Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexually as

The impulse to believe the absurd when presented with the unknowable is called religion. Whether this is wise or unwise is the domain of doctrine. Once you understand someone's doctrine, you understand their rationale for believing the absurd. At that point, it may no longer seem absurd. You can get to both sides of this conondrum from here.

Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

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Survivors of an International Buddhist Cult Share Their Stories: An investigation into decades of abuse at Shambhala International
by Matthew Remski
Updated 17:11, Sep. 28, 2020 | Published 15:09, Sep. 28, 2020



ON APRIL 4, 1987, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche lay dying in the old Halifax Infirmary. He was forty-seven. To the medical staff, Trungpa likely resembled any other patient admitted for palliative care. But, to the inner circle gathered around his bed and for tens of thousands of followers, he was a brilliant philosopher-king fading into sainthood. They believed that, through his reconstruction of “Shambhala”—the mythical Tibetan kingdom on which he’d modelled his New Age community, creating one of the most influential Buddhist organizations in the West—he had innovated a spiritual cure for a postmodern age, a series of precepts to help Westerners meditate their way out of apathy and egotism.

Standing by Trungpa’s deathbed was Thomas Rich, his spiritual successor. Rich was joined by Diana Mukpo (formerly Diana Pybus), who had married Trungpa in 1970, a few months after she turned sixteen. Also present was Trungpa’s twenty-four-year-old son, Mipham Rinpoche. While the cohort chanted and prayed, twenty-five-year-old Leslie Hays listened from outside the door. Trungpa had taken her as one of his seven spiritual wives two years earlier. After being called in to say a brief goodbye, Hays walked out into the evening, secretly relieved Trungpa was dying. She would no longer be serving his sexual demands; enduring his pinches, punches, and kicks; or listening to him drunkenly recount hallucinated conversations with the long-dead sages of medieval Tibet.

Trungpa stopped breathing at 8:05 p.m. His attendants bathed his body in saffron water; painted prayers on small squares of paper and fixed them to his eyes, nostrils, and mouth; then wheeled the gurney into an ambulance to bring him home for a ritual wake. The cortège drove south, through the chilly night, toward Point Pleasant Park, the forested tip of the Halifax Peninsula. They pulled into a circular drive at 545 Young Avenue, a mansion dubbed “The Kalapa Court” after the fabled Shambhala seat of power.

Devotees rolled Trungpa’s body into the living room, which had been mostly cleared of furniture except for a Tibetan throne. They dressed the body in gold brocade and wrenched its legs into a crossed position to prop it up in a final meditation. In his death notice to the community, Rich stated that the guru had attained “parinirvana”—a transcendant state in which he would be free from the cycle of rebirth. (Years later, Trungpa’s personal doctor would cite liver disease from alcohol abuse as the cause of death.) “We vow to perpetuate your world,” Rich wrote.

Following Trungpa’s death, his Halifax congregation and hundreds of pilgrims flocked to Kalapa for five days of visitation. Temple guards in full military uniform admitted mourners around the clock. They filed into the dim room, through clouds of juniper incense, to chant, meditate, and bow in prostration. They believed that Trungpa’s consciousness was expanding into the infinite. One group member recalls throwing the windows open to the cold, wet air as a funk set in.

Some mourners knew Trungpa from his lectures on meditation. Others would have been enthralled by his 1973 book, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, which has sold 200,000 copies. Others still had likely attended the opening of his Naropa Institute, in Boulder, Colorado, in summer 1974, when 1,500 spiritual seekers had arrived to listen to him lecture beside countercultural heroes like Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs. Many in the room in Halifax had uprooted their lives to live close to Trungpa, to work in his centres or transcribe his teachings. Some had pledged him their present and future lives through the ritual bonds central to Tantric religion. However they’d come, and for whatever reason they’d stayed, they were the core of what would become Shambhala International, a thriving network of more than 200 meditation centres and retreat destinations in dozens of countries. Headquartered in Nova Scotia, the organization’s motto is “Making Enlightened Society Possible.”

These days, Trungpa’s kingdom presents less like an “enlightened society” than it does a longitudinal study of intergenerational abuse and of how thin the line between religion and cult can be. In the thirty-three years since her husband’s death, Leslie Hays has felt her relief sharpen into fury. She has now emerged at the forefront of a movement of ex-followers who say that Trungpa’s public image as a spiritual genius has been used to hide a legacy of deception, exploitation, behavioural control, and systemic abuse. Their activism has organized around Trungpa’s son, Mipham, who eventually inherited his father’s empire and, in 2018, began to face his own public allegations of physical violence and sexual assault.

Over the course of two years, I’ve interviewed close to fifty ex-Shambhala members. They have told me stories of every type of mistreatment imaginable, from emotional manipulation and extreme neglect to molestation and rape—stories that turn Shambhala’s brand narrative, with its promises of utopia, upside down. Posting on the Facebook page created to support survivors like herself, Hays has shortened the group’s name simply to “Sham.”

NEARLY 2,500 YEARS AGO, Buddhism began, in ancient India, as an austere movement of self-discovery that preached meditation and meticulous attention to ethics. Early converts radically rejected the classism and ritualism of existing religions. Today, Buddhist teachings hold that the mind is the first and central source of conflict and that meditation can help a person see reality more clearly, past their anxious desires. This, it is claimed, can decrease or even extinguish cycles of violence.

Mass-market visions of this modern Buddhism tend to orbit around stately figures, like the Dalai Lama and Thích Nhất Hạnh, the antiwar cleric from Vietnam nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King Jr. in 1967. American popularizers include Jack Kornfield and Sharon Salzberg, who co-founded the Insight Meditation Society, in Massachusetts, in 1975. Their professional trainings helped commodify and suburbanize ancient meditation techniques into secular wellness tools for use in self-help psychotherapy and even business coaching.

Trungpa’s organization grew in tandem with this popular interest. But his own reputation was built on the idea of enlightened chaos. He introduced his recruits to “crazy wisdom,” the practice of using bizarre and sometimes abusive methods to jolt devotees into higher states of being. In a series of 1983 sermons, he compared the attainment of spiritual wisdom to the act of rape.

Vajrayogini ATS, Talk Three
by Chogyam Trungpa
September, 1983


Q: Do the pleasure and formality contain the ayatanas so that they don't become rebellious?

V: That is right. And you are self-contained, at the same time. You are also satisfied -- but you are satisfied by being in the mandala situation, altogether.

Q. Thank you.

Q: Sir, could you please speak some more about the rape principle? Specifically, it reminds me of the story of Tilopa demanding the teachings from the dakinis. Who is it that we are raping?

V: The phenomenal world altogether; anything that is rapable. (Laughter.)

Q: So the rape originates completely from our side. It is a function of our vajra pride -- or isn't it?

V: If you can do it. But you have to be ready for it, and you have to be capable of doing it.

Q: Sir, how does that enter our practice of taking abhisheka? In terms of attitude, how would we relate with it in the actual self-abhisheka itself?

V: It is having blessings and devotion, and expressing those. You offer mandala gifts at each point; and then you have done your part already. Then finally you are allowed to snatch the abhisheka principles.

Q: There seems to be a psychological leap that we are making here, and I need a clue to figure out what that is. I was writing down a list of little things that don't make sense, that point to this leap that we are making. For instance, "vipashyana is represented by freshly cut heads"; "drive all blames into oneself is transcendental butchery,"; "Ha Ri Ni Sa is everyday world,"; "when you work it's a feast,"; "boss is guru principle"; and finally, the whole thing about raping the phenomenal world. I can see that there is a psychological leap going on. I can see that the world is self-liberating if you are Vajra-yogini in the world -- except there is still nothing there to hold onto with whatever the heck that is. I don't understand what the leap is.

V: Well, I am sorry to say that that is up to you to find out. (Laughter.) That is why you are doing your practice. And that is why it is called self-secret.

by Chogyam Trungpa


Then what is known as the ultimate abhisheka, of the self-abhisheka, could be achieved without a vajra master. So you receive, or you take more likely, the abhisheka principles; you demand the abhisheka principles. It is almost like rape, in some circumstances. You take the principles of the Vajrayogini mandala, wisdom and realizations; you grab them, grasp them. The reason I refer to it as rape is that you know that you are raping the opposite sex, hopefully. [Laughter] Knowing that, you rape. And you have some understanding that the rapee might have some kind of passion, and might give in at the end, although at the same time, the rapee is terrified.

What you get from the self-abhisheka is a further dissolving of your ego. At the same time, you get the idea that, without anybody's help, you can make yourself into a king or queen. As you know, the principle of abhisheka is the same as coronation. You have a water ablution to clean yourself; then you put a crown on your head; you are given various scepters to hold; then at the end, you are given a royal title, a particular name.

His butler recounted, in a memoir, Trungpa torturing a dog as a metaphor for how the unenlightened should be taught the uncompromising truths of Buddhism.

However, the truth was that Max was a nervous wreck, and beneath my dignified British facade so was I. Finally, Max asked Rinpoche if he could go back to Boulder for a few weeks. Rinpoche gave his okay and Max departed, leaving Rinpoche and me alone in a house surrounded by deep snow. By necessity Max left his dog, Myson, with us. One night after supper Rinpoche said, "Get Myson and bring him in here." I dragged the shaking dog into the kitchen and following Rinpoche's instructions I sat him on the floor and covered his eyes with a blindfold. I set up stands with lighted candles by either side of his head. Myson couldn't move his head without being burned. Rinpoche took a potato and hit Myson on the head with it. When the dog moved, the fur on his ear would catch on fire. I put out the flames. Now and then Rinpoche would scrape his chair across the tiled floor and whack him again on the head with a potato.

"Sir," I began hesitantly, trying to stop him.

"Shut up," snapped Rinpoche, "and hand me another potato."

I started to empathize with the dog. In fact, I became the dog. I was blindfolded and was banged on the head with a spud and if I turned my head my hears would burn and there was the squealing sound of the chair on the floor. Pissing in my pants I was that dog not being able to move, feeling terrified and at the same time excited. Finally, the scraping chair and the potato throwing stopped and we released the shaking dog, who ran upstairs to Max's empty room.

"That's how you train students," Rinpoche calmly stated to me.

"Jesus," I thought, "that's pretty barbaric."

Rinpoche had me change the telephone number so that Max could not call us before he came back. He arrived, bags in hand, concerned that he had not been able to reach us. Before he could say much else, Myson rushed in and jumped all over him in exuberant delight. Rinpoche deliberately scraped the kitchen chair across the tiled floor. The terrified dog shot out of the house and fled across the field. Max was shocked and pointedly asked, "Rinpoche, what did you do to my dog?"

"I don't see any dog," he replied, looking at me.

"I got it!" I said, with the realization of being blindfolded and having three things happen to you at once, knowing the scraping and the disappearance of the dog were both somehow illusion. In fact, it was all illusion. Everything was illusion, but real. Rinpoche smiled and warmly greeted Max.

Did I get it? Not then.

-- The Mahasiddha and His Idiot Servant, by John Riley Perks [John Andrews]

Trungpa also taught a technique called “transmutation,” by which an enlightened person transforms the common or even the disgraceful aspects of their life into the sublime, thereby purifying themselves. The Tantric texts, logic, and ritual by which transmutation happens are all meant to be kept secret—which worked in Trungpa’s favour. His true ministry, if openly known, would hardly have ingratiated him to buttoned-down Nova Scotians.

Trungpa first scoped out Atlantic Canada in 1977. He travelled in the guise of a Bhutanese prince, making his disciples, during dinner, wear tuxedoes or evening gowns and white gloves.

At the end our retreat year in late May it was decided that we would visit the Promised Land, the site chosen for the enlightened society of either the near or far future, depending on whose story you listened to. The land that was chosen was Nova Scotia, Canada's Riviera. I was in favor of establishing enlightened society as soon as possible -- a year or two at the most. Others seemed to be dragging their feet.

Our Grieves and Hawks uniforms from London were ordered but would not be ready in time for the trip. So I contacted a military surplus company in New York which I had located through their advertisement in Shotgun News. I ordered one dark blue naval uniform for Rinpoche and an army khaki uniform for myself. Onto these uniforms I sewed two bars of medal ribbons that Rinpoche had designed. On my uniform I sewed my Rupon of the Red Division insignia. "Rupon'' was Tibetan for a company commander, which was the rank I then held. "Major" was pushing it a bit. Next to that ribbon I added the Iron Wheel medal and the Lion of Kalapa Court of Shambhala. This was jumping the gun somewhat because the Kalapa Court, which was to be located in Boulder, Colorado, had not yet been established. At most there were rumors of a house on Pine Street and an offer to purchase.

Sometime in the early light of morning Rinpoche, his consort, Jane, and I pored over the chart of the Province of Nova Scotia. It was to be a two-pronged attack. The Regent Osel Tendzin with his Group "B" would advance by air to Halifax Airport. The three of us in Group ''A" would go by sea, driving first to Portland and then taking the Nova Scotia Cruise Lines luxury ship up the coast. We would cross the Bay of Fundy to Yarmouth. The secrecy and stealth of our attack would surely take the natives by surprise. Finally, all of my training and reading of the Horatio Hornblower books would become useful information. Rinpoche would go as the Prince of Bhutan and I as his aide-de-camp, Major Perks, Lion of Kalapa. Jane would be Lady Jane, although I preferred to think of her as Lady Jane Gray. We were glad of our passports, which had our cover names of Chogyam Mukpo, John Perks, and Jane Condon.

The limousine that was rented for the ten-day operation was a silver Lincoln Continental. With great care I packed our evening dress tuxedos, as we planned to dine formally every night in the soon-to-be-enlightened province. We drove up to Portland, Maine, the next day to embark for the journey up the coast. Our limo was a bit oversized for the luxury liner, which looked more like a large ferry boat. After parking in the depths of its hull we found we could not open the rear doors more than six inches. Lady Jane could just squeeze through, but the Prince would never pass the gap. I pulled on his arms for a while until we realized the futility. Then the Horatio Hornblower in me became active. "The window!" I exclaimed. Lady Jane let down the rear electric window. The Prince put his arms around my neck and with Lady Jane holding up his pants we extricated him from the silver trap. On the ferry that morning, as the sun rose, the three of us stood on the upper deck and sang the Shambhala anthem. I threw an empty sake bottle overboard with a written copy of the anthem in it.

The Yarmouth dock smelled strongly of fish when we arrived and Rinpoche remarked that it reminded him of Tilopa. A good omen. We drove up to Halifax to meet the Regent's party and begin the expedition. (It had been named KOSFEF, short for Kingdom of Shambhala First Expeditionary Force. Later, there would be a medal ribbon for each member.) The Regent's force was already at the hotel I had chosen from the tourist brochure, the Horatio Nelson Hotel.

We had dressed in our uniforms earlier that morning on the boat, so we arrived at the hotel in style. Michael Root, the Regent's aide-de-camp, had arranged for the Shambhala flag we had hand sewn during retreat to be flown at the hotel entrance alongside the Canadian flag. Somehow I had it in my mind that there would be crowds attending our arrival. Instead, there was only the Regent's small party in their pinstriped suits and formal dresses. That evening we dined in our full evening dress at Fat Frank's, Halifax's only gourmet restaurant. There were speeches and toasts to the formation of enlightened society. We all sang the Shambhala anthem, with Fat Frank and his waiters joining in the end chorus, "Rejoice, the Great Eastern Sun arises."

I felt like the Kingdom had already happened, although Jerry, who was the Dapon, or Head of the Military, looked very glum. Michael and I talked to him on the way back to the hotel. "This is all crazy," he said. "Take over Nova Scotia? Make it Shambhala Kingdom? It's nuts!" This should have been my line, but somehow I had been overtaken by the fantasy. It all seemed real, quite easy, as I explained to Jerry in my enthusiasm. He was looking at me like I was crazy.

"You know," he complained, "you all come into the Nelson Hotel and salute Rinpoche who is pretending to be the Prince of Bhutan. You have that Shambhala flag flying next to the Canadian real flag in the front of the hotel. That's crazy! People will think we're all crazy!"

"Well," I argued, "Fat Frank and his waiters had a good time. Everyone seems quite friendly."

"You just can't come in here and take over," said Jerry.

"Why not?" asked Michael. "No one else seems to be in charge.

Jerry just shook his head. "I don't know. Taking over a Canadian province, making Rinpoche king and then calling it the Kingdom of Shambhala. Doesn't that seem a bit weird to you?"

"No," I replied. To cheer him up I pointed out the good omens: Tilopa at Yarmouth, letting us fly the flag at the hotel, and Fat Frank who wanted to be one of us and seemed to be convinced of our reality.

The next day Michael and I set off ahead of the rest on our tour of Shambhala province. We had the task of locating suitable lodging in each town for our evening stop. The first town we came to was Glasgow, a destination chosen by me. To my surprise there were no inns or hotels, just a place by the name of MacTavish's Tourist Stop. Half the letters on the neon sign were not flashing but Michael and I went in anyway. The worn carpet­ing was a bright red tartan. I began to have serious doubts. Michael asked to see a room and we went up the creaking stairs with MacTavish himself. He opened the door with a key chained to a piece of wood marked with a plastic six. Inside was a blue tartan carpet stained by years of spilled food and beer. In the center was an old iron bed that had once been white and a matching three-drawer bureau. A single bare light bulb hung by a cord from the tin ceiling.

"Where's the bathroom?" I asked. ''Au, down to the end of the 'all," said MacTavish. Michael started to giggle. I was not giving up. If I could arrange to get a bagpiper to greet the Prince at the motel as he drove up, that would at least be something.

"Do you have a piper?" I inquired of MacTavish. "Oh, yer," said he. "We gets all the pipers. The Halifax Herald, The Nova Scotian Week we gets them all." Michael let out a roar of laughter. I slapped my hand to my head and sternly hissed to him, "I am trying to put some pomp and circumstance into this." Michael was collapsing with hilarity. "Yes," he sputtered between gasps of laughter, "but we have too much circumstance and no pomp.

"Let's find a place to get a drink and have dinner," I suggested. We drove around the small bleak town in about ten minutes. There was a fish-and-chip type cafe and a Chinese restaurant. That was it. "No need to dine in tuxedos tonight," I thought.

The main party arrived several hours later and there was quite a bit of joking about the rooms. Rinpoche asked about the dining arrangements and I described what I had found. "Is the fish­ and-chip cafe very Nova Scotian?" asked Rinpoche.

"Yes," I replied. "They have something on the menu called Solom Gundy. Also, cod tongues and cheeks."

"That will be fine," he said.

"What shall we wear?" I asked. No one had brought any jeans.

"Tuxedos without the military ribbons," was the reply. I rolled my eyes up into my head and looked over at Lady Jane for help. None was forthcoming. The Regent made a mild but ineffectual protest. Michael just laughed and Jerry became even gloomier.

We all showed up at the cafe, with its plastic-draped tables an paper napkins, in our best evening dress. "This is crazy," whispered Jerry to me as we went in. I was inclined to agree. To my surprise the Nova Scotians were very hospitable, putting tables together and finding some cotton tablecloths and matching napkins. They were quite excited to have us there and the Prince was more than charming, explaining that we were touring the province. He also intimated that we might be interested in purchasing a large property so that we might spend more time in such a delightful country. The following day MacTavish's one phone in the lobby was ringing off the hook. The whole of Nova Scotia was, it seemed, for sale.

The next morning Michael and I set off again. We had looked at a map, where I had spotted a shortcut to the Annoplis Valley. All we had to do was cross the bridge at Bridgewater. We drove for miles over back roads, past abandoned farms and small towns with empty stores. The blacktop road became dirt. Michael, driving along at high speed, came to a screeching stop at the edge of a cliff. I looked at the map in puzzlement. Michael called out to a man chopping down trees by the cliff. "Where's the bridge to Bridgewater?" he yelled.

"Oh, they ain't going to build that bridge for another four years," came the reply.

"But it's on the map," I protested.

"Oh yes," said the woodsman. "Well, we has to be ready, don't we?" Michael pulled out the bottle of rum stashed behind the backseat. We sat in the car and drank it all, watching the flowing river with its inaccessible further shore.

We were late getting back to the others, who had found a fairly good Best Western. It was the annual Apple Blossom Festival and the selection of the Apple Blossom Beauty Queen was being held in the restaurant at the motel. Dozens of teenage girls at a high level of excitement were running about the motel in white gowns. For once, our tuxedos were the proper attire for the occasion.

Word was spreading that the Prince of Bhutan was staying at the motel. The organizer of the festival approached me and asked if the Prince would like to have the Beauty Queen "presented" to him. "Delighted" was the response from the Prince when I relayed the message. There is a picture in a local Nova Scotian newspaper showing a ring of Apple Blossom girls, and in their white-dressed center, with the Queen on his arm, is the smiling Prince. The caption reads "Prince of Bhutan meets Apple Blossom Queen. The Prince and his party are touring the Province."

Meanwhile, the phone at the Best Western motel was ringing nonstop with offers of property for sale. Jerry was freaking out about the FBI finding out that we were planning to take over Nova Scotia.

"Who else would want it?" asked the Regent.

At the beginning of the expedition I had been full of hope about creating a new society based on British Buddhist morality. Now, after being tossed about between the reality of Nova Scotia, the reality of the Prince, and the reality of the Apple Blossom Queen, I was unhinged again. Our last night was spent at the Pines Hotel in Digby, a town which at one time had been a resort. Jan, the Regent's attendant, came and spent the night with me. We were both too English to have any passion between us. We sat up in bed smoking cigarettes and sipping rum.

"What do you think of Nova Scotia?" she asked.

"I don't know," I answered. Then putting my doubts onto Jerry, I said, "Jerry is dropping out of the plan altogether. I hear he has resigned as Head of the Shambhala Military."

"Yes," murmured Jan. There was silence. I took another sip of the rum, feeling it burning in my mouth.

"Well, I think it's wonderful," she said, feeling my hesitation. "I plan to move up here as soon as possible and join the sangha in Halifax."

Her cheerfulness was infectious. I smiled and said, with all my doubts evaporating, "I am going back to Boulder. We are creating the Kalapa Court, a court for Rinpoche and the Kingdom of Shambhala."

"Yes," she added. "They need us, old chap. We are English. We are the only ones who can do it."

-- The Mahasiddha and His Idiot Servant, by John Riley Perks

He loved the region’s remoteness, isolation, and rain. Trungpa found in Nova Scotia the perfect setting for a kind of spiritual invasion. It was sparsely populated, with the highest unemployment rate in the country. Citizens were dissatisfied with local government and ready for something new. He observed that Nova Scotians were psychologically “cooperative” and “starved” and opined that they needed “more energy to be put on them.” Back in Boulder, he declared that he could feel the same goodness in the earth in Nova Scotia that he remembered from Tibet, which he had fled in 1959.

Trungpa started frequenting Halifax as his eastern seat after devotees acquired the Young Avenue property. By the time Trungpa died, around 800 of his most ardent followers—mostly young, well-educated, middle-class white Americans—had settled on the East Coast life, laying down roots from Halifax to Pleasant Bay, a small community in Cape Breton, where they helped establish Gampo Abbey, now presided over by one one of Trungpa’s most famous former students, self-help author Pema Chödrön. Followers opened businesses in the burgeoning wellness sector, working as massage therapists, acupuncturists, and psychotherapists. In the summer, they gathered for communal events, like [url]“seminary,”[/url] where Trungpa would teach Buddhist philosophy for days on end, and “encampment,” where members would march in parades and sing songs around campfires. Over the years, Maritimers joined the movement, drawn to its secular accessibility and devotional intensity, and soon came the first generation of born-and-raised Halifax Shambhala Buddhists, who joined the ranks of other so-called Dharma Brats in the US.

It was a community in thrall to Trungpa, a leader with an authoritarian streak whose eccentricities were typically passed off as transmutation. When he asked his dishevelled devotees to cut their hair and become professional, Trungpa—who had his suits hand-tailored on London’s Savile Row—was transmuting their late-hippie immaturity. When he dressed up like Idi Amin or rode a white stallion while wearing a pith helmet and phony war medals, he was transmuting the aggression of militarism.


When he insisted that his courtiers learn Downton Abbey–style dinner etiquette, he was transmuting the colonial pretension that had almost destroyed the Asian wisdom culture he embodied. On the grandest scale, Trungpa saw Shambhala as a transmutation of the nation-state itself—complete with a national anthem, ministers, equestrian displays, an army, a treasury, specially minted coinage, and photo IDs.

But Trungpa’s transmutations didn’t stop there. They were also used to rationalize the sexual abuse he committed against countless women students—abuse that devotees justified as Trungpa transmuting the repressed Christian prudery of North America and turning lust into insight. Public evidence of this abuse was first published in a local Boulder magazine in 1979, but the most public and credible accusations came from Hays on Facebook, starting in 2018. Hays remembers Trungpa demanding women and girls at all hours of the day and night, some of them teenagers. He was not only prone to outbursts of physical violence but, according to Hays, her job as a “spiritual wife” (traditionally a consort for ritualized sexual meditations) involved offering Trungpa bumps of cocaine, which she remembers his lieutenants pretending was either a secret ritual substance or vitamin D. Hays’s entire relationship with Trungpa testifies to how he used his charisma to prey on followers.

Hays grew up in a Minnesota farm town and moved to Boulder, in 1981, to study journalism at the University of Colorado. She was twenty. Three years later, she took a nanny job with a couple who were devotees of Trungpa, moving into their house. She was asked to attend a summertime Shambhala training camp so that she’d be more aligned with the family’s values. That winter, the couple was hosting a wedding that Trungpa himself would be attending. They regaled her with stories of his “unfathomable” brilliance and asked her to prepare to meet him with meditations that involved visualizing him as divine. They took her shopping for clothes and taught her to walk in heels. In our conversation, Hays remembers being impressionable at that age and thinking it would be fun “to meet an enlightened meditation master from Tibet.”

At the wedding, Trungpa lavished attention on Hays, then showed up at her employer’s house the next day to propose that they marry. Hays was baffled, so he invited her to his home for a get-to-know-you date. Guards ushered her into his bedroom, where he was waiting for her, naked. That same night, he asked her to marry him again. Stunned, she agreed, believing it to be an honour, and for a while, there was a honeymoon-like feeling between them. But, after the first week, Hays told me, things started to go wrong. In the bedroom, Hays says, he would use a vibrator until she screamed out in pain. Then Trungpa started to punch and kick her.

“What Trungpa did,” says Liz Craig, “was create an environment for emotional and sexual harm in which nobody was accountable for their actions.” Craig worked as a nanny in Trungpa’s household. “If he’d been publicly violent, it would have been easier to identify him as harmful and Shambhala as a cult.”

Another ex-Shambhala student, who asked to remain anonymous, knows of several women Trungpa physically assaulted besides her. “He pinched me to the point of leaving dark bruises,” she says. I reached her at her office in Nova Scotia, where she runs a practice as a sexual-violence trauma therapist. She described one summer-long event in 1985 at the Rocky Mountain Dharma Center (now the Shambhala Mountain Center), north of Boulder. She was twenty-three at the time and was recruited to cook and clean in Trungpa’s residence. Trungpa’s “henchmen,” as she calls them, would circulate through the participants to find the women he desired. “The entire scene around him was sexualized,” she says. “Trungpa was basically the king of the universe, and any contact with him was a blessing that was going to guarantee your enlightenment and eternal salvation.”

It wasn’t only women who were caught in Shambhala’s abusive culture. Ex-member Michal Bandac, now living in Germany, says that, in the 1980s, Shambhala adults introduced him to cocaine use when he was twelve. The scene was considered safe, Bandac says, because they were taught that, “according to Buddhism, the children are always better than their parents.” Bandac’s mother, Patricia, was a senior Shambhala teacher for thirty years and the director of the Nova Scotia retreat centre. Since leaving Shambhala in 2015, she has struggled to understand how the group affected her family. While she wasn’t aware of her son’s exposure to cocaine, she does remember him telling her about Shambhala women in their thirties luring him into his first sexual experiences. “I was kind of shocked,” she says. “But I didn’t do anything about it. It was so normalized. There was statutory rape going on all over the place.”

ABUSE CONTINUED after Trungpa’s death. In 1989, the New York Times reported that Trungpa’s spiritual successor, Thomas Rich, had been having unprotected sex with an unknown number of men and women while being HIV positive. This not only had gone on for years—Rich was suspected to have contracted the illness in 1985—but was likely known to senior leadership. Moreover, according to a 1990 article, Rich’s sexual history suggested such encounters weren’t always consensual. The media coverage forced Rich, in California at this time, into exile. After Kier Craig—Rich’s student and the brother of Liz, the Trungpa nanny—died of HIV/AIDS, likely contracted from Rich, even more Shambhalians fled the community. Program attendance and membership donations plummeted. The legal entities that held Shambhala’s assets were dissolved to avoid liability.

In the early 1990s, Tibetan clerics moved to stabilize Shambhala by certifying Trungpa’s son, Mipham, as a reincarnated master and the rightful heir to his father. It was an unlikely fit. Although in his thirties, Mipham didn’t have any of the expected monastic training and was not known for his charisma. Nevertheless, in 1995, Mipham was enthroned as sovereign over Shambhala and dubbed with one of his father’s own honorifics: “Sakyong,” which roughly translates to “Earth Ruler.”

As Sakyong, Mipham’s management approach was distinctly corporate. By 2002, he’d appointed the former public-relations head of Amnesty International as Shambhala’s new president. He replaced the mostly male administration with a more gender-balanced and international board of directors. Between 1999 and 2018, Mipham’s restructuring helped Shambhala’s global membership grow from under 7,000 to 14,000. Members participated in programs and training at outposts around the world, drawing an annual revenue of $18 million (US) in North America alone.

In the early 2000s, memories of Trungpa and Rich’s acts of sexual abuse seemed to have faded. Chödrön, Shamabhala’s self-help superstar based out of Cape Breton, lit out on an extraordinary run of mass-media success, appearing on Bill Moyers’ PBS miniseries Faith and Reason and eventually selling more than 1.2 million copies of her books in eighteen languages. Mipham also moved to shield what were reputed to be the most mystical elements of his father’s teaching content behind a pay-wall. He developed a pyramid-style series of training sessions and ceremonies only he could preside over as a kind of papal gatekeeper. Sporting brocade robes, Mipham came into his own as a regal figure, giving ritual initiations to new and old members and creating newer levels of secret practices for devotees to invest in. In 2005, he married Khandro Tseyang—the daughter of a Tibetan spirit medium who claims a royal pedigree. From the outside, things seemed to be looking up. But it was during these same Camelot years that Mipham allegedly assaulted attendants and students.

One of those students was Julia Howell, born into Shambhala in Nova Scotia in 1984. For children who grew up in the community, the promise and betrayal of their upbringing are difficult to separate. Sometimes, Trungpa’s world felt like a happy place. Some describe loving the free-range summer “Sun Camps.” They were consistently told that they were special—the “first Western Buddhists,” who would both embody and evangelize a new age. They had been given early access to authentic Buddhism, so they were told, and the teachings would take care of them. They were encouraged to internalize the group’s meditation techniques and use them whenever they lost their feeling of “basic goodness.”

When Howell was twenty-four, her mother was diagnosed with stage-four breast cancer. That fall, Howell applied for the Tantric training that was said to eventually lead to full citizenship within the mystical world of Shambhala. Her aim was partly to prepare herself for the coming loss and partly to join her mother in practices to prepare for death. Howell’s initiations involved vowing to perceive Mipham—now the group’s leader—as the gatekeeper to enlightenment. When her mother died, in 2010, Howell practiced with an intensity that matched her grief. Her ardour drew her closer to Mipham’s inner circle.

In 2011, Howell went to a party at the Kalapa Court, the enclave that Trungpa founded in Halifax. The occasion was Mipham’s daughter’s first birthday party. Howell says that, after his wife had gone to bed and most of the guests had left, Mipham, drunk, assaulted her. “I felt frozen, without agency,” she says. “I had taken a vow at seminary to follow his instructions like commands.” Alone, confused, and grieving her mother, Howell plunged deeper into her practice to make sense of it all.

“This liturgy embodies the magical heart of Shambhala,” announces the text Howell used. Written by Mipham, it proposes that the gifts of Tantric practice flow from developing a pure view of the master, then merging with him, body and mind. A key part of the ritual involves a purification fantasy. Howell was instructed to visualize light streaming down from a deity seated at the crown of her head. The light was washing away the karma of negative emotions, seen as dirt and muck pouring downward, out of her body and into the earth. Inevitably, this brought up traumatic memories associated with the assault. “It was an exercise in self-shaming,” says Howell. Her practice included visualizing Mipham, in royal attire, hovering above her head, then morphing into a fantastical bird, who entered her body and descended to dissolve into light in her chest. Should another assault happen, rather than experiencing it as a violation, she would will herself to see Mipham as the Buddha. “I was really training to think that rape is not rape,” she says.

After more than three years of trying to interpret the assault and justify Mipham’s behaviour, Howell decided to face him. It took several months to get the meeting through underlings. Mipham offered her a weak apology “about the whole thing,” as Howell remembers. She recalls him performing a healing ritual for her, then handing her a mala—a sort of Tibetan rosary—and saying, “This is for your practice.”

Through the summer and fall of 2017, stories about similar abuse ripped into other spiritual communities. In July, eight former attendants of the late Sogyal Rinpoche, a celebrated Buddhist teacher and the author of the bestselling Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, published an open letter describing decades of physical, sexual, and financial abuse by the religious leader. In November, Karen Rain alleged on Facebook that renowned yoga teacher Krishna Pattabhi Jois had sexually assaulted her and other women under the guise of “postural adjustments.” The children of Shambhala were watching. Andrea Winn, who had lived most of her life in Trungpa’s kingdom, decided it was time to speak out. (As Winn declined an interview, what follows is from publicly available records.)

“Something has gone tragically wrong in the Shambhala community,” wrote Winn in “Project Sunshine: Final Report,” a feat of guerrilla journalism published online in February 2018. The report featured five anonymous testimonies of assault, rape, and abuse that implicated unnamed Shambhala senior leaders as either enablers or perpetrators. “We have allowed abuse within our community for nearly four decades, and it is time to take practical steps to end it.” Winn, now fifty-three, included details about her own childhood sexual abuse by “multiple” community members and how, when she spoke out as a young adult, she was shunned. Her healing process led her to a counselling-psychology degree specializing in relational trauma. “One thing that is clear to me is that a single woman can be silenced,” she writes. “However, a group of organized concerned citizens will be a completely different ball game.”

Shambhala’s old guard likely knew that Winn’s report was coming. Three days before Winn published, Diana Mukpo, Trungpa’s wife by legal marriage, posted a letter to Shambhala’s community news website attempting to discredit Winn and the project, calling it a personal attack on her family. “When I first heard about Project Sunshine,” Mukpo wrote, “I thought it would be a wonderful way to embark on this important process. But now that I’ve seen its connection to the spreading of inaccurate, misleading facts, I no longer have faith in its ability to assist with this important task in an unbiased and honest manner.”

Winn teamed up with a retired lawyer, Carol Merchasin, who worked through the spring of 2018 to corroborate testimonies for a second, more explosive report. This round focused on allegations of sexual misconduct and assault against Shambhala’s leader, Mipham. Merchasin recounts that they reached out to the Shambhala Kalapa council to present the allegations prior to publishing and to encourage the organization to conduct an investigation. No one from the council would meet with the whistleblowers, but, according to Merchasin, the council hired a mediator who threatened her with legal action days before she and Winn planned to release the second report online on June 28.

Soon after the report was published, Mipham paused his teaching activities and issued a vaguely apologetic statement announcing that he was committing to a shared project of healing. “This is not easy work,” he concluded, “and we cannot give up on each other. For me, it always comes back to feeling my own heart, my own humanity, and my own genuineness. It is with this feeling that I express to all of you my deep love and appreciation. I am committed to engaging in this process with you.”

Shambhala leaders could no longer dismiss allegations of long-standing systemic abuse.

But Winn and Merchasin released a third report, that August, that included two further accounts alleging that Mipham had abused his power. Facing pressure from local and international media coverage, Shambhala decided to launch an independent investigation. The investigator’s conclusion, released in February 2019, was that Mipham had caused a lot of harm, and they encouraged him to take responsibility and “be directly involved in the healing process.” Two weeks after the findings were released, six former personal attendants to Mipham came forward with an open letter about their years of serving him. They described his chronic alcohol abuse and sexual misconduct, his profligate spending, and his physical assaults against Shambhala members. Six days later, forty-two of the organization’s teachers posted their own open letter, calling on Mipham to step down “for the foreseeable future.”

Suddenly, Shambhala leaders could no longer dismiss allegations of long-standing systemic abuse. The community’s Dharma Brats—those of Winn’s generation and later who’d grown up in the kingdom—now had a lot to say and a place to say it.

SOMETIME AFTER the third report, Mipham fled Canada, with his wife and three young daughters, for India and Nepal. In February 2019, he issued a carefully worded acknowledgment of the abuse crisis, declaring that he would retreat from his teaching and administrative duties. “I want to express wholeheartedly how sorry I feel about all that has happened,” Mipham lamented. “I understand that I am the main source of that suffering and confusion and want to again apologize for this. I am deeply sorry.”

For more than a year, Mipham did in fact lie low, avoiding public events. But what is expedient in public-relations terms carries a steep price for Tantric devotees. For them, Mipham’s legal and administrative standing pales against the belief that his very body carries his father’s perfect revelation: the ritual keys to the Shambhala kingdom. It’s a Faustian bargain: they must petition for Mipham’s return regardless of what they know of him and despite the repercussions for people like Julia Howell. For those who believe that Trungpa’s revelation was messianic, the double bind is even tighter. It is said that Tantric teachings can be given only if devotees supplicate to the master for them. If they don’t literally beg for Mipham to come back, they’ll be personally responsible for the death of the enlightened society that was meant to save the world.

Last December, Mipham sent an announcement out over Shambhala networks featuring a cryptic love poem to his devotees: “Like a mist, you are always present. / Like a dream, you appear but are elusive. / Like a mountain, you remain an immovable presence in my life.” The rest of the letter offered family and business news and bemoaned the state of the world.

Two weeks later, a newsletter from the Shambhala board pledged support for Mipham’s return to ritual duty. The letter explained that 125 devotees had requested that Mipham confer the “Rigden Abhisheka”—an elite level of Shambhala teaching—in a bid to restore legitimacy to the damaged brand. In response, the Shambhala centre in France invited Mipham for the summer of 2020.

Pema Chödrön responded by stepping down from her clergy position. In a letter posted to the group’s news service in January, Chödrön said that she was “disheartened” by Mipham’s announced return. She had expected him to show compassion toward the survivors of his abuse, she wrote, and to do “some deep inner work on himself.” But it was the support from the board, she added, that distressed her more. “How can we return to business as usual?” she wrote. “I find it discouraging that the bravery of those who had the courage to speak out does not seem to be effecting more significant change in the path forward.”

The months that followed Chödrön’s letter have seen stock in Trungpa’s legacy continue to plummet. Shambhala centres in Frankfurt and New York issued rebukes of the board’s decision to support Mipham’s return. The board countered with a long-winded affirmation to steadying the course with reforms that stopped short of disinviting Mipham. And they kept fundraising.

Group members were further rattled when Michael Smith, a fifty-five-year-old former member of the Boulder Shambhala group, pled guilty to assaulting a thirteen-year-old girl he’d met through the community in the late 1990s. A similar case against William Lloyd Karelis, a seventy-three-year-old former meditation instructor for the Boulder Shambhala community, is set to go to trial next spring. Karelis is accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting a thirteen-year-old girl who had been assigned to him as a student in the 1990s. In February, the Larimer County Sheriff ’s Office closed a more than year-long investigation into “possible criminal activity” at the Colorado centres. They released a redacted file of their interviews with ex-members, which corroborated several of the abuse testimonies published by Winn and Merchasin, including Howell’s account of Mipham assaulting her in Halifax. No charges were filed.

On March 11, when the WHO declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, Mipham was leading a Tantric meditation retreat at a monastery in Nepal. Along with the monks, 108 pilgrims from seventeen countries attended—108 being a number of ritual perfection in Indo-Tibetan religions. Mipham’s blog reports a schedule of ceremonies, meet-and-greets with himself and his wife, and a sermon from the monastery’s abbot, who affirmed that Mipham’s leadership challenges were common to great Buddhist teachers. A wide-angle photo shows the middle-aged devotees, many of them white, sitting at attention in the shrine room. Each sports a lapel button emblazoned with what appears to be Mipham’s portrait.

After the retreat, which ended March 15, pandemic lockdowns shuttered Shambhala spaces around the world. With retreat and programming income slowed to nearly nil, the San Francisco centre notified members it was on the brink of insolvency, and the larger retreat centres asked members for a bailout. Mipham’s summer event in France was postponed, but he kept in touch with devotees by sending out pandemic practice instructions, including advice for devotees to chant the mantra of the Medicine Buddha, often used for healing.

On May 14, a group of the Nepal pilgrims paved the way for Mipham’s full return with an open letter reaffirming him as the organization’s leader. The writers claimed that “many of the allegations reported about the Sakyong were exaggerated or completely false” but that, “if someone felt hurt or confused by their relationship with him, he has done his best to address their concerns personally.” (Julia Howell confirmed that she has not heard from Mipham since the allegations were published.) Mipham’s Kalapa Court is wholesome, the letter continued, is responsive to the needs of followers, and remains the centre of the Shambhala universe. “There is no Shambhala without the Sakyong,” they wrote.

As of this writing, Mipham seems to be consolidating an inner core of devotees who will remain loyal to him and continue their journey toward his kingdom. And, while the remaining Shambhala administration claims to be working on reform policies, it’s not quite clear who will remain to enact them or keep the faith. I made multiple requests to Mipham for comment—directly and through various Shambhala administrators—about the Winn report, the independent investigation, Howell’s allegations, and his future teaching intentions. He did not respond.

FOR SURVIVORS of Shambhala, the reckoning continues—and with it, the struggle for recovery. Rachel Bernstein, a Los Angeles psychotherapist who treats ex–cult members, told me that it can be healing to reconnect not only with former members of the same group but also with former members of similar groups, so the person can understand that abuse patterns are standard and predictable. Janja Lalich, an expert on the effects of cults on children, argues that kids who grow up in a group controlled by charismatic leadership have almost no access to outside points of view or ways of being in the world. That’s why she encourages ex-members to reestablish secure bonds with family or those who knew them before they entered the group. But, for those born into a cult or recruited through their parents at a young age—as was often the case with Shambhala—this option is rarely open.

For survivors of Shambhala, the reckoning continues—and with it, the struggle for recovery.

John (whose last name is withheld for reasons of family privacy) ran out of options completely. In 1980, at the age of twelve, he left his father and stepmother in Miami to join his mother, Nancy, in Colorado, where, as part of her program in Buddhist psychology at Naropa University, she had to complete a three-month retreat at the Rocky Mountain Dharma Center. While she was meditating from dawn till dusk, John was in residence. One night, he said, he was woken up by a man—a student in his mother’s cohort—assaulting him. John froze and pretended to stay asleep.

al wife” and later died by suicide at age thirty-four.) When John was fourteen, he wrote, another man at the Rocky Mountain Dharma Center—possibly an employee—abused him. Around this time, John first attempted suicide.

John told me his mother had gone to Trungpa and asked him what she should do about her troubled son. According to John, the leader told his mother it needed to be handled by professionals. Then Trungpa told her that she should attend another intensive residential seminary program. At nineteen, John wrote his mother a letter about his sexual abuse. She never answered it, he said. Years later, he found it, opened, in a family photo album. He ripped it up.

The abuse followed John into adulthood. Monique Auffrey was John’s partner from 2000 to 2004; they have a daughter together, now eighteen. Auffrey knew John as someone who was both victim and aggressor, who struggled with substance abuse and who used Shambhala psychology to try to persuade her that his domestic violence was acceptable. In 2011, John was charged with uttering death threats against Auffrey and their daughter as they attempted to leave Nova Scotia. “My main memory of him is fear,” she said by phone from Calgary, where she’s the CEO of a non-profit that provides services to women and children escaping domestic violence.

Auffrey said that, when she was pregnant, John forced her to take Shambhala training. She hadn’t been part of the Buddhist group before meeting John. She spoke of a cycle of abuse similar to that described by victims of Trungpa and Mipham—and similar to John’s own history as a victim: “He would be violent with me, attack me, insult me, threaten me, and then the response to dealing with that was to meditate and take more Shambhala lessons.” Auffrey remembered “There’s neither good nor bad” being a consistent mantra in the group. “It always felt like there was no accountability for anything, no matter what it was,” she said. “The group’s ideology allowed people to get away with rape, with assault, with crimes that the larger population would never put up with.”

In our second interview, in May 2019, John described a moment that suggested he had finally abandoned Shambhala teachings. He was driving one day and pulled over when he heard an interview with Leonard Cohen on the CBC. “‘These religions that promise you liberation and freedom,’” John recalled Cohen saying, “‘that you will be liberated from all of this: it’s a cruel promise that won’t come true.’ “I just burst out crying,” John said. “I was just so happy that he said something I was feeling all along. That there was a scam or some kind of package being sold. And he was saying: ‘In many cases, you feel things worse, more intensely, more painfully.’” A month after that interview, John died by suicide in his Dartmouth home.

By phone, Auffrey offered a personal assessment of her late partner that seemed to ring true for Trungpa’s legacy in general. “If people had rallied together to hold him accountable for his own behaviour,” she told me, “there might have been a chance that he could have gotten the help he needed. That’s the way I like to look at it—to hope that, with intervention, we can change the course of such a destructive trajectory.” It struck me, after we hung up, that her words sounded almost Buddhist in their mindfulness and compassion.
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Part 1 of 2

The History of Karme Choling: Local writer offers a preview of 'Legends of Barnet’
by Kathleen Monroe
Sep 29, 2020 Updated Sep 29, 2020


Karmê Chöling, a Buddhist retreat center, nestles in a restored farmhouse in the foothills of the Green Mountains on an expanse of rolling meadows. Frequently, passersby glimpse white, peaked event tents. Tibetan prayer flags punctuate Patneaude Lane. A rich red-paneled, side-lighted door with royal blue, brilliant yellow, and green accents welcomes visitors. The symbolic lattice-patterned endless knot decorates a gabled portico supported by turned wood columns.

How did this Buddhist retreat center, celebrating its 50th anniversary, end up on a former dairy farm in a tiny Northeast Kingdom town? Finding no local answer to my question, I became engaged in a journey across continents to solve the mystery.

Local author Kathleen Monroe's book provides well-researched details she uncovered exploring the history of Barnet. Everything from abolition, to Karme Choling’s (above right) founding, to the story of the Hells Angels roaring into bucolic Barnet.

In February 1939, a baby boy, later named Trungpa, was born to the Mukpo family in Eastern Tibet. His mother dreamed on the night of his conception, “a being had entered her body with a flash of light;” that year flowers bloomed in the neighborhood although it was still winter….” At his birth, a water pail unaccountably filled to the brim with milk, and the village was blessed with a rainbow. Trungpa’s relatives dreamed of holy Buddhist lamas coming in search of a reborn Buddhist saint.

Ordained at age 8, the boy was schooled in lines of Tibetan Buddhism emphasizing meditation practice.

In 1959, Chinese military invaders attacked Tibet’s religious institutions, executing and arresting monks, looting, and destroying monasteries. Following the Dalai Lama’s escape from Tibet, 80,000 Tibetans fled to India through the Himalayas. Trungpa, and a reincarnate custodian of another Buddhist lineage, Akong Rinpoche, were among them.

In India, Trungpa and Akong were befriended by Freda Bedi, an Oxford graduate and one of the first Western Tibetan Buddhist nuns (1964). Bedi’s son recalled Trungpa as voluble, flamboyant, “a naughty boy but a brilliant teacher.”

In 1963, having improved his command of English, Trungpa studied comparative religion, philosophy, fine arts, and Japanese flower arranging at Oxford University. Akong, a doctor of Tibetan medicine, supported the pair by working as a hospital porter.

Trungpa and Akong arrived on the scene at a time when the Beat Generation and the Civil Rights movement were in full swing. The free love and counterculture movement, along with such radical ideas as open marriage, were emerging. Beat idols Allen Ginsberg and Gary Snyder, as well as leaders in the psychedelic movement such as Richard Alpert (known as Ram Dass) gained momentum in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Middle-class young adults set out to find new spiritual paths as traditional religious practice decreased. An interest in Eastern religions, including Buddhism, gained marketability. Young people sought teachers and gurus who offered meditation classes. Trungpa was in the right place at the right time to capture the imagination of the spiritually estranged and those disgruntled by Western materialism and political and social turmoil.

In the Scottish parish of Eskdalemuir, an Ontario-born lama founded a retreat center. In 1967, the lama returned to Canada. Retreat center trustees extended an invitation to Trungpa and Akong to replace the leadership. Samye Ling—Europe’s first Buddhist monastery—became one of the first stopping places for a hodgepodge of Buddhist scholars and hippies. In 1969, Trungpa published Meditation in Action, and his reputation spread like wildfire.

Trungpa sought to demystify the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism and make Buddhism accessible to Westerners. Akong wanted to hold onto the Tibetan cultural practices inherent in Buddhism. Friction intensified between the two men. Samye Ling, combined the rigors of a monastery with the unconventional freedom of a hippie commune. Aromas of pot and macrobiotic food wafted through the halls.

The villagers spread gossip about sex and orgies at the monastery. Trungpa struggled to impart the basics of Buddhist sitting meditation, but he remarked that most of those congregated “seemed to be slightly missing the point.”

Trungpa’s conviction was that the West was ripe for meditation. Akong, however, summed up the early days of Samye Ling by saying, “We didn’t have so much spiritual activity—we had hippies.”

In 1968, Trungpa spent 10 days in a Bhutan cliffside “tiger lair” seeking inspiration on how to bring dharma—Buddha’s teaching—to the West. The message he realized was to expose “spiritual materialism,” a term he coined and expounded on. In 1969, the unlicensed Trungpa suffered an alcoholic blackout, crashing his sports car into the façade of a joke and magic shop. The revelations in Bhutan, coupled with the accident, influenced Trungpa’s decision to renounce his monastic vows and fully embrace Western living. He believed the teachings of Buddhism should be free of cultural trappings and religious fascination to take root in the West. To proclaim the dharma to Westerners, he doffed his monastic robes, eliminated Buddhist jargon, co-opting vocabulary from other world cultures.

Trungpa and his wife, Diana Pybus, eloped in 1970.

In December 1968, 15-year-old Diana Pybus caught his eye. A rebellious schoolgirl, delighted by the Tibetan’s offer of marriage, Diana and Trungpa eloped on Jan. 3, 1970. Upon hearing the news, Diana’s mother fainted. The conflict between Trungpa and Akong Rinpoche intensified. Living in Scotland became increasingly uncomfortable for the young newlyweds.

Diana urged Trungpa to move to the United States. But how did his first meditation center there come to be located in Barnet?

Early followers, Tania Leontov, John J. Baker, Jean-Claude van Itallie, and Fran Lewis were able to piece together the story of the founding of Barnet’s Tail of the Tiger. Patience Lindholm, Jo Ann Newman’s daughter, helped fill in the picture.

In July 1967, thirty-one-year-old Tania Leontov (1936-), an off-Broadway costume designer, and Jean-Claude van Itallie, an American playwright, took van Itallie’s hit play, America Hurrah, to the Royal Court Theatre in London. The controversial play was forced to close. The director, Joe Chaikin, met Vietnamese Buddhist monks at a retreat center in North London. He encouraged members of the cast and crew to expand their life experiences and suggested they visit Samye Ling. Leontov, who knew nothing about Buddhism, set off to check it out. There she met Richard Arthure, Trunga’s secretary, who in turn introduced her to Trungpa.

“I realized I wanted to be in his presence,” Leontov recalled. Trungpa expressed his curiosity about the United States to Leontov. He wanted to lecture in America.

Studying under Trungpa at Samye Ling at the time was Josephine Ann Williamson Newman of Branford, Connecticut. Newman appreciated Trungpa as “a wonderful teacher.” She and Leontov became friends. Jo Ann, married to James A. Newman, Jr., vice chairman of international consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton, was very wealthy.

Booz, Allen and Salomon Fill Key Positions
Sept. 29, 1970
New York Times

Booz, Allen & Hamilton, Inc., worldwide consulting and engineering organization, announced yesterday the promotion of three top officers with a combined total of 70 years’ service to head the new management team, effective Thursday.

They are Charles P. Bowen Jr., who becomes chairman, James W. Taylor, president, and James A. Newman, vice chairman. James L. Allen, 65 years old, a founding partner of the concern and chairman for the last 25 years, was elected honorary chairman. He will continue as chairman of the finance committee of the board.

Mr. Bowen, 56, has been president since 1962 when the company became incorporated. Before that he was the top managing partner of the firm, which he joined as a consultant in 1944. He has a degree in business an engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he graduated in 1935. The executive lives with his wife, a son and three daughters in Connecticut.

Mr. Bowen is a trustee for the Committee for Economic Development and a member of the National Industrial Conference Board.

Mr. Taylor, 52, joined the company in 1951, became a partner and, upon its incorporation, was made executive vice president. His degree from the Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1940 is in management engineering. Mr. Taylor is a director of the Association of Consulting Management Engineers, member of the American Institute of Industrial Engineers and a trustee of Beaver College.

Mr. Newman. 55, has been with the concern since 1946 and was a partner before becoming executive vice president in 1962. He received degree in chemical engineering from M.I.T. in 1937.

All three executives are on the board of directors of Booz, Allen, which became publicly owned Jan. 13 and is traded over the counter.

For the nine months ended June 30, the company's business volume was $42‐million, with earnings of 66 cents share.

Salomon Brothers announced yesterday the admission of four men—all of them in their thirties— as new general partners and of 16 others, including former Federal Communications Commission chairman Newton N. Minow as limited partners.

In addition, the giant investment concern disclosed that Sidney Homer, who has been a general partner since he joined the firm in 1961, has purchased a limited partnership. This was in anticipation of retirement on Oct. 1, 1971 by Mr. Homer, who has achieved a wide reputation as one of the nation's leading bond marked analysts. He has been in Wall Street since 1923.

Mr. Homer, who will be 68 years old next month, confirmed that he will resign his general partnership upon retirement and will not be active in the firm.

Before today's actions, Salomon Brothers had 29 general partners and 18 limited partners.

The new general partners are Jonathan H. Bigel. William M. Brachfeld, G. Clifford McCarthy Jr., and Morris W. Offit.

Mr. Bigel, 30 years old, is an arbitrage trader who joined Salomon in 1965 after serving for three years as pension administrator with the Bankers Trust Company. He lives in Hewlett, L. I., with his wife and three children.

Mr. Brachfeld; 36, is in charge of Government bond trading. He joined the firm in 1957 and was named limited partner in 1969. A resident of Riverdale, Mr. Brachfeld and his wife have two children.

Mr. McCarthy, a New York sales unit manager, is 36 years old. He lives with his wife and daughter in Staten Island.

Mr. Offit, 33, left the Mercantile Safe Deposit and Trust Company in Baltimore to join Salomon in late 1968. He is director of the concern's stock research. He and his wife have two children and live in Harrison, N.Mr. Minow is a member of Leibman, Williams, Bennett, Baird & Minow in Chicago. He and his wife, who live in Glencoe, Ill., have three children.

Salomon Brothers also announced that general partners Daniel M. Kelly, New York, and Julian L. Meyer, St. Louis, will become limited partners.

Booz, Allen Picks Senior Officers Library Reading Room []
Declassified in Part: Sanitized Copy Approved For Release @50-Yr 2013/12/17: CIA-RDP73-00475R000101900001-6
January 13, 1966

James W. Taylor

Edwin L. Morris

James A. Newman

A realignment of several senior posts for domestic and international operations was announced here yesterday by Booz, Allen & Hamilton, Inc., management consultants.

Named to new executive vice presidencies were James A. Newman, 51 years old; Edwin L. Morris, 56, and James W. Taylor, 47.

Mr. Newman, formerly a vice president, was named head of the company's eastern region. This includes direction of the company's Washington, D.C., office's management-consulting service for the Federal Government.

The executive, a native of Winchester, Mass., also was named president of Booz, Allen & Hamilton International N.V., a subsidiary, and as head of all European activities.

The presidency of Booz, Allen International was held by Ralph E. Smiley, who becomes chairman of the subsidiary.

Named managing director of European operations, reporting to Mr. Newman, was Newton F. Parks, a corporate vice president based in London.

Also reporting to Mr. Newman are Conrad Jones, a vice president who has been named managing officer of the eastern region, and Harry L. Vincent, who continues as head of the Washington office.

Mr. Morris, a native of Fargo, N.D., also served as a corporate vice president. He has been named head of Booz, Allen's central region and also as coordinator of marketing services.

John T. Shutack, a vice president, has been appointed managing officer of the central region, reporting to Mr. Morris. Both men are in the company's Chicago office.

Mr. Taylor, previously a vice president, was born in Bismark, N.D. He will continue as head of Booz, Allen & Hamilton's Operating Methods division and will assume additional responsibilities for its computer systems division.

After a time, Leontov returned to the United States. Over lunch, Leontov and Newman shared Trungpa’s curiosity about the United States and described her ambition to open a meditation center here in the States. “What are you going to do?” Newman asked. Leontov explained they would have to find farmland suitable for the venture. Impulsively, Newman piped up saying, “I’ll buy the farm.” The pair wrote letters to Trungpa, telling him of their plans and urging him to come to the United States. Leontov’s interest in convincing Trungpa to come to North America was driven in part by the hope that “Rinpoche could be back in my life.”

Discouraged after visiting farms in New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, the women approached real estate broker, banker, and auctioneer Ken Rogers of St. Johnsbury, who suggested they look at a piece of property in Barnet.

In early January 1970, Newman, Fran Lewis, and Leontov pulled into Barnet. Beneath dark trees, silhouetted against the sky, they checked out the snow-covered babbling brook, and the good bones of the sunny, cheerful Patneaude farmhouse. Lewis recalls her first impression of the land—“Amazing! I am a big walker … and I looked at the land and said, ‘Man, I bet this is going to be a place to take long walks’ … but, at that moment the snow was so deep.” With funds from the Newmans, the group purchased Patneaude’s 430 acres for about $54,000.

Four followers—Fran Lewis, Jo Ann Newman, Richard Arthure (Trungpa’s secretary), and Tania Leontov settled on the Patneaude land on March 16, 1970, establishing Tail of the Tiger (TOT), the first Kagyü Buddhist meditation center in the United States.
The name “Tail of the Tiger” was chosen using an I Ching hexagram which says “Treading upon the Tail of the Tiger. It does not bite the man. Success.”

As can be imagined, the arrival of these new landowners caught the attention of Barnet residents. Cathy Ryder Thomas, formerly of McIndoe Falls, recalls:

“We heard that the Patneaude Farm was sold to Buddhists. We didn’t know what to expect. I was a teenager waitressing at Phil’s Drive-In in McIndoe. Phil’s was a car-hop place with a sit-down option in colder weather. I recall serving a table full of Buddhist women all chatting, laughing, relaxed, eating ice cream. We expected them to be more godly, or hippies, or a cult, but turns out, they were completely normal.

“At the Congregational Church in McIndoe, the congregation was concerned about the influence Buddhists would have on the local people. Gradually, we found they were generous, had a tradition of helping people, and they turned out to be a positive addition.

“Buddhists bought gas, shopped locally, and ate at the restaurant. The Buddhists gave people here broader cultural exposure and brought out the best in us. So many Buddhist people moved into town to be at the center of things! We have a tradition in Vermont of not getting too judgmental or we balance our prejudices with empathy. The Buddhists fit right in.”

At TOT, preparations were underway for Trungpa’s arrival. Richard Arthure, Trungpa’s student since 1966 was better known by his Buddhist name, Kunga Dawa. As Trungpa’s secretary, Dawa was asked to give seminars in Burlington, Lyndonville, New York, and Boston introducing Trungpa to eager listeners.

Trungpa’s 1969 book Meditation in Action could be purchased at New York City’s Samuel Weiser Bookstore—America’s “premier establishment carrying all manner of books relating to alternative religions and the occult.” Readers enthralled by Meditation in Action returned to the bookstore asking, “Where is this man?” The answer—”In Barnet, Vermont.”

A Trungpa biographer wrote, “… Tail of the Tiger was a cross between a hippie community and a Buddhist monastery and practice center, even if, at the time, the first element was still dominant.”

Trungpa dressed in colorful, loud, western-style clothing. He might wear flannel shirts or cravats. He left his shirt unbuttoned at the top, defying Barnet’s image of a spiritual master. Wildly charismatic, clever, inspiring, and brilliant, Trungpa encouraged acolytes to question their thinking, challenge their opinions, and urged generosity, patience, dedication, unceasing effort, spontaneity, outrageousness, and compassion. In the farmhouse and poorly-heated Barnet Town Hall, people wrapped themselves in blankets and rugs and huddled amongst pillows to listen to Rinpoche.

Newman sold the Patneaude property to TOT in about 1974.

The Karmapa, head of the Karma Kagyü lineage, came to America that year. Hosted by Trungpa, he was so impressed by what he saw that he renamed TOT “Karmê Chöling,” which means “Dharma Place (“place of cosmic law and order”) of the Karma Kagyü.”

Trungpa predicted he would live only a dozen years beyond 1970. He planned the important details of his funeral years before his death.

In 1986, he moved the international headquarters of his organization from Boulder to Halifax, Nova Scotia. There he suffered cardiorespiratory arrest in September. On April 4, 1987, aged forty-seven, Trungpa died. No one doubted that his death was accelerated by his legendary drinking.

At his spacious home in a posh Halifax neighborhood, Buddhists came to mourn his passing. Trungpa’s body remained in a state of samadhi, without decay and with the area around the heart remaining warm, for as many as five days after death. On April 11, 1987, his corpse was transported to Barnet where he rested in the shrine room at Karmê Chöling.

The population of Barnet—1,300 at the time—swelled for Trungpa's May 26 cremation. Residents rented out rooms. The Barnet Congregational Church bagged 3,500 lunches for visitors. Three thousand students and 50 Tibetan monks attended the ceremony. Karmê Chöling installed an office trailer, a refrigeration truck, a medical facility, and an administration tent to handle mourners. Motels, hotels, campgrounds for 60 miles were sold out. Eight Vermont Transit buses ferried mourners to the site. Citizens sold parking spaces at Harvey’s Lake, Dunbar’s field, Wendell Goss’, and the Barnet athletic field.

The population of Barnet—1,300 at the time—swelled for the May 26th cremation—irreverently referred to as “The Barbecue” by locals. Residents rented out rooms. The Barnet Congregational Church bagged 3,500 lunches for visitors. Money collected went to the support of the U.S.-U.S.S.R. Bridges for Peace program. Three thousand students, fifty Tibetan monks, and Joe and Alice Patneaude attended the ceremony.

Karmê Chöling installed an office trailer, a refrigeration truck, a medical facility, and an administration tent to handle mourners. Motels, hotels, campgrounds for sixty miles around were sold out. Dyer’s Town Market, Barnet Village’s general store, did a landslide business, selling “lots of cigarettes and lottery tickets.” Eight Vermont Transit buses ferried mourners to the site. Citizens sold parking spaces at Harvey’s Lake, Dunbar’s field, Wendell Goss’, and the Barnet athletic field.

After four days of rain, the cremation day sky was heavily overcast, the treetops shrouded in fog. The procession began with a lone bagpiper playing “Farewell to Nova Scotia.” Fifty maroon-robed monks followed, playing six-foot-long ceremonial horns, conch shells, reed instruments, and drums.

Trungpa’s body, facing east in a sitting position, was put into a structure called a purkhang, twenty-five feet high, topped with a gold spire. The outline of his face, a crown atop his head, could be seen through an ornate window. A cannon fired, startling the crowd, followed by a series of Buddhist chants echoing against the foothills. Fog gave way to a blue sky. “Within an hour, clouds crept above the horizon—long streaks, cobbled textures, mares’ tails. Then we saw it: a bright, circular rainbow around the sun. Then we saw another: a long stairway rainbow, on the edge of a violet smear of mist. The crowd cheered.” Meteorologists explained that the crowd had been treated to a glorious solar halo swiftly accompanied by cloud iridescence.

Legends of Barnet, Vermont: History, Mystery, Curiosities, and Culture of a Small Vermont Town, offers an in-depth study of the contradictions in Trungpa’s life. ‘Legends’ dives deep into researched tales answering: What’s the story behind eleven-year-old Jacques Cousteau’s first dive ever—in Barnet’s Harvey Lake? What is the truth behind the claim that the Goodwillie House was an Underground Railroad hiding place? How did the actions of a Barnet physician result in a change in New Hampshire law? Have imported Scottish clocks been ticking for centuries? Hells Angels roared into bucolic Barnet seeking summer lodging. Paranormal activity? We have our share.

To order a copy of Legends: Contact author, Kathleen Monroe, or 802-633-3052.
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

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Part 2 of 2


Booz Allen Hamilton
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 10/30/20

Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corporation
Type: Public
Traded as: NYSE: BAH; Russell 1000 Component
Industry: Management consulting; Information technology consulting
Founded: 1914; 106 years ago
Founder: Edwin G. Booz; James L. Allen; Carl L. Hamilton
Headquarters: McLean, Virginia, U.S.[1]

Central Intelligence Agency
Federal government office in McLean, Virginia
Address: 1000 Colonial Farm Rd, McLean, VA 22101

Key people: Horacio D. Rozanski, (President & Chief Executive Officer)[1]; John Michael McConnell, (Vice Chairman)
Services: Management and Technology Consulting
Revenue: Increase US$6.7 billion (2019)[2]
Net income: Increase $419 million USD (FY 2019)[2]
Number of employees: 27,173[3] (2020)

Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corporation (informally Booz Allen)[4] is the parent of Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., an American management and information technology consulting firm,[5] headquartered in McLean, Virginia,[6] in Greater Washington, D.C., with 80 other offices around the globe. The company's stated core business is to provide consulting, analysis and engineering services to public and private sector organizations and nonprofits.[7][8]


Founding fathers from left to right: George Fry, Edwin Booz, Carl Hamilton, and James Allen


The company that was to become Booz Allen was founded in 1914, in Evanston, Illinois, when Northwestern University graduate Edwin G. Booz founded the Business Research Service. The service was based on Booz's theory that companies would be more successful if they could call on someone outside their own organizations for expert, impartial advice.[9] Booz's service attracted a number of clients, such as Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, Chicago's Union Stockyards and Transit Company, and the Canadian Pacific Railway.[10]

During the following three decades, the company went through a number of name changes and business models, eventually settling to Booz, Fry, Allen & Hamilton, named after their partnership in 1936. Before Fry's departure in 1942, the company's name was changed again to Booz Allen Hamilton.[citation needed]

Post-War era

In general, the post-war era saw a shift in the company's client pool, with many contracts coming from governmental institutions and different branches of the Armed Forces.[10]

Edwin G. Booz died in 1951. The company received its first international contract two years later, in 1953, to help reorganize land-ownership records for the newly established Philippines government.[11]

The partnership was dissolved in 1962 and the company was registered as a private corporation. In 1998, Booz Allen Hamilton developed a strategy for the IRS to reshuffle its 100,000 employees into units focused on particular taxpayer categories.[12]

21st century

Bloomberg named it "the world's most profitable spy organization".[13] According to an Information Week piece from 2002, Booz Allen had "more than one thousand former intelligence officers on its staff".[11] According to its own website, the company employs more than 10,000 personnel who have cleared TS/SCI background checks.[14]

In 2008, the commercial arm of Booz Allen split off to form Booz & Company. In 2013, Booz & Company was acquired by PwC and renamed Strategy&. Since then, Booz Allen has re-entered commercial markets. In 2010, Booz Allen went public with an initial public offering of 14,000,000 shares at $17 per share. [15][16] In 2012, Booz Allen purchased the Defense Systems Engineering & Support division of ARINC, adding approximately 1,000 new employees to its roster.[17] In 2014, Booz Allen acquired Epidemico.[7][18] In 2015, Booz Allen acquired the software development division of the Charleston, S.C. technology firm SPARC.[19][20] In 2017, Booz Allen acquired eGov Holdings.[21] In 2018, the SEC awarded both Booz Allen and Attain a $2.5 billion contract to modernize how the SEC purchases IT services.[22]

In February 2020, the company became the SEC's major provider of cybersecurity services by securing a 10-year contract worth $113 million.[23]

Research and publications

Booz Allen has been credited with developing several business concepts. In 1957, Sam Johnson, great grandson of the S.C. Johnson & Son founder, and Booz Allen's Conrad Jones published How to Organize for New Products[24] which discussed theories on product life-cycle management.[25][26] In 1958, Gordon Pehrson, deputy director of U.S. Navy Special Projects Office, and Bill Pocock of Booz Allen Hamilton developed the Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT).[27][28] In 1982, Booz Allen's Keith Oliver coined the term "supply chain management".[29] In 2013, Booz Allen's Mark Herman, Stephanie Rivera, Steven Mills, and Michael Kim published the Field Guide to Data Science.[30] A second edition was published in 2015.[31] In 2017, Booz Allen's Josh Sullivan and Angela Zutavern published The Mathematical Corporation.[32]

Controversies and leaks

Booz Allen office, Washington, D.C.


In 2006, at the request of the Article 29 Working Party (an advisory group to the European Commission), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Privacy International (PI) investigated the U.S. government's SWIFT surveillance program, and Booz Allen's role therein. The ACLU and PI filed a memo at the end of their investigation, which called into question the ethics and legality of a government contractor (in this case Booz Allen) acting as auditors of a government program, when that contractor is heavily involved with those same agencies on other contracts. The basic statement was that a conflict of interest may exist. Beyond that, the implication was also made that Booz Allen may be complicit in a program (electronic surveillance of SWIFT) that may be deemed illegal by the European Commission.[33][34]

Homeland Security

A June 28, 2007 article in The Washington Post related how a United States Department of Homeland Security contract with Booz Allen increased from $2 million to more than $70 million through two no-bid contracts, one occurring after the DHS's legal office had advised DHS not to continue the contract until after a review. A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the contract characterized it as not well-planned and lacking any measure for assuring valuable work to be completed.[35]

According to the article,

In a rush to meet congressional mandates to establish the information analysis and infrastructure protection offices, agency officials routinely waived rules designed to protect taxpayer money. As the project progressed, the department became so dependent on Booz Allen that it lost the flexibility for a time to seek out other contractors or hire federal employees who might do the job for less.[35]

Elaine C. Duke, the department's chief procurement officer, acknowledged the problems with the Booz Allen contract. But Duke said those matters have been resolved. She defended a decision to issue a second no-bid contract in 2005 as necessary to keep an essential intelligence operation running until a competition could be held.[35]

2011 Anonymous hack

On July 11, 2011[36][37] the group Anonymous, as part of its Operation AntiSec,[38] hacked into Booz Allen servers, extracting e-mails and non-salted passwords from the U.S. military. This information and a complete dump of the database were placed in a file shared on The Pirate Bay.[39] Despite Anonymous' claims that 90,000 emails were released, the Associated Press counted only 67,000 unique emails, of which only 53,000 were military addresses. The remainder of the addresses came from educational institutions and defense contractors.[40] Anonymous also said that it accessed four gigabytes of Booz Allen source code and deleted those four gigabytes. According to a statement by the group, "We infiltrated a server on their network that basically had no security measures in place."[41][42]

Anonymous accused Booz Allen of working with HBGary Federal by creating a project for the manipulation of social media. Anonymous also accused Booz Allen of participating in intelligence-gathering and surveillance programs of the U.S. federal government and, as stated by Kukil Bora of the International Business Times, "possible illegal activities".[38] Booz Allen confirmed the intrusion on 13 July, but contradicted Anonymous' claims in saying that the attack never got past their own systems, meaning that information from the military should be secure.[43] In August of that year, during a conference call with analysts, Ralph Shrader, the chairman and CEO, stated that "the cost of remediation and other activities directly associated with the attack" were not expected to have a "material effect on our financial results".[44]

PRISM media leak

Main articles: PRISM (surveillance program) and Edward Snowden

In June 2013, Edward Snowden—at the time a Booz Allen employee[45] contracted to projects of the National Security Agency (NSA)—publicly disclosed details of classified mass surveillance and data collection programs, including PRISM. The alleged leaks are said to rank among the most significant breaches in the history of the NSA[46] and led to considerable concern worldwide. Booz Allen condemned Snowden's leak of the existence of PRISM as "shocking" and "a grave violation of the code of conduct and core values of our firm".[47] The company fired Snowden in absentia shortly after and stated he had been an employee for less than three months at the time. Market analysts considered the incident "embarrassing" but unlikely to cause enduring commercial damage.[48] Booz Allen stated that it would work with authorities and clients to investigate the leak. Charles Riley of CNN/Money said that Booz Allen was "scrambling to distance itself from Snowden".[49]

According to Reuters, a source "with detailed knowledge on the matter" stated that Booz Allen's hiring screeners detected possible discrepancies in Snowden's résumé regarding his education, since some details "did not check out precisely", but decided to hire him anyway; Reuters stated that the element which triggered these concerns, or the manner in which Snowden satisfied the concerns, were not known.[50]

On Wednesday July 10, 2013, the United States Air Force stated that it cleared Booz Allen of wrongdoing regarding the Snowden case.[51]

Political contributions

In 2013 David Sirota of Salon said that Booz Allen and parent company The Carlyle Group make significant political contributions to the Democratic Party and the Republican Party as well as individual politicians, including Barack Obama and John McCain.[52] Sirota concluded that "many of the politicians now publicly defending the surveillance state and slamming whistleblowers like Snowden have taken huge sums of money from these two firms", referring to Booz Allen and Carlyle, and that the political parties are "bankrolled by these firms".[52] According to Maplight, a company that tracked campaign donations, Booz Allen gave a total of just over $87,000 to U.S. lawmakers from 2007 to June 2013.[53]

According to CNBC, these contributions resulted in a steady stream of government contracts, which puts Booz Allen in privileged position. Due to the company's important government services, “the government is unlikely to let the company go out of business. It's too connected to fail”.[54] Furthermore, the influence Booz Allen carries in Washington isn't restricted to donations, but to a large network of lobbyists and political insiders. According to government watchdog OpenSecrets, “4 out of 6 Booz Allen Hamilton lobbyists in 2015-2016 have previously held government jobs”.

Activities in foreign countries

In June 2012 Booz Allen expanded its operations in North Africa and the Middle East, with initial plans to add operations in Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates. It planned to later add operations to Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, during a time when those countries, as stated by Jill R. Aitoro of the Washington Business Journal, were "recover[ing] from the turmoil associated with the Arab Spring".[55] The Booz Allen employee base, when it was a part of Booz & Company, had long-term relationships with many North African and Middle Eastern countries; Booz Allen had split from Booz & Company[55] David Sirota of Salon said that politicians in the United States who received financing from Booz Allen and "other firms with a similar multinational business model" have vested interests in "denigrating the democratic protest movements that challenge Mideast surveillance states that make those donors big money, too."[52]

Booz Allen helped the Government of the United Arab Emirates create an equivalent of the National Security Agency for that country. According to David E. Sanger and Nicole Perlroth of The New York Times, "one Arab official familiar with the effort" said that "They are teaching everything. Data mining, Web surveillance, all sorts of digital intelligence collection."[56] In 2013 Sanger and Perlroth said that the company "profits handsomely from its worldwide expansion".[56]

Booz Allen has particularly come under scrutiny for its ties to the government of Saudi Arabia and the support it provides to the Saudi armed forces. Alongside competitors McKinsey & Company and Boston Consulting Group, Booz Allen are seen as important factors in Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s drive to consolidate power in the Kingdom.[57] On the military side, Booz Allen is employing dozens of retired American military personnel to train and advise the Royal Saudi Navy and provide logistics for the Saudi Army, but denies its expertise is used by Saudi Arabia in its war against Yemen. Additionally, it also entered an agreement with the Saudi government that involves the protection and cyber-security of government ministries,[58] with experts arguing that these defensive maneuvers could easily be used to target dissidents.

Notable personnel and associates (past and present)


• Robert Bakish: President and CEO of Viacom
• Sir (Francis) Christopher Buchan Bland: Chairman of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and former chairman of British Telecommunications PLC[59][60][61]
• Art Collins: Chairman and CEO, Medtronic, Inc.[62]
• Edward C. Davies (Ted): Managing partner, Unisys Federal Systems[63][64]
• Karen Fawcett: Director, Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia[65]
• Rhonda Germany: Vice President of Strategy and Business Development, Honeywell[66][67]
• Gerry Horkan: Vice president of corporate strategy, Yahoo! Inc.[68]
• Paul Idzik: Executive vice president and chief operating officer, Barclays PLC[69]
• Abigail Johnson: President of Fidelity Investments
• Joel Kurtzman: Founding editor, Korn Ferry's Briefings on Talent & Leadership, Senior Fellow, Wharton School, Senior Fellow, Milken Institute.
• Raymond J. Lane: General partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers; chairman of the board of trustees at Carnegie Mellon University, former president and chief operating officer of Oracle Corporation[70][71][72][73] and chairman of Hewlett-Packard[74][75]
• Matthew Le Merle - Investor, board director and leading authority on innovation
• Gretchen W. McClain - President and CEO of Xylem Inc., former NASA Deputy Associate Administrator for Space Development
• Christopher North, CEO of Shutterfly[76]
• Edward J. O'Hare: Chief Information Officer for the U.S. General Services Administration's's Federal Acquisition Service; former Assistant Commissioner, General Services Administration, and former VP at Dynanet[77][78]
• Torsten Oltmanns: currently Global Marketing Director at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants and Assistant Prof. at University of Innsbruck[79][80]
• Todd Y. Park: Co-founder and chief development officer of Athena Health and second Chief Technology Officer of the United States[81][82]
• Mark DeSantis: Chief executive officer of ANGLE Technology Consulting and Management and former CEO and president of Formation3 LLC[83][84]
• Stan Scoggins: Vice president of worldwide digital assets, Universal Studios[85][86]
• Deven Sharma: President, Standard & Poor's and VP for global strategy at McGraw-Hill[87][88]
• Michael Wolf: Former president and chief operating officer of MTV Networks[89][90]


• Wendy Alexander: Labour Party Leader and Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP).[91][92]
• Thad Allen: former Coast Guard Admiral Commandant of the United States Coast Guard
Miles Axe Copeland, Jr.: a prominent U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operative who was one of the founding members of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) under William Donovan.
• Karol J. Bobko: Retired United States Air Force officer and a former USAF and NASA astronaut.[93]
• Ian Brzezinski: Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Europe and NATO Policy from 2001 to 2005
• Alexander Lewis: Chief Explosive Consultant to Special Activities Center, former United States Navy SWCC, awarded the bronze star with valor for efforts while serving in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan[94]
• James R. Clapper: Director of National Intelligence, formally Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and lieutenant general in the US Air Force[94]
• Keith R. Hall: Director, National Reconnaissance Office (1997–2001); formerly Executive Director for Intelligence Community Affairs[94]
• Steve Isakowitz: Department of Energy Chief Financial Officer. Former Deputy Associate Administrator, NASA, 2002–2005[95][96][97][98]
• William B. Lenoir: Former NASA astronaut.
• John M. McConnell: Director of National Intelligence (2007–2009); formerly director of the National Security Agency (1992–96); retired in 1996 as vice admiral, United States Navy[99]
• Todd Park, former Chief Technology Officer of the United States (2012-2014) and former CTO of the Department of Health and Human Services
• Zoran Jolevski: Minister of Defense of North Macedonia.
• Thomas S. Moorman Jr.: Commander, Air Force Space Command (1990–92); Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force (1994–1997)
• Patrick Gorman: Chief Information Officer (CIO), and Assistant Deputy Director National Intelligence (ADDNI), Strategy, Plans, and Policy, ODNI[100]
• Andrew Turnbull: Member, House of Lords (upper Parliament), United Kingdom (2005–); Head of British Civil Service (2002–2005)
• Melissa Hathaway: Director, National Cyber Security Initiative
• General Frederick Frank Woerner, Jr.: Retired United States Army general and former commander of United States Southern Command.
• R. James Woolsey, Jr.: Director of Central Intelligence (1993–95)
• Caryn Wagner: former Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Intelligence and Analysis
• Dov Zakheim: Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) (2001–04)
• Edward Snowden: Employee and American whistleblower who copied and leaked highly classified information from the National Security Agency (NSA) in 2013.

Other Fields

• Joseph Garber: Author
• Olivia Goldsmith: Author of The First Wives Club[101]
• Martin Kihn: author, whose book was the basis of the Showtime show House of Lies, based on his life while at Booz Allen Hamilton
• Harold T. Martin III: accused of stealing data from the NSA while working for Booz Allen Hamilton.[102]
• Graeme Maxton: Secretary General, The Club of Rome
• Daniel O'Keeffe: Guamanian swimmer in the 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens Summer Olympics.
• Bruce Pasternack: former president and CEO of Special Olympics International, former director of Energy Policy for the Federal Energy Administration, former board member BEA Systems, on the board of trustees of Cooper Union and also a former board member for Codexis, Quantum Corporation and Symyx Technologies. Author of books on strategy and business.
• Michael D. Smith: professor of information technology and marketing at Carnegie Mellon University
• Edward Snowden: NSA whistleblower[103]

See also

• Virginia portal
• Companies portal
• Booz & Company § History (spin-off of Booz & Company in 2008)
• Booz Allen Classic
• List of United States defense contractors
• Top 100 US Federal Contractors


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Further reading

• Bennett, Drake; Riley, Michael (June 20, 2013). "Booz Allen, the World's Most Profitable Spy Organization". Bloomberg Businessweek.
• Bennett, Drake; Savello, Caroline; Levinson, Robert (June 13, 2013). "Chart: How Booz Allen Hamilton Swallowed Washington". Bloomberg Businessweek.
• Roumeliotis, Greg; Kim, Soyoung (June 28, 2013). "DEALTALK-Snowden fallout comes at bad time for private equity". Associated Press & Reuters.
• Vardi, Nathan (June 10, 2013). "The Carlyle Group Has Made $2 Billion Off Of Booz Allen". Forbes. Retrieved July 2, 2013.

External links

• Official website
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