In the summer of 2018, our community here at Shambhala Mountain Center became deeply shaken, as we learned that the spiritual leader of Shambhala, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, had been accused of clergy sexual misconduct.
Shambhala International hired Wickwire Holm, a law firm based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to conduct a third-party investigation of the claims. In February 2019, Shambhala International released the findings of the investigation. You can read the full Wickwire Holm report here. In summary, the independent investigator found enough credible claims to establish a pattern of clergy sexual misconduct.
A full list of communications from the past two years has been provided by San Francisco Shambhala on their website here, including the Buddhist Project Sunshine Reports containing the allegations, recommendations and reports from an Olive Branch, and letters from the Shambhala Transition Task Force, the Shambhala Interim Board, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, and many other resources. If you choose to read through the reports, please exercise caution as some of them are quite disturbing.
While Shambhala is going through a time of deep reflection and change, Shambhala Mountain Center is more committed than ever to continue creating a safe place of refuge and retreat for our guests. You can find our new Code of Ethics here.
As a way to keep this community updated on our perspective and plans concerning this matter, we offer the following communications for your reference (listed in reverse chronological order).
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our Guest Services department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“In July of 2018 the staff and board of SMC made public a set of commitments: to not minimize or rationalize the behavior of any teacher, including the Sakyong, to stand with the women who came forward, to do what is right even if it jeopardizes our existing power structures or financial position, and to be transparent. We also said we would be: “… watching closely and with hope for the Sakyong to engage in a genuine process of accountability, purification, and reformative action.” This has not yet happened.
In keeping with these commitments, we cannot invite the Sakyong to teach at SMC at this time. We believe we must ask the Sakyong to meet the same standards we would ask of any other teacher. These standards are embedded in our new Code of Ethics that will be signed by every teacher or participant who comes to SMC.”