How Did It Happen?

Understanding and Healing Abuse in Buddhist Communities

Tag: Project Sunshine

Shambhala & Rigpa Call Abuse Victims Liars

Bells

Buddhist Project Sunshine has released its Phase 3 Final Report on sexualized violence at the core of the Shambhala Buddhist Community.  You can download the report here. Be sure to read Carol Merchasin’s investigative report at the very end of the document.  It’s easy to miss, but it contains important details concerning the alleged sexual assaults and misconduct as well as a timeline.

The Phase 3 Buddhist Project Sunshine report contains:

  • New claims of sexual misconduct on the part of Ösel Rangdröl Mukpo (Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche), Shambhala’s spiritual head and main teacher.
  • The names of Shambhala leaders alleged to have been involved in group sexual assault, individual rape, present or serving as attendants during such assaults, or procuring women for Ösel Rangdröl Mukpo.
  • Pema Chödrön’s alleged response to a Shambhala rape victim.

Shambhala’s Denial Statement

In response, the outgoing governing council (called the Kalapa Council) has issued a denial on August 23 which says, in part:

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Shambhala Leaders Acknowledge Sexual Harm

Sunrise

In the recently released Project Sunshine Final Report, second-generation Shambhala student Andrea M. Winn, MEd, MCS shares the results of her one year exploration into sexualized violence within her Buddhist community. She also offers recommendations for organizational change, and suggests ways individual and collective healing can occur.

She describes the vision of Project Sunshine in this way:

This one-year vision was to gather a powerful group of concerned citizens to protect the integrity of the Shambhala lineage. We will do this through influencing the Shambhala community to acknowledge and repair past abuse of women and children in the community, and integrate new values that honour tenderness, vulnerability and other strengths typically associated with the feminine.

On the prevalence of sexual harm in the Shambhala community, Winn says:

I have been part of many conversations over the past year with women who have been abused in the Shambhala community. The stories of abuse are nothing short of horrific. Quite simply, the violence that has happened and the lack of response from the Shambhala organization has resulted in a profound corruption in the heart of our community over the lifespan of this community – since the early 1970’s.

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