Addressing Harm

Shambhala Boston is part of a global community which aspires to awaken kindness, goodness and wisdom within society. This vision is rooted in the principle that every human being has a fundamental nature of basic goodness. Yet to honestly hold this vision and aspiration means we cannot ignore the pain, confusion and harm that are also part of our experience. We need to look directly at the ways we maintain traditions, habits, power structures, language patterns, and other forms that perpetuate this – individually or collectively, whether consciously or unconsciously.

Currently our community is experiencing uncertainty and upheaval from reports of sexual misconduct by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, Shambhala’s lineage holder, which are being investigated by a third-party investigator. The Sakyong has stepped back from his teaching and administrative responsibilities to focus on self-reflection and to facilitate healing. A number of initiatives have been put in place by the international organization which you can read more about here. The international governing body called the Kalapa Council resigned and has been replaced by an interim board which you can read more about here.

Here in Boston we remain committed to teaching and practicing meditation, and to work together as a community towards collective liberation. At the same time, we are clear that meditation is not a replacement for therapeutic healing of trauma. We aspire to create a supportive and healing environment for those who come seeking to ease their suffering. We recognize that that we will  continue to make mistakes, that not intending harm doesn’t mean no harm was caused, and we will never give up. We are working on getting better at having challenging conversations. We are working to offer more affinity spaces for the practice and support of particular vulnerable groups. We are working on training our community to better recognize and undo the causes of all kinds of suffering.

Our community is more engaged than ever before in acknowledging our history, seeing where we are caught, and transforming our culture to acknowledge and stop harm, and enact justice. And we know that much more work is needed to examine how these show up in our own hearts and minds.

We welcome you to join us in this practice.