While we would like to believe certain groups and individuals are immune from the effects of one corrupt individual, the reality is there are none. Where there are people needing a leader to guide them through the difficulties of life, there is always the potential that there will be someone willing to take advantage of their trust.
On February 23 UUCOC was to host one of Shambhala’s higher ranking teachers, Acharya Hardin, in the pulpit. In light of the recent upheaval within Shambhala we agreed we would not invite him to speak at this time. Our belief is that this would negatively affect those in our congregation who are healing from their own trauma.
While we are not providing a pulpit, at this time, to Acharya Hardin, we are not dis-inviting him from the campus completely. We agree that this event may be healing for those who currently practice Shambhala and it is only right to allow them that opportunity. We received the letter below from the Shambhala group on campus and believe they are doing the right thing by speaking out against the leader in strong terms. As leaders of UUCOC, we realize we cannot guarantee the outcome of this, and it may need to be revisited at a later time. However, it is only right that, as a church active in social justice, we support them in their efforts to make things right and honor their wish to continue practicing a tradition in which they find comfort.
We would not be a church that claims to live by our fourth Principle, “to respect each individual’s free and responsible search for truth and meaning”, if we did not.
Dear UU Community,
As you know, Shambhala International has been in the midst of a “Me Too” scandal involving the spiritual leader of the Shambhala community, Sakyong Mipham.
We at the Dallas Shambhala Meditation Center have been heartbroken to learn of the allegations and have patiently awaited a resolution in terms of how Shambhala International would proceed. In the interim, the Sakyong was asked to step back from his duties for a time until it could be decided what was needed. Recently, the Interim Board who has been put in place to govern Shambhala International during this time, has informed the community that the Sakyong will be allowed to offer a retreat this summer to students who have supplicated him.
Pema Chodron, an important teacher in the Shambhala lineage, issued a letter in response to the Board’s letter indicating that she did not agree with the course of action and that she would be resigning as a Senior Teacher in the Shambhala lineage.
The Dallas Shambhala Center held a community meeting to discuss these events and would like to inform you that we also do not support the Board’s decision, and have issued a letter to the Shambhala International Board to inform them of that. We at the Dallas Shambhala Center stand firmly behind the teachings of Shambhala which envision creating enlightened society. It is these teachings that we believe require that the Shambhala International Board take affirmative action to heal the community and the victims, and that returning the Sakyong to teaching without some clear act of reconciliation or rehabilitation is a serious mistake.
Council Members and Community Members
Dallas Shambhala Center