependent on using young females and girls for their Tantric practices, ever stop sexual abusers? These people will use all their coercive persuasion tricks to get these brave, young Dharma brats in line. Keeping their vows of silence and secrets, until this blows over, again. These groups are anti-democratic and have groomed these second generation women to accept sexual abuse as blessings and Spiritualized Feminism, that allows harem-keeping and egregious guru sexual abuses, financial exploitation, physical labor abuses, and a complete suppression of free speech, inside their 250 plus groups, for over four decades. They just didn't believe, after all that Tantric programming that these former, totally thought-controlled children, these Dharma brats, steeped in doublethink and double binds to accept the abuse, since toddlers, would wake up and would get their voices heard by the mainstream news. How can the die-hard female enablers of sexual abuses, as dictated by their belief system, be the ones to 'help heal?" No, they are swooping in to control the narrative and confuse these Dharma brats, again.Just like a contingency of silencers and enablers from Shambhala swept into Sogyal's Lerab Ling for a month, to help those abused devotees keep quiet again with their mindfulness programme to make them feel guilty and bad about judging him, so he could escape and avoid criminal charges.

These are the same people, swooping in to control the narrative and confuse these young women and men. This is what they do to make sure they never take criminal charges against them and, after winning, suing their pants off, into 'impermanence.' Or at least shrinking them back down to tiny size, puncturing their incredible hubris that they are creating an enlightened society. If an authentic western Buddhism is ever to thrive. They are given tax-free status as churches, disguised as Mahayana Buddhism.

They have spun out hundreds of non- profits that target vulnerable populations, pretending "diversity, " getting government grants, with "feminism" in their mission statements. They tell the naive female public they are about "empowering women" when they destroy our Western principles of equality, most especially women's rights, inside their groups.. They are misogynist androcentric sanghas of Tantric confusion, pretending to be compassionate and open.

They are fundamentalist, patriarchal closed systems, with an inner circle of cult- controlled female enablers and a significant number of male predators, including the Lamas, inside all their groups.

www.extibetanbuddhist.com

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 Post subject: Re: Shambhala International Owns Up to Past Abuse
PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 6:13 pm 
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another comment

Y.r. Chang
It is unfortunate that the Tibetan Tantric and the Japanese Tantric disguise themselves under the name of Buddhism, but actually practice sexual rituals, which completely deviates from the teachings of Buddha. Sadly, the Tantrics have tried to make the world believe they are one sect of Buddhism.

How wise British Professor Laurence Waddell who conducted quite comprehensive research on Tibet was! He wrote the following passage one hundred years ago:

“For Lamaism is only thinly and imperfectly varnished over with Buddhist symbolism, beneath which the sinister growth of poly-demonist superstition darkly appears.” “Primitive Lamaism may therefore be defined as a priestly mixture of Sivaite mysticism, magic, and Indo-Tibetan demonolatry, overlaid by a thin of Mahayana Buddhism. And to the present day Lamaism still retains this character.” (Waddell, The Buddhism of Tibet, or Lamaism, pp. xi, pp. 29-30)

Buddha Shakyamuni never taught his followers to do sexual praxis. The concept of real Buddhism is to keep away from desires and thirst, either mentally or physically. To make ourselves, including the heart and mind, clear and pure is the basis of Buddhist praxis.

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