Buddhist Project Sunshine Phase 3 Final Report: The nail: Br

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: Buddhist Project Sunshine Phase 3 Final Report: The nail

Postby admin » Thu Feb 07, 2019 1:38 am

The leader who allegedly raped Keith

John Weber is the leader who allegedly raped Keith. If there are other men or women who experienced unwanted sex with Mr. Weber, Buddhist Project Sunshine invites you get in touch with us at buddhistprojectsunshine@gmail.com.
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Re: Buddhist Project Sunshine Phase 3 Final Report: The nail

Postby admin » Thu Feb 07, 2019 1:38 am

Other leaders

The following people were allegedly present or attendants to Mr. Mukpo during the alleged sexual assault by Mr. Mukpo of one of his female students in 2011: Greg Wolk (Shambhala employee, Continuity Kusung), Jeff Rosen (Patron and current member of the Sakyong Potrang Canada), and Alan Goldstein (brother-in-law to the Sakyong Wangmo). Leaders who were allegedly part of the “damage control” and “placation” of the alleged assault survivor’s reaction to harm include Wendy Friedman (Sangyum and outgoing Kalapa Council member), Joshua Silberstein (former Chief of Staff and outgoing Kalapa Council member), and Mr. Mukpo (the Sakyong) himself.

Other leaders who allegedly procured women for Mr. Mukpo's sex include Michael Fraund and Adam Lobel.
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Re: Buddhist Project Sunshine Phase 3 Final Report: The nail

Postby admin » Thu Feb 07, 2019 1:39 am

More women's stories of Ösel Rangdröl Mukpo, aka Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche

Statement on Complicity


This is a statement prepared by one of the women who came forward after the last report.

After reading the painful and long-overdue reports of systemic abuse within Shambhala International, and particularly those reports concerning Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, I have chosen to come forward and share my own story, which has haunted me for many years and because of which I eventually left the sangha.

I have chosen to come forward, albeit anonymously, because I believe it is important for the Shambhala community to know exactly what has been happening within the Court in this regard, as it reveals a long lineage of sexual misconduct, from VCTR to the Vajra Regent to SMR.

From 2003–2005, I had a consensual, non-monogamous sexual relationship with Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. Since the “relationship”, for lack of a better term, was carried on publicly and was well-known then to many sangha members worldwide, any privacy which I might have wished for then and now has long since been yielded.

I would like to assert that during our relationship, I was never coerced into any sexual acts, nor was I physically or verbally assaulted by SMR. I would also like to assert that I stand behind those women who allege sexual assault and extreme misconduct on behalf of SMR and the Court, and I believe them. The stories of assault are nothing short of horrifying. Absolutely, utterly and completely horrifying. My heart breaks for these women.

I first met SMR when I was 23 years old, during my Vajrayana Seminary. I was a deeply devoted student, living in a practice center. I had a degree in Buddhist Studies and I had been training as a Tibetan language interpreter for several years. I had a great desire, like so many others, to make a profound and lasting spiritual connection with my teacher, and I was greatly honored when, during a private interview, SMR began speaking to me in Tibetan and inquiring about my studies. I felt a personal connection had been established, for which I had longed so fervently, regardless of the stories I had heard of his experience with other women in the sangha.

Shortly after this interview, I was approached by a Kusung, who told me that SMR would like to invite me to a group dinner that night at the Court, which I gladly accepted. That evening, after SMR had excused himself from the table, I was approached by the continuity Kusung, who subtly tapped me on my elbow and whispered in my ear that SMR would like to see me upstairs. I had heard enough of the sexual exploits of SMR that I knew what this invitation meant. But still, I felt very special that SMR wanted to spend time with me.

In the Tibetan tradition, one learns to choose one’s guru carefully, and once Samaya is made, to nurture and cherish that spiritual connection. Despite the fact that I was in a long-term relationship with the Rusung of my practice center, I felt that it was an honor and a pleasure to have a personal connection with and offer myself to the guru—whatever that meant. So I went upstairs, and we had small talk for a few minutes. Then SMR said to me, “well, I feel like we know each other well enough. Would you like to join me in bed?” And, although it was certainly an unusual situation, into bed I climbed. Naively, but willingly.

I want to be clear that this was not a desperate act for attention, or a childish whim, or a misguided hope that I might receive some secret teachings. I entered his bed as a woman and a scholar and a practitioner with devotion in my heart. I enjoy interpersonal and physical intimacy, and I was devoted to my guru. It seemed an obvious enough equation.

My presence was regularly requested throughout Seminary, the invitations always facilitated through Kusung or members of the Court. I remember these invitations with great embarrassment and distaste, as these men (almost always men—although I know firsthand that some women of the Court and many of the female Kusung also protected and slept with SMR) really functioned as vajra pimps, fetching the ladies for their teacher. I found out later that a dear friend from the practice center, who had had multiple sexual encounters with SMR, had attended a dinner the night before I was first invited—she had also been summoned upstairs, but turned down the invitation. Another woman was also requested later during seminary as well, but also chose not to spend the night with SMR.

There were many dinners and late nights throughout that Seminary, which turned into late mornings sleeping in at the Court. So many that my MI asked if it was possible for me to attend more morning sitting sessions. I felt very conflicted, because I was missing those sessions to have breakfast in bed with our teacher. She knew that. Everyone, it seemed, knew that.

It was a strange thing, sleeping with the guru while also still in a relationship with my then-partner, with both of them completely aware of the other.
Looking back on it, it seems that this open secret was acceptable within the community only because this was a pattern that had been happening for so long, since the time of the Vidyadhara. But that doesn’t make it less weird or ridiculous. Looking back on it now, it is completely fucked up.

I was then invited to spend a few weeks in Scotland with SMR after Seminary, while he was working on his latest book. This invitation I turned down, because I felt that the relationship with my partner would not withstand this separation. Within a few months, that relationship ended, and I then began spending time here and there with SMR—at Karme Choling, in New York, in Boulder. I also flew to Halifax several times at SMR’s invitation. He would split the cost of the plane fare with me. During these visits we would socialize with other sangha members—nothing was carried on in secret, nor was there ever any privacy. Kusung were always around, always in and out of the bedroom, while I lay there under the covers.

This went on through 2005. SMR invited me up to Boston to watch him run the marathon, and for an afterparty that evening. Although we didn’t spend the night together then, he told me he was about to leave for India for a few weeks, and that he wanted to see me in Rhode Island when he returned.


In 2005, when the Sakyong came to Boston to run the Boston Marathon, Ann was invited to come as well. A day or two before the marathon she was brought by a kusung into the bedroom where the Sakyong was staying in a private home.

He was lying on the bed in his underwear and 4-5 men from his “inner circle” (i.e. Kalapa Council members, leaders, kusung) were present. [2] The Sakyong called Ann over and motioned for her to sit down on the edge of the bed. She became nervous. As a child prostitute she had been subjected to horrible situations, including gang rape. This looked the same.

The Sakyong began to initiate sex with her. He took her hand in his hand and began stroking his penis with it while the men looked on from the other side of the bed. He said, “Can you take care of me?” and then he said to her, “What can you do for them?” [3]

Ann began to panic and told him repeatedly, “No, I am not comfortable doing this.” She remembers that one of the men then moved to stand in front of the door and another took off his jacket. She began to shake with fear and to dissociate from her body. The Sakyong then sexually assaulted her, putting his hand on the back of her neck and trying to force her mouth down on his penis. Finally, Ann twisted away, stood up and fled the room. She left the house and stayed elsewhere. [4]

-- Buddhist Project Sunshine Phase 3 Final Report, by Andrea M. Winn, MEd, MCS. Appendix 2: Memo of New Findings of Buddhist Project Sunshine's Preliminary Investigation Into the Clergy Sexual Misconduct of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche - Carol Merchasin, J.D


When I knew he had returned, I received a phone call from Josh Silberstein. I assumed he was calling to plan my visit, but instead he told me that SMR got engaged while in India, and that a community-wide announcement was going out shortly. He also said SMR wanted to talk to me, and would give me a call shortly.

The email announcement of the engagement went out within five minutes. It took six months for SMR to call me. When he did call, he didn’t address the engagement or ask me how I was doing. He was mostly silent, and I was so embarrassed by this silence that all I could do was ask for advice on my upcoming month-long retreat.

More than a year passed before I was granted an interview with him, by the same Kusung that used to arrange my plane tickets and bring me breakfast and who now wanted to know “what I wanted to discuss with SMR” before fitting me into his busy schedule. SMR was cold and remote when we met, and barely looked me in the eye.

Now, I had been under no such illusion that I was SMR’s girlfriend, or that our relationship would ever be more than a series of weekends together here and there. I knew that he was sleeping with other women concurrently. I had other partners as well. I also knew that he had ghosted other “girlfriends”. But I was under the illusion that we had a friendship, and that he had even a modicum of personal interest in me as his student and friend and former lover. We had spent a lot of time together, we had great fun, we were very affectionate, we enjoyed each other’s company. What hurt me the most in the end was to be dropped and ghosted the way I was, without any thought to maintain even a hint of kindness.


Beyond this, because our “relationship” had been so public, sangha members around the world felt comfortable sharing their opinions with me about SMR’s engagement and bride-to-be. Once the announcement went out, I was absolutely inundated with calls and emails from sangha members who felt that I was “the slighted girlfriend” and wanted to talk. It was all terribly embarrassing, and I had no idea how to respond.

My connection to the sangha, which had been my entire world, began to crumble. I felt that I couldn’t talk to anyone about my experience, because I felt that sharing my intimate experience with others might pollute their relationship with their teacher, or sow discord in general. So I remained silent, and felt great shame in my inability to practice, in my anger at my teacher, for breaking my samaya. I was completing a Master’s degree at Naropa by then, and I felt so incredibly isolated in my shame and heartbreak and complete inability to practice. Shambhala was all around me, and yet I wasn’t a part of it.

During this time, I was a ngondro practitioner doing guru yoga practice. I found it more and more confusing during guru yoga to identify with and visualize SMR. Were all acts by the guru considered to be pure? What was I to make of our relationship? Of the way I was sent for around the world, and then casually dismissed and ignored, like a prostitute? I tortured myself, wondering if the confusion and pain I felt was self-induced, was a result of my own impure thinking, wondering how I could venerate someone that had hurt me so profoundly. And it lead me to wonder: what was the point of our sexual relationship, if it wasn’t for heartfelt companionship or out of genuine affection? Was it just for sex only?

I realized that yes, yes, it was just for sex only.

And this realization, that I had been used for sex, and discarded when no longer useful, was terribly painful. I was unable to continue with guru yoga, it was too painful to see his face in my mind’s eye, again and again, seated on a lotus throne. I blamed myself, I was disgusted with myself.

I began to withdraw from the sangha, slowly at first, and then completely.
It has been many years since I last visited my local practice center. I was only alerted to Buddhist Project Sunshine through an old friend and an article in the New York Times. I had just given birth to my daughter, my first child, and my heart was so tender and open and vulnerable. It still is. Reading the stories put forward by such brave women broke my heart all over again, to see myself as part of a greater cycle of utter weirdness, of sexual coldness and spiritual cruelty.

What surprised me was how few women have come forward, especially since I know that many of their experiences were as weird as my own. I know firsthand of at least seven other women who have slept with SMR, all friends of mine from long ago—and none of these women have yet come forward. (Women, where are you?)

Of course I knew, and had always known, much of what had been going on with SMR—his womanizing, his sloppy handling of “relationships”, the string of hurt women in his wake, conveniently labeled after the fact as bitter or difficult.

We all knew. Jesus Christ, WE ALL DID. I am astonished by the quotes given by senior teachers and practitioners who claim that they had no idea what SMR was up to behind closed doors. Are you kidding?

WE ALL KNEW.

WE ALL KNEW.

WE ALL KNEW
.

We were all complicit. Myself included.
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Re: Buddhist Project Sunshine Phase 3 Final Report: The nail

Postby admin » Thu Feb 07, 2019 1:39 am

Statement on early poor behavior of the Sakyong

This is the statement from another woman who came forward after the last report.

Until now, I have disclosed to only a few close friends the reason why I left the Shambhala community in the mid-1990s. I am speaking up now in response to Sakyong's July 10 letter in which he states that his troubles began in 1995 with his enthronement that subsequently led to his heavy drinking. However, I experienced similar behaviors of his that have been reported in Buddhist Project Sunshine much earlier than that. My first encounter was in the Fall of 1987 in Kathmandu, where several sangha members had gone to study after the Vidyadhara’s passing.

At that time, the Sakyong was known as Sawang; therefore, I will refer to him as such in this statement. During our stay in Kathmandu, a close friend (a second-generation sangha woman) confided to me that she had spent an evening with Sawang rejecting his sexual advances. She said that Sawang hadn’t seemed to care, but that he was much less friendly with her after that. She had hoped they could still be friends and there would be a way she could fit into the community, but it soon became clear to her there wasn’t. This young woman eventually ended up leaving the community to study with another teacher.

In early 1988 I was invited to Rumtek, the seat of the Kagyu lineage, in Sikkim, India to celebrate Losar, the Tibetan New Year. A few days before leaving, I mentioned to Sawang that I was worried about traveling there alone—it was a two-day journey that involved plane changes, numerous taxis and rickshaw rides and a final descent into Sikkim via helicopter. To my great relief, Sawang was also going and invited me to travel with his entourage that included two attendants who I didn’t know. I was very happy for the invitation and felt I’d be safe with them during the journey.

However, things became unpleasant for me right from the start of the trip. At the Kathmandu airport, Sawang told me to carry his bags and continued to do so at each point of travel. In addition to managing my own bags, I had to carry his bags too—no easy task in the days before wheeled-luggage, while he walked hands-free and his two male attendants only carried their own bags. It felt demeaning, but I wasn’t sure how to say “no” to the new head of the Shambhala lineage. To make matters worse, after restaurant meals along the way, his attendants would hand me the bill for the entire table without offering any contribution. I began to feel resentful and exploited, but again didn’t know how to refuse. Finally, after paying for our third meal, I found my voice and told the three of them I couldn’t afford to pay their way—that from then on, I would be paying only for myself. I also made sure each time we went in/out airports or took taxis and rickshaws, that I stood as far away from Sawang’s luggage as I could get—I was determined to not carry his bags again.

The journey from Kathmandu to Rumtek required an overnight stay in Calcutta and a connecting flight the next day. Upon arrival, we discovered the main hotels were completely booked except for one hotel that had two rooms available. We decided to share the two rooms—Sawang assigned me to stay with one of his attendants and he roomed with the other. After settling in for the night, my roommate pulled out a syringe and injected himself with a drug. I had never seen anyone shoot up and was really disturbed by it. I had no idea what kind of behavior might follow and was concerned for my safety. Fortunately, he quickly passed out and stayed that way until morning.

At breakfast the next morning, I told Sawang and his other attendant about the drug use, but they just shrugged their shoulders.
I was troubled that this behavior didn’t alarm them too, especially on a trip to visit the spiritual head of our lineage. Later I learned it was well-known the man had a serious drug problem. Years later a sangha friend pointed out the real danger to me would have been if he had over-dosed—I could have ended up in a Calcutta jail. Reflecting back, I feel Sawang had callously put me at risk.

Once we reached Rumtek, Sawang and his attendants were given rooms in the monastery and I was housed with a Tibetan family that lived just outside the gates. Each day the four of us participated in monastery events and outings nearby. On several occasions the beautiful young daughter of the family I was staying with joined us. A light flirtation developed between Sawang and this young woman. At the time, it seemed rather sweet to me.

Towards the end of our week-long visit, Sawang instructed me to arrange for the daughter to come to Kathmandu so they could get to know each other better. He told me to tell her father that she would be my guest, that she would stay at my apartment and that I would chaperone her. I felt a bit uneasy about it, but also felt honored to be included in the “inner circle” by helping Sawang. With my assurances, the father agreed to let his daughter come to Kathmandu as my guest.

A few days after we got back to Kathmandu, Sawang informed me that the visit had to be canceled right away. One of his advisors had told him that he couldn’t marry a Tibetan woman—he had to marry an American woman who would be accepted by the community.
I was surprised that marriage was being discussed—I thought they just wanted to get to know each other better. I had to make up an excuse to cancel the visit and felt bad telling the father that his daughter’s trip had to be postponed due to a timing conflict.

Not long after canceling the visit, I bumped into another of Sawang’s attendants in downtown Kathmandu. He berated me in public right there on the street, firing questions at me such as: “Who do you think you are playing cupid for Sawang? How dare you get him in such a comprising position? Do you realize all the trouble you’ve caused him?” and so on. I tried to tell him that the visit wasn’t my idea, but I could hardly get a word in edgewise. I was shaken to the core from the verbal assault and the realization that Sawang had blamed me for a situation of his own making that he had to extricate himself from.

A few hours later I told a sangha friend about the terrible encounter with Sawang’s attendant. He was very disturbed and immediately took me to Sawang’s house where trembling and struggling to hold back my tears, I asked him to acknowledge in front of his attendants that he alone was responsible for the situation with the woman. Sawang asked everyone to leave the room so that he could speak to me privately. I thought it odd he wasn't willing to set the record straight in front of everyone, but a private apology would have been OK too. After everyone left, Sawang laughed and said, "This is really no big deal—just let it go." I was very hurt that he couldn't apologize to me even in private and that he had no empathy for the pain I was in. I lost respect for Sawang at that moment and walked out of his house.

Now, after reading recent statements from women who accuse Sawang of a pattern of procurement of women, I realize that even back then he had involved me in procuring a woman for himself, then blamed me when it became awkward for him.

A year or so later Sawang invited me to attend Kalapa Assembly, but I knew I couldn't give my allegiance to someone of his character. Later, I did receive an empowerment from him, but as a proxy for the Vidyadhara so that I could practice with the community. But, with time, it became clear to me that my presence at Shambhala programs was not fair to those who revered him when I felt just the opposite; therefore, I chose to leave the sangha which was then under his leadership.

It has been truly disheartening to me over the years to not be able to practice with the Vidyadhara’s sangha, but I never left him as my teacher. The Vidyadhara is always in my mind and heart and I still practice his teachings faithfully.
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Re: Buddhist Project Sunshine Phase 3 Final Report: The nail

Postby admin » Thu Feb 07, 2019 1:40 am

What can Shambhala communities do for survivors?

From what I understand, communities with mass sexual harm first go through a period of "calling it out" and bringing the harm to light. Then the community needs to begin to look at "harm loss" and how to repair what has been lost through the harms.

Someone came to me and said that she sees Shambhala centers having big debates about whether to have shrine pictures up or down. Clearly that is an important conversation to have. This woman said, however, what about what the centers are doing for the survivors of Shamabhala harm? Why isn't that part of the dialog?

I think she is right
, and I'm dedicating a section of this report to share what this woman had to say. She suggested centers do something symbolic for the survivors at their center. For instance, put a nice flower arrangement in the lobby or on your shrine, with a card to the survivors in your community. Another idea she had was to put a post up on a wall at your center saying, "We know survivors are among us, we stand in solidarity with you."

This thoughtful woman said that we have no place for a memorial, a place to lay flowers at the scene of a crime –- like in other situations in the world. I encourage all of us to dig deep with creativity and compassion and find ways of starting to encircle our arms around those who have been harmed by sexual violence in our community. I truly thank this woman for coming forward.
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Re: Buddhist Project Sunshine Phase 3 Final Report: The nail

Postby admin » Thu Feb 07, 2019 1:40 am

A lama's advice for dealing with images and visualizing your guru when your guru has allegedly committed crimes

Trungpa Rinpoche is my guru. When I first learned last December of his cocaine addiction and his abuse of women and animals, my world was rocked!

“It was summer of 1985. I "married" Rinpoche on June 12th of that year. I met him around May 31st at a wedding of Jackie Rushforth and Bakes Mitchell in the back yard of Marlow and Michael Root's home. That year, we had our wedding at RMDC a few days before Assembly, then we had Seminary and Encampment happened during Seminary.

That was the year he spoke of limited bloodshed and taking over the city of Halifax and the Provence of Nova Scotia. We were in the middle of the Mahayana portion of seminary teachings. For weeks, CTR (Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche) had been asking everyone he saw if they had seen a cat. He asked the head cook, the shrine master, and all of his servants if they'd seen one. We returned to our cabin late one night after a talk and there was this beautiful tabby cat sitting on the porch. I said, "Here kitty, kitty" and it came right over to me, purring and rubbing against my legs. I picked it up and said: "Here, Sweetie. Here's the cat you've been wanting."

I can't remember exactly which guard was on duty, but I think it was Jim Gimian, and of course Mitchell Levy. Someone took the cat from me and Rinpoche ordered them to tie him to the table on the porch. He instructed them to make a tight noose out of a rope so the cat didn't get away. He stood over his guards to examine the knots and make sure they were secure. I was curious at this point, wondering what this enlightened master had in mind for the cat. I knew there were serious rodent problems on the land and I assumed he wanted to use the cat for this problem.

Then, he instructed the guard to bring him some logs from the fire pit that was in front of the porch, down a slight slope. We took our seats. Rinpoche was seated to my right and there was a table between us for his drinks. He ordered a sake. The logs were on his right side, so he could use his good arm. (His left side was paralyzed due to a car accident that happened in his late twenties.)

The cat was still tied by a noose to the table. Rinpoche picked up a log and hurled it at the cat, which jumped off the table and hung from the noose. It was making a terrible gurgling sound. He finally got some footing on the edge of the deck and made it back onto the porch. Rinpoche hurled another log, making contact and the cat let out a horrible scream as the air was knocked out of him.

I said: "Sweetie, stop! What are you doing? Why are you doing this?" He said something about hating cats because they played with their food and didn't cry at the Buddha’s funeral. He continued to torture the poor animal. I was crying and begging him to stop.

I said, "I gave you the cat. Please stop it!" I'll never forget his response. He looked at me and said: "You are responsible for this karma" and he giggled. I got up to try and stop him and he firmly told me to sit down. One of the guards stepped closer to me and stood in a threatening manner to keep me in my place.

The torture went on for what seemed like hours, until finally the poor cat made a run for his life with the patio table bouncing after him. It was clear he had a broken back leg. I'm sure that cat died. I looked for him or the table for the rest of Seminary and never found either. I imagined him fleeing up the mountain and the table catching on something and strangling him.

I was completely traumatized by the event, but it was never spoken of again. Rinpoche told me the "karma" from this event was good. I was dumbfounded. A common feeling I had when around Rinpoche was that there were things going on that I simply could not understand. It seemed like other people, with a knowing nod of their heads, understood things on a deeper level than I. I was in fear of exposing my ignorance, so i learned not to question and to go with the crowd around him. They didn't appear to have any problems with what he did. Such was the depth of their devotion. I just needed to generate more devotion to Rinpoche and one day I might understand.”

-- by Leslie Hays


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]


For decades I have placed my heart with complete faith into his hands through decades of formal Buddhist visualization practices and my post-meditation life. Learning of his abuses, I went into an emotional and spiritual crisis.

I asked to speak with a Tibetan Lama who I have been studying with to ask his advice. He recommended that for the time being I could just visualize Padmasambhava,
the founder of Tibetan Buddhism and also the source of the Shambhala teachings, in place of Trungpa Rinpoche. This lama's advice has proven very helpful. I think I always had some ambivalence in the background of my mind about Trungpa Rinpoche, because I knew he contributed to creating an environment that had led to my own sexual abuse within the community. The lama's advice helped me ease out of a place of crisis, and in fact my practice feels much stronger visualizing Padmasambhava.

The lama also said it was fine to put away photographs of Trungpa Rinpoche while I worked through the issues coming up. For me the key has been holding space for my love, admiration and gratitude for Trungpa Rinpoche while deeply holding space for taking in the atrocities and betrayal. I say "deeply holding space" because trauma is a deep experience, and a special quality of holding needs to happen for the traumatized parts of ourselves to heal with integrity. We need to find ways to slow things down, and attend with more care as we disentangle the helpful from the harmful in such an emotionally deep connection as the guru-disciple relationship.

The avoidance risk. Some people use mindfulness strategies to avoid critical thinking tasks. I’ve worked with clients who, instead of rationally thinking through a career challenge or ethical dilemma, prefer to disconnect from their challenges and retreat into a meditative mindset. The issue here is that some problems require more thinking, not less. Sometimes stress is a signal that we need to consider our circumstances through greater self-reflective thought, not a “mindful” retreat to focused breathing or other immediate sensory experiences....

Mindfulness practices should be used to enhance our rational and ethical thinking processes, not limit or displace them.

-- There Are Risks to Mindfulness at Work, by David Brendel
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Re: Buddhist Project Sunshine Phase 3 Final Report: The nail

Postby admin » Thu Feb 07, 2019 1:40 am

The Shambhala community must take responsibility for the future of the community

I believe we must look at the reality of the picture painted from the allegations in Carol Merchasin’s most recent report. We must look at the nature of the alleged crimes and measure this information against the mentality of a sexual predator. We must look carefully at the psychological and emotional challenges that Ösel Rangdröl Mukpo, as a man, is facing. We must look at any signs of his willingness to take responsibility for the harms he has caused, both to the women survivors and to Shambhala students in general. We must look at what would need to happen to repair such alleged criminal actions for trust in the integrity of his leadership to ever be established. After looking carefully, the people must assess the capacity of Ösel Rangdröl Mukpo to ever lead this community again.

If the people find him unable to continue as leader, this then frees the community to envision a new form of governance that will ensure the care and vitality of the Shambhala teachings for generations to come.
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Re: Buddhist Project Sunshine Phase 3 Final Report: The nail

Postby admin » Thu Feb 07, 2019 1:40 am

The Buddhist Project Sunshine discussion group

I have felt an imperative to support the community digesting the disturbing truths that are being brought to light. What I have seen is the community needs a safe zone. So I have drawn a circle and created an island where people know they will be treated with kindness and that no one will run rampant trampling people with their rage. The name of this island is the Buddhist Project Sunshine Discussion Group.

This online social media discussion group has been running since the beginning of June, and here is what some of the members said they have most enjoyed:

"I was glad to see people working determined but gingerly through this difficult circumstance. Determined to do it; careful with each other."

"It felt like a huge relief to be able to connect with people who were having similar feelings and experiences."

"Being able to share my story as a survivor of abuse of power with others who get it. Having the opportunity to read and respond to others' stories. I appreciated the kind responses the facilitators gave to all participants (and the gentle and firm suggestions the facilitators sometimes gave). I also appreciated the quotes and inspirational readings that Kelly shared. I plan to listen to the Feeding the Demons audio when I have the chance. (I was preparing to travel when the session ran live.)"

"Interacting with others struggling with the same issues around the Shambhala leadership and community. Supporting survivors and others impacted by sexualized violence within Shambhala. Loving and compassionate online community of people who care."

"Kindness, healing resources and a fearlessness community"

"The warmth and gentleness...and validation ...validation helps me feel clearer and saner and I feel more clarity on what I need and what I understand. It has helped me to shed a lot of BS related to shambhala and retain the genuine human wisdom and practices that belong to all of us."


The objective of the group in light of the Phase 3 report is to provide comfort and support as the community grieves and discerns positive steps forward. In September we anticipate turning our attention towards specific areas of discussion, such as exploring alternative governance structures and envisioning what Shambhala can become. If you are interested in learning more about our discussion group, you can go to:

http://andreamwinn.com/offerings/projec ... ion_group/
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Re: Buddhist Project Sunshine Phase 3 Final Report: The nail

Postby admin » Thu Feb 07, 2019 1:41 am

Buddhist Project Sunshine needs your support

At the end of Phase 2, I announced I was retiring because I have been over working to achieve what we've achieved with this project, and I have gone into significant personal financial debt. However, there has been a continued need for the key role I have been playing. As well, there has been an outpouring of donations to Buddhist Project Sunshine. Two hundred and twenty three people have donated $16,564 since early April, which is astounding! I am so grateful! So I have surrendered to the flow of goodness and continued my work.

I have formed and run this organization through heroic exertion and passionate focus. At this point a shift must happen, however, both for my own health and the health of BPS. We are not able to work at a scale appropriate to the needs of Shambhala's healing process without paid staff.

A member of our core leadership group did research and determined an appropriate 3- person staff structure for BPS running as a non-profit organization, with an Executive Director (myself), an Associate Director, and a Development Officer. We need an Associate Director to interview, support and manage our growing number of volunteers and a Development Officer to focus on getting charitable status and ensure our financial health through continued donations.

Over the past eight months, Shambhala International has chosen not to support Buddhist Project Sunshine in our efforts to support community healing or our investigation. Instead they have chosen to retain a separate, non-transparent investigation through Wickwire Holm and to hire An Olive Branch. It is clear that BPS will require community support outside of SI leadership to keep our work going.

I have prepared a 3-month budget with the intention of it giving us time to establish nonprofit status. The budget includes mid-range salary amounts for the three needed staff positions. I am including this 3-month budget in Appendix 1 with the hope that this work is proving meaningful enough to be supported in a more secure way. Since we must raise $47,000 in additional funds, this plan calls for seed money from major donors. We will gratefully receive emails to explore major donor relationships. I would like to speak with potential major donors personally. Please email: buddhistprojectsunshine@gmail.com .

Everyone can donate to Buddhist Project Sunshine at our on-going GoFundMe page: https://www.gofundme.com/project-sunshine-phase-2

I also feel it is important to share that by some cosmic karmic fluke, my core leadership group is unavailable for service as of this week (one is on family medical leave, another is on vacation, and another has taken a full time job). I will not have anyone answering Buddhist Project Sunshine email for the foreseeable future, so my ability to respond will undoubtedly be slow. Please be patient with our slow response for the next little while. I can assure you we will get to everyone's request as soon as possible.
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Re: Buddhist Project Sunshine Phase 3 Final Report: The nail

Postby admin » Thu Feb 07, 2019 1:41 am

Concluding Wishes

I am always grateful to this Shambhala community. There is something that draws us forward -– the light, the need for truth, the need for healing -– goodness. It is my hope that we can see our mutual needs as we move forward together, as I believe we all have much more in common than in difference with each other.

May your receiving of this report be blessed by the full Shambhala lineage, including the mother lineage of Shambhala. May our healing go well. May we come back to a basis of fearlessly caring for one another. And may we take strong steady steps in resolving what has gone wrong, for the great benefit of ourselves and all beings.
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