Creating safe spaces within Shambhala

The London Shambhala Meditation Centre is a community founded on appreciation for basic goodness and respect for human dignity. We celebrate diversity, compassion, and freedom of expression. Our sincere hope is that every individual who engages with our organization feels welcomed, cared for, and safe. This means that we also firmly reject abuse of power in any form.


Allegations of sexual misconduct

In recent months, allegations of sexual misconduct have been made against members of the Shambhala leadership, worldwide. Among the accused is our teacher and lineage holder Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. The charges have deeply shaken us and we feel compassion towards anyone who has been harmed. We therefore very much welcome the independent investigation which has been set up to examine the allegations.

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche stepped down from his leadership and teaching duties on July 7, 2018, while the investigation takes place. The outcome of the investigation is expected later this year. Members of the Kalapa Council, which governs Shambhala, has already stepped down after taking advice from a mediation organisation.

Whatever the outcome, the future will certainly bring changes for us. We see this as an opportunity to examine and develop our organisational structures and policies. It is also clear that many of us want to continue along our path of meditation training and study and to support the Shambhala community. Many discussions and conversations have already happened about this topic, both in the London Centre and in the wider organisation. We will hold further discussions and you are very welcome to join those.


Reporting harm

If you have been harmed by anyone in Shambhala, you are welcome to report this. There are several options open to you.

Olive branch

An Olive Branch is a neutral third party organization, independent from Shambhala, that assists reporters of harm by: 1) listening to reports of harm in an affirming and non-judgmental way; 2) offering support and encouragement to reporters; 3) helping reporters decide what, if any, actions they would like to take or any requests they would like to make of Shambhala; 4) identifying options available to reporters (such as filing a grievance or speaking to the independent investigator); and 5) serving, on request, as an advocate for reporters if they choose to take their complaint forward.

You can find out about the support offered by An Olive Branch and how to contact them here. ListeningPost@an-olive-banch.org  Please provide your name, email address and/or telephone number, and country or time zone.  All information shared with the Listening Post will be kept strictly confidential unless you direct them to share it with others. As experiencing and reporting harm is typically traumatic, they will respond to your individual needs and try to ensure that you always feel in control of the process.

After the Listening Post closes, An Olive Branch will prepare an anonymous summary of any reports of harm they received. This report will be given to the Interim Board of Directors and shared with the Shambhala community.

Regardless of whether you speak to the Listening Post, you may also speak to the independent law firm (Wickwire Holm) that is investigating the allegations within Shambhala. The investigation will be open until November 14, 2018.

You may also file a grievance under the Care and Conduct Policy adopted by Shambhala in 2002. If you would like an advocate from An Olive Branch to work with you during this process, one will be provided. The Shambhala Centre can give you a copy of the Care and Conduct policy. You can also see it online here: Care & Conduct policy. The policy is currently being updated.

Shambhala London Listening Post

As the Council of the London Shambhala Meditation Centre, we have appointed Nele Schoeller to the position of a local Listening Post in London. Nele trained as a Psychosynthesis psychotherapist (UKCP reg.), has been in practice since 2000. She has never held any office at Shambhala and is not affiliated to anyone, who is an office holder at Shambhala.

You are invited to contact Nele via email with anything you want to share in relation to harmful behaviour, witnessed or experienced, by anyone within the Shambhala community. The email address is: thelisteningpost@shambhala.org.uk

You can maintain anonymity if you wish. What you share will be treated with respect and confidentiality. You decide what will be done with what you share.

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With best wishes

Council of the London Shambhala Meditation Centre

 

 

Further resources from Shambhala and other Buddhist Teachers

Susan Piver On Shambhala

Ethan Nichtern Reflections on Shambhala

A video message from Llama Rod Owens to the Shambhala Community

A video message from Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo & Lama Tsultrim Allione

Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche When a Buddhist Teacher Crosses the Line

Pema Chödrön No Right No Wrong

Additional Links

Community Offerings from the Acharyas 20/08/18

Letter from Shambhala Mountain Centre 10/07/2018

A Letter from the Women Acharyas 08/07/2018