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

Postby admin » Sat Sep 07, 2019 2:12 am

Part 1 of 2

Kanyu, Fengshui and Court Energetics

Based on the teachings of Eva Wong
Editor: Peter C. van der Molen
Version: 13012012



Table of Contents



As human beings we aim at leading a happy and meaningful life, in which we not only need to care for ourselves and those around us, but also want to develop in a spiritual sense in order to work with our daily experiences. Many traditions over many millennia have aimed at providing the conditions for a happy life and spiritual development. In Asia some traditions stand out in this sense: in Tibet it is the Buddhist spiritual path and the Warrior traditions that have evolved over many lifetimes. In China the Daoist path and the wisdom traditions of K'an-yu and Fengshui have provided the means for spiritual development as well as the means to live harmoniously with the land.

In their efforts, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and Eva Wong strive to bring these traditions together to shape a bright and clear path for spiritual development as warriors in the modern day world.
In this document we will discuss Sacred Space, or the spatial conditions that will allow us to connect with our Basic Goodness or Buddha Nature, through meditation practices, rituals and ceremonies. The depth of the connection made depends of course on many factors such as effort, insight, wisdom and karma. But apart from the mental space, it also depends on the physical space one is in.

In this document we focus on the Shambhala Court principle and its energetics. This knowledge will help us with its application in our Shambhala practice centres.




Throughout history, men and women have aspired to create societies that enable them to live dignified and decent lives with care for each other and our surrounding world within a flourishing culture. This is the vision of Enlightened Society of Shambhala.

Shambhala is a community of people practicing the Shambhala Buddhist traditions of enlightened living, as well as other contemplative disciplines. These practices bring into our ordinary lives a natural sense of goodness, fearlessness, and humour.


The Shambhala Buddhist teachings are practised and studied in a worldwide association of meditation centres founded by Vidyadhara the Venerable Chbgyam Trungpa Rinpoche and now directed by his son and spiritual heir, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche.


A practicing tradition

The Shambhala community draws on a wide variety of contemplative traditions. The core practice is mindfulness/awareness meditation. Instruction follows the tradition of oral transmission from teacher to student-an unbroken lineage that goes back twenty-five hundred years.

Buddhism is an ancient teaching based on the practice of meditation and study of our minds and lives, to awaken our true nature, enlightenment. The Shambhala teachings, taught by the Buddha to the first King of Shambhala, are teachings on how to live in the world, with an open heart and a fearless-awake mind. The ground of both these teachings is the practice of Mindfulness/Awareness meditation, and we offer thorough training in meditation in our Shambhala Centres and programs.

Contemplative Disciplines

The spiritual path and our practice of meditation are not an escape from the world, but a way to wake up to the world and appreciate its wealth. Therefore, in addition to meditation, we also use other forms of contemplative disciplines such as art, archery and photography to work with our minds and experience the world fully.

For more information:

Shambhala worldwide: (
Shambhala Europe (
Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche (
Shambhala Publications (



The view

The Kingdom of Shambhala, which culture and teachings arose from the four great ancestral lineages of India, Tibet, China and Japan - aims at creating enlightened society for all sentient beings. This is based upon the principles of fearlessness and gentleness and grounded in the meditation practices of mindfulness and awareness.

In our Shambhala Tradition, our practice as human beings has to do with connecting heaven and earth. That is the task of humanity, and being human is very much connected to bridging the gap between heaven and earth. In our tradition we talk of the energy of the Great Eastern Sun, a basic energy which is always available to us. We connect to that energy through invoking drala. Working with the three aspects of drala: ultimate, inner and outer, are ways in which we overcome aggression and experience the Great Eastern Sun. We want to invite the dralas back into the world, they have left because of the degradation of the world. We can connect with dralas everywhere, but some places it is easier to do this. And some places more connected to the specific dralas of the Shambhala world. Shambhala dralas are particularly concerned with overcoming aggression.

Chögyam Trungpa initially translated Tibetan drala into an English compound word, wargod. He termed this "not the best translation," but its provisional use was to establish dralas as "gods who conquer war rather than propagate it."

-- The Drala Principle, by Bill Scheffel

In order to facilitate spiritual development the principles of Sacred Space and Court are used. The description follows the logic of Outer - Inner - Secret. However, since the underlying view and principles of court and sacred space are discussed in the 'Secret' section - this will be presented first. Then the application of these principles in 'Inner' and 'Outer' will clearly follow from the previous.

It is this view that guides our path to fruition, without which we would not know what it means to live and work and meditate in a court - a place of wakefulness.

Introduction to the Court principle

The Kingdom of Shambhala, which culture and teachings arose from the four great ancestral lineages of India, Tibet, China and Japan - aims at creating enlightened society for all sentient beings. This is based upon the principles of fearlessness and gentleness and grounded in the meditation practices of mindfulness and awareness. In this sense, the modern day Shambhala tradition as founded by Dorje DraduI Vidyadhara Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, is a direct heir of the ancestral lineage of King Gesar of Ling, who represented Shambhala on earth.

In part of the Indo-Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhist tradition, thirty-two Kings of Shambhala reside in a mythical kingdom.

-- Kings of Shambhala, by Wikipedia

In this tradition, the secular and spiritual are combined - based on the vision of the Rigden, the vision of the family of Basic Goodness / Buddha Nature and the Vajra Principle of indestructible space.

Shambhala is therefore lead by a Sage King - Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche - who is as his title says: Protector of the Earth, a meaning that reaches beyond the mere notion of kingship. The Sakyong is celestially appointed and joins heaven and earth together in establishing enlightened human society. The court of the Sakyong is the manifestation of the Buddhist and Shambhala lineages and its principles of meek, perky, outrageous and inscrutable.

The Sakyong needs a Court to fulfil his role - which is to join Heaven, Earth and Humanity. Here this means that Heaven is the vision of establishing the will of the Rigden - the salvation of the world through creating an Enlightened Society, based upon the notion of Basic Goodness. Earth here is the understanding of the local Dralas - how they work, how to interact with them in setting up the container for court, practice and study. Finally Humanity is the aspect of Enlightened Society or Enlightened World. So the Court is a place that serves as a binding factor, it prevents chaos and a place to raise lungta! The Court gives a sense of belonging, of care, of sangha and a reminder of bodhicitta.

Much information on court is already published in 'The Court Vision and Practice'. As it says in it's foreword, the aim of that document is 'to free this world from the dark age of materialism, and to promote great vision and the splendour of vast mind beyond poverty and pettiness (...)', This is also an interesting way to look at the role of the Court.

The court principle has six aspects with regards to its energetics, how it is manifested. In that sense these aspects describe the court as a mandala - or geometry of power: the alignment of the energetics of power at all its levels. The description of the court principle is found in great detail in the sacred texts as the Ghuyagarbha Tantra and in the 'Golden Sun of the Great East'.

Functions and structure of the court

These relationships within the court revolve around the Sage King, who is the centre of the court. He has people on his left and right sides, everyone at his or her appropriate position and distance: ministers, governors, generals, advisors, etc. When a king receives his subjects - the relationships are clear, visible and therefore natural hierarchy can arise. In this context the order of Heaven <-> Earth <-> Man can be equated with King <-> Ministers <-> Subjects. This is also clear from the description provided in 'The golden Sun of the Great East': 'In Kalapa, the capital, the dharma king of Shambhala first executed the primordial Ashe. On his right sat ministers on tiger-skin seats; on his left, queens on leopard-skin seats; before him, dapons on bear-skin seats; surrounding his domain, the Rigden dralas (..,)'. When a king receives his subjects - the relationships are clear, visible and therefore natural hierarchy can arise.

In the context of a Shambhala Centre this notion of a King, his advisers and subjects can be translated into the order of Heaven <-> Humanity <-> Earth. This means that people (humanity) are appointed to a certain post within the centre and they are responsible for translating the view of the teachings (heaven) into the actual workings of the centre (earth). There is a large responsibility that comes with such a post. The right people should be appointed to the right post, for mismatches can cause harm .. In 'The golden Sun of the Great East': 'If the horse has no saddle, there is no dignity in riding. If the sun had no rays, the people would be blind. If the warrior has no sword, the blessings of the dralas cannot be gathered (...)'.

In a Shambhala Centre it also means that people should have a proper seat, not only on a board or as a title, but also a real physical seat. This means that a number of people - especially the director and the Rusung - should have a desk in an office from which to work. The function pertains to the role and position and duties individuals hold within the court: who does what.

A Shambhala Court should be viewed as a mandala, another expression of the word 'container.' In a mandala different levels exist all of them connected through a bright and clear path. In the table below, the various levels of the mandala are indicated according to the various traditions as well as the functions and activities of those levels.

Shambhalian / Drala: Outer Court / Lu / External Kalapa Court

• Buddhist: Nirmanakaya
• Dorje Kasung: Perimeter / Ramparts
• Properties and Activities: This is the level of the mundane world and deals with the concrete every day aspects of people's lives and activities. Activities here are of planning, outreach, education and administration.

Shambhalian / Drala: Inner Court / Nyen / Internal Kalapa Court

• Buddhist: Sambhogakaya
• Dorje Kasung: Bailey

• Properties and Activities: On this level the environment, people and their activities are all seen as energy fields and fluxes of energy. Perception at this level is just radiance and luminosity. Activities here are meditation practice and teaching and study of the Dharma.

Shambhalian I Drala: Secret Court / Lha / Ultimate Kalapa Court

• Buddhist: Dharmakaya
• Dorje Kasung: Keep / Donjon
• Properties and Activities: This is the level which consists of nonconceptual space and which cannot be described further. The activity here is related with the higher vajrayana practices, with lungs and transmission.

In 1978, the Dorje Dradul talks about the Cosmic Mirror accommodating everything since it has NO middle and NO fringe. This in contrast to the notion of mandala - which means 'centre and fringe'. However the reason for the existence of the Court is to act as a mandala principle, in which things can be centralized rather than diffused. So the mandala principle is there to guide us on a relative level in working with something similar, but boundless on an absolute level).




This aspect has two parts: a) the mundane part: what will bring out the energy of the land that supports practice; and b) the space that the court creates by itself.

The energy of the land:

All places on earth carry energy. Some places carry more energy than others and it may come in terms of beneficial, neutral, wrathful or even malevolent. Selecting the appropriate location on the land will have a strong influence on the spiritual practice that takes place there, for good or for bad. Jamgon Kongtrul the Great (1813-1899) pointed these aspects out in his guides to retreat and to pilgrimage. In his book 'Sacred Ground', Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche has written extensively on pilgrimage and sacred geography. In his book he for example discusses at great length how a particular scared [sacred] place originated; what different categories of sacred places exist; a proof of the existence of sacred places; descriptions of the particular place itself and how it appears to both lay people, initiated ones and exalted ones; how that place was blessed and its energy opened; the features of the place how to perform a pilgrimage there and what the benefits of that pilgrimage are. In particular that last aspect is interesting since it clearly and repeatedly and from many sources states that 'One day of meditation in these places, Brings one closer to attainment than a year of meditation in on ordinary place '.

Now the great Tibetan teachers are first and foremost practical people who do not want to waste effort on the spiritual path. They understand that one needs all the help one can get to attain enlightenment and walk the bodhisattva path. The teachers, the teachings and the sangha are crucial, as is one's effort and diligence. But what Jamgon Kongtrul here also clearly shows is that the physical location where one practices can literally make - or conversely break when in the wrong spot, although he doesn't say that - the accomplishment of one's practice. In Tibet entire volumes were filled with descriptions of such sacred sites along the lines of Jamgon Kongtrul's chapters above. Lists of sacred sites were sometimes found as 'terma' or treasure texts, hidden in magical places such as rocks, lakes or the sky, by Padmasambhava or Guru Rinpoche as he is called, or by his consort Yeshe Tsogyal.

The very spaces we use for practice should be a physical representation of and support for the spiritual path we are following. The structure of a space follows the sequence of three zones: Outer - Inner - Secret. These are connected by the bright and clear path. When such a structure is in place, practitioners know where they are, and where they are heading and gives them clear guidance on this path of transformation of attitude. In addition to this structure of three zones and their connection, is the principle of protection. Good protection allows energy to be gathered and collected and not run out. Protection in this sense deals with ensuring the possibility for practice and safeguarding the accomplishment of the practitioners.

The space created by the court itself:

When a court is in place at any location: its energetics are generated by the container and the people within it. These energetics are created through activity, ceremony and ritual, all performed in the proper way, at the proper moment by the appropriate people. A good example is the mandala of Magyel Pomra Encampment by the Dorje Kasung.


This aspect is the same as in the principle of timeliness by Sun Tzu. When the preconditions for a situation have been set up - then the fruition will come at the right moment. The skill is to choose the precise moment when to initiate which action. If the window of opportunity is missed - then we cannot capture the energetics. All comes down to building up the right set of preconditions - so that when the moment comes, everything is in place and can be set in motion in order to achieve the best result.

Sun Tzu, in his work 'The Art of War', devoted much time in explaining the need to build up that potential energy and its release. He equates it to the drawing of the bow and the release of the arrow. In chapter 5 of his work he writes: 'The rush of water, to the point of tossing racks about. This is shih. The strike of a hawk, at the killing snap. This is the node. Therefore, one skilled at battle: his shih is steep. His node is short. Shih is like drawing the crossbow. The node is like pulling the trigger (...)'. So only when one knows how to set up the preconditions and when to actualise the motion - one is able to bring out all inherent possibilities and energies of a situation.


This is equated as the state of constant preparedness. The state of sustained energetics, maintaining a constant preparedness for the arrival of the court - is like a constant background hum that has the potential of actualisation, but has not actualised yet. It sits ready for action every moment of every day.

Preparedness Movement, in U.S. history, a campaign that began prior to U.S. entry into World War I (April 1917) to increase U.S. military capabilities and to convince the U.S. citizenry of the need for American involvement in the conflict and ongoing military preparedness. Almost immediately after the outbreak of hostilities in Europe, a small number of Americans—former president Theodore Roosevelt being among the most prominent—sought to persuade the administration of Pres. Woodrow Wilson and the population at large that the country must prepare itself for war. The fate of occupied Belgium served as an example of what could happen to an unprepared country. Roosevelt wrote two books on the subject, America and the World War (1915) and Fear God and Take Your Own Part (1916), that helped popularize the Preparedness Movement.

-- Preparedness Movement, by Encyclopaedia Britannica

The state of constant preparedness can be equated like a bowl with food: an elegant and functional container has been created - the food sits ready and all that needs to happen is that is [it] will be picked up and eaten. When a centre is in a state of constant preparedness: there is no nervousness, no panic, no anger or frustration. When the Sage King arrives at any given moment: there is no problem at all - Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche can arrive and take his seat in this part of his Kingdom of Shambhala.


Energy like a spike of power. When the Sage King - Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche travels with his court - there must be a constant state of preparedness through having set up the preconditions to receive him. There must be a ground present. When that is the case, then a sudden spike of power will happen: something flares up out of this and dissolves again. Because of the preconditions that were set up, because of all preparedness - the power that bursts forth has no choice but to go forward and do it. The mandala is pregnant and the only thing that can happen next is giving birth. Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche in this case is like a key turning a lock. If there is no lock to be turned - there will be no progress and the key lies idle.

lock and key theory: The lock and key theory was dreamt up in Liverpool, England by an un-named genius. It states that a guy is like a key, and a girl is like a lock. A key that opens many locks is a master key, yet a lock that is opened by many keys is a shitty lock. This theory is rarely favoured by females... for some reason.

It is like executing the stroke of Ashe: after having set up the ink, paper and brush - after having gone through the preliminaries - the stroke is inevitable, it must happen. Afterwards there is nothing to go back to. The stroke has happened, we fold up the paper and discard it. However the surge of emergent energy, of power is used in our personal transformation because we have set up the environment so carefully and with attention to every detail. A beautiful description is given in 'The golden Sun of the Great East': 'The king held the fearless brush, soaked in the ink of mercy. He touched it to the tip of his tongue, invoking the dralas of the past, present and future. First he placed the A dot (...) up to: At that moment the Eastern Sun matured (...)'.

The whole

When all parts are in place: when a space has been set up in the proper manner: Outer - Inner - Secret plus its connecting Bright and Clear Path, with good protection; when the appropriate ceremonies have been performed; when all officials and participants are in their appropriate position, doing the right things; when conducted at the proper time and as a result of constant preparedness: all of these accumulated will through their amplification - when the Sage King comes and takes his seat flare as a spark of emergent energy. Given the preparedness and container - this emergent energy is then available to transform the world.

Lha, Nyen and Lu

The principles of Lha, Nyen and Lu are at the heart of the Shambhala teachings. In 'The Letter of the Golden Key', the Vidyadhara Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche devoted a substantial part of the text to these principles. In fact the text states that if the order of these three is not obeyed - damage will follow: 'If the order of Lha, Nyen and Lu is violated, slander arises and windhorse weakens; a kalpa of sickness and war is born (...)'.

However, we should realize that the principles of Lha, Nyen and Lu apply to more levels than the one illustrated: ranging from the position of the Shambhala centre in the landscape down to the organization of the shelves in a cupboard. Ideally one needs a good proportion of all three principles, as there are three levels of practitioners: in 'The Letter of the Black Ashe', the Dorje DraduI described the warriors who went to the highland mountains and erected crystal palaces to live in. Others went to the lands of lakes and islands and started to live there. Finally the last group went to live in the pleasant plains. All these are practitioners of different accomplishment, but all have their role in society.

The space of the court

All places on earth carry energy. Some places carry more energy than others and it may come in terms of beneficial, neutral, wrathful or even malevolent. Selecting the appropriate location on the land will have a strong influence on the activity that takes place there, for good or for bad. This is particularly true for spiritual practices.

The very spaces we use for practice should be a physical representation of and support for the spiritual path we are following. The structure of a space follows the sequence of three zones: Outer - Inner - Secret. These are connected by the bright and clear path. When such a structure is in place, practitioners know where they are, and where they are heading and gives them clear guidance on this path of transformation of attitude.

In addition to this structure of three zones and their connection, is the principle of protection. Good protection allows energy to be gathered and collected and not run out. Protection in this sense deals with ensuring the possibility for practice and safeguarding the accomplishment of the practitioners.

When a court is in place somewhere: the container and the people within it generate energy. These energetics are created through activity, ceremony and ritual, all performed in the proper way, at the proper moment by the appropriate people.

The seat of the king

For the Sakyong, to facilitate his contact with the sangha on his travels, there must be a constant state of preparedness in the whole mandala to receive him. There must be a ground present. So when a Shambhala Centre is in some constant state of preparedness for the Sakyong to arrive, then when he does, a sudden burst of power can happen: something flares up and dissolves again. Because of the preconditions that were set up, because of all preparedness - this power that bursts forth has no choice but to go forward and do it. The mandala is pregnant and the only thing that can happen next is giving birth.

All comes down to building up the right set of preconditions - so that when the moment comes, everything is in place and can be set in motion in order to achieve the best result. Sun Tzu, in his work 'The Art of War', devoted much time in explaining the need to build up that potential energy and its release. So only when one knows how to set up the preconditions and when to actualize the motion - one is able to bring out all inherent possibilities and energies of a situation.

This constant state of preparedness also has another effect: the presence of the Sakyong is more immediately felt in the Shambhala Centre. If we view Shambhala as a mandala, then is has by definition a centre and a fringe. The Shambhala Centre is an actual mental and physical gate into the Shambhala mandala. As a fringe, it should reflect the centre, reflect the embodiment of the Shambhala lineage: Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. By being prepared for his arrival, that connection becomes alive and powerful.

So when all parts are in place: when a space has been set up in the proper manner: Outer - Inner - Secret plus its connecting Bright and Clear Path, with good protection; when the appropriate ceremonies have been performed; when all officials and participants are in their appropriate position, doing the right things; when conducted at the proper time and as a result of constant preparedness: all of these accumulated will through their amplification - when the Sage King comes and takes his seat flare as a spark of emergent energy. Given the preparedness and container - this emergent energy is then available to transform the world.
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Sat Sep 07, 2019 2:43 am

Part 2 of 2



A practice centre is not just the container for the practice and the teachings, it is also a physical representation of the path we go. We come in as new students and start with getting into contact with this world of Shambhala. That is the outer situation. Then we our first interview and start settling down in the practice. We practice, we study and meet with the sangha, we share meals, we pay dues, we join meetings - all of this belongs to the inner situation. Finally we progress in our path, we enter the Vajrayana teachings or higher Shambhala teachings. All of this is considered the Secret aspect. Our centre should reflect that particular path: Outer -> Inner -> Secret. So when we choose a new location, this should be kept in mind.

No centre can do without a leadership: the executive committee and the director and Rusung should all have a place where they can have a seat. This comes straight from the view on the Shambhala Court as outlined above. From these seats (read: desks) it is possible to help the community and help bring the centre forward. By denying these people a seat: one invites confusion and internal strife and problems. The view that can be generated for the centre is dependent on the actual view you have from the place itself. The more expansive your field of vision, the further you get; conversely - a small or limited view will not help you forward very much.

In the same vein: viewing the centre as a mandala - the fruition of any type of activity, you hold in a particular place - the radius of its impact - will also depend on the shape of that location. Your environment either amplifies or diminishes the effect of your work. The view and aspects of court energetics outlined above have clear implications on a practical level in our Shambhala centres. A few are worth mentioning here shortly:

Well positioned and designed Shambhala centres, are a powerful form of sacred space that will attract and guide many practitioners on the path of practice of meditation. In order to make this happen, below a number of aspects are discussed to realise such a space.

The following are a number of key points to be aware of when selecting and working with a space, in order to make it a suitable place for our practices. They themselves are not enough to select a space - one really needs the advice of an experience Kanyu practitioner for this. But for those centres that have received a consultation, or are about to receive a consultation, these points might serve as helpful guidelines.

It is also very important to remember that the dralas will not come solely because of the energy of the land and the way we set up the space. It depends very much also on our activity. We are aware of these teachings from our Shambhala tradition - the importance of the environment and the space, being brave and dignified, engaging in our practice in a genuine manner, and refraining from neurotic or harmful activities. Without this basis of right activity, we will not be able to invite dralas into our space.

Outer, inner and secret

In terms of a Shambhala centre, the Outer/Lu is represented by the reception, social space and kitchen, the director's room and the administration. The Inner/Nyen is formed by the Shambhala/Buddhist general shrine room and the teacher's room. Finally the Secret/Lho is formed by the Vajrayana/Werma shrine rooms. This order should be kept in order to maintain harmony.

As mentioned above: the principles of Lha, Nyen and Lu apply to various levels: one being the position of a Shambhala centre in the landscape. For example a centre that occupies a place that is dominated by Lu is not suitable for the meditation practices we use. It will mean one has to move. A centre in a place that is very Nyen is solid, but the development will stay rather basic. A place that is very Lho also is suitable for a few very advanced practitioners only. Ideally one needs a good proportion of all three principles. However the principles of Lha, Nyen and Lu apply also to more detailed matters within the centre itself and practical application of this follows below.

Location of the Shambhala Centre

Within the Shambhala mandala we have many centres, all with a different role. More is said on this topic in a separate document. The aims and efforts within any particular centre should be in accord with its role within the mandala on a larger scale.

Outside of the Shambhala Centre.

A Shambhala centre should be visible. Our logo's, symbols and pins are not just convenient ways of figuring out 'who is who', but are seed syllables and should be regarded and treated that way - both in putting up and in taking down. In practical terms - this means setting up clear, elegant and functional signs on the door(s) leading to our centre. It also means making an effort in publishing the existence of the Shambhala centre.

Organization of space within the centre.

The way a Shambhala centre is structured, according to the principles of Outer - Inner - Secret plus the connecting Bright and Clear Path, as well as the protection will strongly influence the practitioners and their efforts on the path. Wrong lay out may lead to people leaving very quick, people getting 'lost' in the practice and in the organization, no progress on the path or even - in the more extreme cases - to the formation of factions and divisions within the local sangha - with all nasty politics associated with that. A strong Outer - Inner - Secret zoning, and an inviting connecting Bright and Clear Path will help practitioners along, inspire them and make them full part of the sangha.

Organization of hierarchy.

In the section on 'Function' of the court energetics, the importance of seats was clearly laid out. This is also very relevant on the local level of the Shambhala centre. Within the centre, the Executive Committee has the responsibility of maintaining good view, order and care for the possibility for people to practice. This comes with a host of details that need to be attended whilst maintaining this larger view.

The Executive Committee therefore needs a space where it can convene and have meetings. Especially the director of the centre and the Rusung as head of the local Dorje Kasung squad need to have a real physical place - a desk - where they can sit down and do their duties. This is not the same as an administrative desk - these are three separate places. Now not all circumstances permit having three desks, but at the very least both the director and the Rusung need a seat. This is not a luxury!

Centre and fringe, and the state of constant preparedness.

A Shambhala centre is not just any place where one can practice meditation or learn how to arrange flowers. It is an integral part of the entire mandala of Shambhala. Because mandala means 'centre and fringe' - the central Kalapa Court is reflected in the local Shambhala centre. It is both a gate to the Kingdom of Shambhala, as well as a place where the Sage King might appear to visit his subjects at any moment.

When the state of a local Shambhala centre degrades - it reflects back on the mandala as a whole and on the Court in particular. It is like a pool: when through practice and effort the initial small mandala widens from a small pool into a large lake: blessings can travel faster from the middle of the lake to the shores - reaching a wider public. Conversely - poison from the shores travels to all other parts of the lake more easily too!

A state of constant preparedness means that all aspects of Outer - Inner - Secret plus the connecting Bright and Clear Path, as well as the protection and hierarchy are in place and function well. Scenarios, resources and finances lie waiting for those moments when the King will arrive. People are trained and ready. Then the presence of the Sage King is felt everywhere, even during his absence. That constant preparedness will guide and inspire practitioners and transform the atmosphere.


Land carries energy. Mountains carry more energy, which can be powerfully conducive to practice, but also harmful if too wild. Rivers and bodies of water carry energy associated with wealth and enterprise. Overall, land energy can be either helpful or harmful for a spiritual place.

Looking at the location of monasteries in Asia, it is clear to see that they are in specific places where the energy is conducive to practice. Identifying such places and whether land energy is beneficial or harmful requires a lot of training. Common sense, however, is a good starting point.

Access and location

The location of our centre, needs to be established in relation to the key sources of land energy typically available in cities - rivers, waterways and lakes, and also mountains, hills and ridges, etc. Also need to take heed of major roads and railroad tracks - these can cut the energy-flow.

Since our teachings are about helping others, it is important that people can reach us easily. This means that our space is easily locatable and easy to reach. It is also important that it is close to the community - if most of the community have a hard time getting there, then they will not come and if the community is not there, then the space will be dead. So the place we are looking for is in streets that have a lively but not overly crowded atmosphere. People should be walking there. Also a centre should preferably be visible from the street and not being hidden in a courtyard. Also a building should preferably not be on a T-junction or at a corner.

Usually we have need for a Shambhala Buddhist shrine room, a Vajrayana shrine room, interview rooms, and a kitchen, an office etc. Some groups find they need to take a large space in an out of the way, sometimes decaying area. Unfortunately, it is hard for new people to come to such a space, and it is hard to invite dralas into a decaying area. Such groups and centres often get stuck there for a long time. Decaying space - decaying buildings or a building in an environment with a lot of decay is not good - it contributes to a general loss of energetics within the centre.

Narrow streets have no view/horizon. Far vision means good horizon, the distance you see equals how far is your vision, If not far you always pay attention to little details in front of you, be completely buried; like thinking whether there is enough toilet-paper and not about how the program can be better.


Architecture of a building or a space can strengthen or destroy positive energy. Both the external and the internal architecture/layout have an effect, and we need to be aware of this. Generally triangular shapes and sharp lines are more connected with aggressive energy and are not helpful. Regular or rounded shapes are more beneficial. Good architecture on a powerful land energy can not only significantly strengthen such a power spot - but combined with sacred activity there, this can make a power spot into a sacred place. A place where we can invite dralas.


The perimeter defines our space - it defines what is inside and what is outside. This perimeter can be the edges of our space physically (simply the walls) or we can also extend it out by using signs, markings etc to mark the boundary of our space.


When practitioners approach a place of practice, it is important that they are already prepare their mind for the practice. This can be conscious, or simply through the style of the approach. We know about how to prepare ourselves for our practice through our use of the Post Meditation Hall. Equally, before entering our buildings, people always walk through an approach. This may be walking along a loud, dirty street with a simple doorway, or an long dark corridor and an entry into a courtyard. Both of these affect the state of mind of the person arriving, and their experience of our space. Thus it is very important to work with the approach and ensure that it is accessible and inviting.

It is also important to be aware that the first experience someone has of the dharma, is what they experience in their approach. If they walk into an office space - then that is the first impression of a practice place. It would be better if they arrived in a space with some Dharma Art, some heraldry and flowers. The type of art used should match the use of the room involved: so for example one can use a flower arrangement for the entrance to the Shambhala shrine room, and an Buddhist image in the approach to the Vajrayana shrine room.

Signs, heraldry and logos

Signs serve to make people aware where we are. On a more deeper level, they can mark the boundary to our space, and also act as seed syllables - they represent the teachings. Thus they also affect the mind of the person arriving. Clear, prominent signs with the Shambhala Sun on them are very important.

Our heraldry and symbols are very potent, and the Vidyadhara and the Sakyong spent a lot of time thinking about them and creating them. We need to use them appropriately. It is good to display the Shambhala Sun prominently at the entrance and at each boundary to clearly display the symbols. For example, before the shrine room, we could display the Dharmadhatu Evam symbol, or the Shambhala Training symbol. In the community room, there could be a small Dechen Choling symbol above the Dechen Choling calendar.

A Shambhala centre should be visible. Our logo's, symbols and pins are not just convenient ways of figuring out 'who is who', but are seed syllables and should be regarded and treated that way - both in putting up and in taking down. In practical terms - this means setting up clear, elegant and functional signs on the door(s) leading to our centre. It also means making an effort in publishing the existence of the Shambhala centre.

Gates and protection

Gates mark the threshold between spaces. They serve to focus energy going from one space to the next, and also to act as a protection. Walking through a gate is walking through an energy threshold. In demarcating our space into Outer, Inner and Secret, we need to work carefully with gates. Gates (such as doorways) can be strengthened by adding protection (such as pictures of mahakalas) as well as heraldry or banners.

Protection is a very important issue in a Shambhala Centre. Protection does not mean shutting out or turning people away: it means the proper way to welcome practitioners in. The teachings and the teacher and the people practicing need a space that is both a safe place to be in - without disturbances or accidents - and that will promote and keep the results of the practice - the accomplishment of the practitioners should not be lost or corrupted from and through the space. Also the practice space should be a proper container that will amplify the teachings when they are being given and practiced.

Protecting the practice situation is a responsibility of all sangha-members but in particular of the Dorje Kasung. A Shambhala Centre should have at least a few people who practice on this particular path, lead by a Rusung. For further information one should make enquiries through Shambhala Europe.


As was stated above: a Shambhala centre is the physical manifestation of our spiritual path and should therefore be structured according to the principles of Outer - Inner - Secret connected by the Bright and Clear Path. In addition there are the principles of protection, which guard the teacher, the teachings and the practitioners and their efforts on the path. So within our own building, we need to think very clearly about these three zones. The order of Outer - Inner - Secret are matched by the principles of Lu - Nyen and Lho respectively. In terms of a Shambhala centre:

• The Outer/Lu is represented by the welcoming space and reception, the social space, administration, director's seat and kitchen. This could also be the space where art can be exhibited.
• The Inner/Nyen is formed by the Shambhala/Buddhist general shrine room and the interview rooms and the teacher's room.
• Finally the Secret/Lho is formed by the Vajrayana/Werma shrine rooms.

Following the warning in the traditional teachings on this topic, this order should not be confused or peril will result. However, we should realize that the principles of Lha, Nyen and Lu apply to more levels than the one illustrated: ranging from the position of the Shambhala centre in the landscape down to the organization of your shelves. For example a centre that occupies a place that is dominated by Lu is not suitable for the meditation practices we use. It will mean one has to move. A centre in a place that is very Nyen is solid, but the development will stay rather basic. A place that is very Lha also is suitable for a few very advanced practitioners only. Ideally one needs a good proportion of all three principles.

Applying these principles of Outer - Inner - Secret and Lu - Nyen ond Lho provides us with a clear ordering of the functions of our Shambhala Centre. For example it implies that we should house the highest (Lho) practices (Tantra -Werma) in the innermost or Secret parts. In the first place this serves to provide a reminder of the progression of the spiritual path. Secondly if these practices are not given any space, this means they will never increase in strength and have more people practicing this. This in turn will mean that the sangha will get spiritually stuck. Finally suppose there is Lu activity in this Lha space: it could for example mean that young inexperienced students take over from older practitioners, which would lead to serious disruptions within the sangha.

When looking at temples or monasteries of different Asian traditions, when can see some different ways of laying out these three. Some use the linear approach, with each space successively following on from the previous - this is more connected to direct paths to realization - Zen or Vajrayana. Other traditions use the mandala layout of concentric rings - with the Outer being outermost, and the Secret being innermost and in the middle the Inner. This model is more associated with gradual paths. Typically, because of the layout of our centres, we use either the linear approach, or simply a basic separation with no clear order. Below a number of additional aspects are indicated that we can think about:

Do we have these three spaces Outer, Inner and Secret and are they clearly defined and delineated? No clear demarcation of Outer/Inner and Secret - often results in it being hard to bring people into the community. If one fixes a problem of people drifting straight out the door, another associated problem may be that they come but never go deeper. They do not become members. At the same time, older students do not feel welcome, because the energy of the centre has been taken over by newcomer energy. Clear demarcation of Outer, Inner and Secret areas makes it experientially clearer to people that there is a progression on the path. In addition, older students feel more welcome and comfortable.

Are there real boundaries (gates)? Boundaries serve to make you aware of the transitions on the path and serve for protection.

Are spaces correctly sized for the community: for example many communities have a large shrine room, an office and no space for the community. Thus there is space for the advanced practitioners, but no space to invite in new members - alternately, there is often only a tiny space for the administration - can the space for the administration support the proportionate amount of responsibility.

No community space - some centres have a monolithic shrine space, but no space for the community etc. This means there is no space for people to gather, but also no boundary between the outside word and the Secret space. It is better to get a series of smaller rooms, and perhaps rent an additional space for the one large program a year.

There is no post meditation space. This post meditation space is very important, because it creates a container. The possibility to reflect on what they have been doing. We need some kind of transformation.

Confusion of spaces - Mixing use of spaces. Using shrine space for dancing or other very different activities. Hard to build up energy in a space.

The corridors are long and dark: you don't know where you're going, where the end point is. People grasp in the dark. These dominating corridors are a perfect spot for ambush, traps, attacks, intrigues, people spying others, backstabbing. It creates many dark activities. The whole politics is controlled from back, in secret. Because incoming people don't have a long view and don't see the different levels of practice, they don't know there are all these practices and after a few months go home. Sitting they can do at home, after all.

Energy flows straight through the door to the meditation hall. This happens when the shrine room opens straight out to the exit. The outside world energy flows right in, it is hard to build up any energy in the shrine hall, and people spill right outside again - they do not stay or return (let alone become members). It is hard to contain any energy.

Light - good natural light is very beneficial for people's well-being.

Cellars - not good for spiritual practice - a lot of Lu energy, hard to invite dralas.


Activity generates energy, which can affect us. Since neighbours engage in activity, we need to be aware what out neighbours are doing. Butchers, pornography shops etc are not helpful neighbours. Residences and businesses can be neutral (depending on what is going on there) and healing activities can be beneficial.

Activity and sharing space with others

Activity creates energy. We perceive activity and it affects our minds. Thus spiritual practice can strengthen the energy of a space, and even make a potent sacred space out of our centres. Equally, harmful activity can be detrimental to us. Thus we need to be very aware what kind of activity goes on in our centres, and what activity goes on around us.

In is important not to mix too many activities in spaces. Thus the shrine room should be mainly used for practice, study and feasts. Where possible, meetings and large social gatherings should be held outside, in the community area. Equally it is not so good to use a shrine room for dance or totally different activities.

Based on the above points about activity and neighbours, we need to think carefully about how we share spaces with others. If we can mark a clear perimeter, and we can ensure that our spaces are not used for entirely different purposes, then it is fine. If not, it will be harder for people to enter into our community and deepen our practice.

When a building is too small - one must make economic use of the space. This means sharing the same room for various practices. One has to know that every practice leaves a certain amount of its energy in the room. So if you do a lot of taking down and setting up, you might loose what you have build up so diligently. You should then figure out a clever plan what practices/usage can be shared with what.

In the same vein: when a building is too expensive - subletting / room sharing etc. etc. is all brought forward as a solution. It might be from a financial point of view, but it might not be from a practice point of view. All for the same reasons as above. Subletting might be useful, but only when certain conditions are met!

It is recommended doing some research on the history and previous owners of this building. See if there have (not) been any violent crimes or tragedies in the past. The presence and nature of those could help determine if this is a proper practice place and if something has happened: what to do about it.

Visible and invisible energies

The way to assess the building of the Shambhala Centre is through analysis of the various energies present. These can be separated in visible and invisible. Visible means you can see or touch it and generally relates to:

The external architecture: what the building looks like - beneficial or harmful architecture.

The internal partitioning: what room or space lies where; size of each one.

The Flying Stars method of Fengshui provide information on the invisible energies, at work in the building. Fengshui (literally: 'wind and water') is a Taoist art, that aims at aligning the efforts of mankind, with the resident energies of heaven and earth. In Fengshui these energies are studied and applied by means of landforms, dates and directions. The invisible energies are created the moment that the house is built or rejuvenated when substantially renovated (this is a time component) and through the front and rear compass directions of the house (directional component). The data gathered through the building date and the compass-direction, are used to create a so called 'Flying Stars' chart. This chart reveals these hidden energies of the building and is projected on the floor plan of the building in question. This enables us to provide information on:

• Type and distribution of energy pattern in the building.
• Nature of the energy in each part of the building.
• Agreements or conflicts with present usage of spaces.
• Prediction of energy patterns for future years.
• Specific interaction of building with occupants.

Based on the evaluation of the exterior, the interior and the Flying Stars, an assessment can be made of positive and negative influences. These influences are from around the building, part of it and inside. The following suggestions can be provided:

• Best use of each room.
• Placement of shrines and furniture.
• Enhancing positive situations.
• Countermeasures for negative and harmful situations.

The interpretation of these charts and the application of its information requires substantial training and experience. During a consultation such a chart was made and explained. If one searches for a new place, a new charts needs to be made for a prospective centre and interpreted in the proper manner.


All centres have their role within the larger context of the Shambhala mandala. We should make an effort to work on positioning, developing and supporting Shambhala centres at key locations in accord with this larger view. In addition - well designed Shambhala centres, are a powerful form of sacred space that will attract and guide many practitioners on the path of practice of meditation.




What is protection? Who is a protector? And what is being protected? Protection is a form of guardianship. Guardianship is intimately tied to spiritual practice. Before we can practice, we need to make sure that the practice space is protected. The mandala is a type of protection circle. With its gates and concentric circles of power, the mandala protects all those who practice within its circle when it is properly constructed and empowered. If the protection circle is breached, then not only will the practitioners be exposed to attacks, but dharma energy cultivated during practice will dissipate. Consequently, the practice is compromised as best.


Protectors can be understood in several levels. Here the Shambhala terminology of the Three Courts is used to illustrate this.


• In the lowest level, which is the Outer or Kalapa Court, the Shambhala Court mandala and its protectors are embodied in the physical space of the macrocosm of the Shambhala Centre and the microcosm of each shrine or meditation hall. The nature of this court is indestructibility; the qualities of it's inhabitants are skilful means, daringness and patience.
• In this level, the manifesting protectors are the Kasung. The Kasung station, garrison, and gate keeper form the protection circle of the Outer Court.
• Thus, they are linked to the Outer Sakyong and the qualities of Just and Powerful. Protection here is related to mundane aspects such as the safety and integrity and dignity of the physical surroundings of the Shambhala Centre or Court. It also relates to preventing mishap or accidents to occur or loss of dignity and respect for the environment.


The next level of protection is embodied in the Inner Court, which is the domain of the dralas. Here, we are working with the energies of protection rather than the physical protector personnel. The nature of this court is complete luminosity; the qualities of it's inhabitants are gentleness, fearlessness and prajna.
• In this level, the manifesting protectors are the deities - for example Mahakala or Rahula. The Chakrasamvra protection principles and the Boddhisattva warriors are also dominant in this level of protection. Without these protector deities, the protection energies of the drala level cannot be realized.
• Protection at this level is linked to the Inner Sakyong and the quality of Brilliance. Here protection revolves around the Three Jewels:

• The teacher: protecting the body and the manifestation of the teacher and his immediate surroundings.
• The teachings: protection so that the teachings can be heard, practiced and studies, but also that they are not lost, diluted or corrupted.
• The sangha: protection from falling into the traps of ego: waking up from habitual patterns.


The highest level of protection is embodied in the Ultimate Court. Here there are no forms, but only eternal awakening. The nature of this court is the cosmic mirror; the qualities of it's inhabitants are primordialness, unchangingness and braveness.
• The eternal awakening and the forever dawning of the Great Eastern Sun, and the Great Blade of the Primordial Ashe are the protectors.
• Forever present, without needing to be invoked or invited, this is intrinsic protection, and is linked to the Ultimate Sakyong, identified with the Rigden's mind, and synonymous with Profundity.

When all three levels of protection are aligned and in place, the Outer, Inner, and Ultimate Courts are connected, and the Shambhala Court blazes with the ground, principle, and energy of the Profound, Brilliance, Just, and All-Powerful.

When protection is in place the Sakyong, the Dharma, the practitioners (the sangha),and the enlightened society of Shambhala are guarded from attacks. Attacks originate in ignorance, passion, aggression, and attachment. In other words, when we look at attacks closely, we always find ego to be at the bottom of them all. Thus, we can say that the protectors are essentially protecting us from ourselves.


When we examine the icons of the protection deities, such as Mahakala, we find that the deity is wrathful and is stomping on or tearing apart grotesque beings. These images are used as metaphors:

There are no police in our sense of the word. Evil-doers are publicly sentenced. The punishments are pretty drastic but they seem to suit the mentality of the population. I was told of a man who had stolen a golden butter-lamp from one of the temples in Kyirong. He was convicted of the offence, and what we would think an inhuman sentence was carried out. His hands were publicly cut off and he was then sewn up in a wet yak-skin. After this had been allowed to dry, he was thrown over a precipice.

We never saw any punishments as cruel as this. As time has gone on the Tibetans seem to have become more lenient. I remember witnessing a public flogging, which I thought was not severe enough. The condemned persons were a monk and a nun belonging to the reformed Buddhist Church, which enforces celibacy. The nun had cohabited with the monk and had had a child by him, which she killed when it was born. Both were denounced and put in the pillory. Their guilt was publicly announced and they were condemned to a hundred lashes each. During the flogging the inhabitants begged the authorities to show mercy, offering them presents of money. This produced a reduction of the sentence, and sobs and sighs of relief were heard among the crowd of onlookers. The monk and the nun were exiled from the district and deprived of their religious status. The sympathy shown by the whole population towards them was, to our notions, almost inconceivable. The sinners received numerous presents of money and provisions and left Kyirong with well-filled sacks to go on a pilgrimage.

-- Seven Years in Tibet, by Heinrich Harrer

• The grotesque beings are the manifestations of the persistent blindness that keeps us from seeing and realizing the true nature of mind and phenomena.
• The wrathfulness of the deity expresses the invincible and all-victorious power of wisdom and compassion.

• When the deity has one head, it expresses the uncompromising power of the absolute truth; when it has three heads, it expresses the trikaya and the transformation of the three mental poisons of desire, ignorance, aggression, and ignorance.
• If it has two arms, it expresses the union of wisdom and skilful means; if it has six arms, it expresses the six paramitas of generosity, discipline, patience, diligence, concentration, and wisdom.
• If it has two legs, it expresses the inseparability of the space of Dharmadhatu and the awareness of vidya; if it has four legs, it expresses the boundless qualities of love, compassion, joy, and impartiality.
• The sharp and pointed wings express the power of penetrating wisdom and the ability of the Ashe to cut itself.
• The three eyes express the perfect knowledge of past, present, and future.

If the protector deity is compromised, then all of the above manifestations will be compromised.


The grounding of a protector deity is necessary to manifesting its power. The protector deity exudes an aura or circle of protection, emanating from the centre outward. By grounding, we mean focus and stability. Just as the job of a security guard in a building is compromised when we ask the guard to hang our coats and get our hats, the job of Mahakala is hampered if we distract him. His ambient protection energy is always present, even when there is no one in the space. His emergent protection energy is heightened when practitioners are present. Ambient protection energy is less affected while emergent energy is affected more by disturbance and distraction.

Protector shrine

Our activities around a protector shrine need to be understood in the context of protection principles. It is not simply about usage of storage space and activity. When the space under the protector shrine is used to store objects related to sacred activity, the protection circle of the Mahakala is extended to protecting objects stored underneath his shrine - sacred texts, bell, dorje, cymbals etc. Thus, storing sacred objects under a Mahakala shrine is actually beneficial. However, when the emergent energy of Mahakala is most potent (during a meditation session, or feast, or sadhana), disrupting the space by opening and closing cabinet doors can severely compromise the protection circle that the Mahakala is providing.


This overview is a small reminder of the various aspects that have been addressed during the consultation by Eva Wong. It is based on notes made during several consultations throughout Europe between 2002 and 2006.
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Sat Sep 07, 2019 6:14 am

Shining Path
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 9/6/19



In their efforts, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and Eva Wong strive to bring these traditions together to shape a bright and clear path for spiritual development as warriors in the modern day world….

The way a Shambhala centre is structured, according to the principles of Outer - Inner - Secret plus the connecting Bright and Clear Path, as well as the protection will strongly influence the practitioners and their efforts on the path…..

A strong Outer - Inner - Secret zoning, and an inviting connecting Bright and Clear Path will help practitioners along, inspire them and make them full part of the sangha….

A state of constant preparedness means that all aspects of Outer - Inner - Secret plus the connecting Bright and Clear Path, as well as the protection and hierarchy are in place and function well…..

a Shambhala centre is the physical manifestation of our spiritual path and should therefore be structured according to the principles of Outer - Inner - Secret connected by the Bright and Clear Path…..

Kanyu, Fengshui and Court Energetics, PART II: ON THE ENERGETICS OF SHAMBHALA CENTRES, Based on the teachings of Eva Wong, Editor: Peter C. van der Molen

Communist Party of Peru - Shining Path
Partido Comunista del Perú - Sendero Luminoso
Abbreviation PCP
Leader Abimael Guzmán
Founded Late 1960s
Armed wing People's Guerrilla Army
Ideology Communism

Gonzalo Thought
Political position Far-left
International affiliation Revolutionary Internationalist Movement
Colours Red
Slogan ¡Viva la Guerra Popular!
¡Guerra Popular hasta el comunismo!
Long live the People's War!
People's War until Communism!
Party flag
Politics of Peru
Political parties

The Communist Party of Peru – Shining Path (Spanish: Partido Comunista del Perú - Sendero Luminoso), more commonly known as the Shining Path (Spanish: Sendero Luminoso), is a communist revolutionary organization in Peru espousing Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. When it first launched the internal conflict in Peru in 1980, its goal was to overthrow the state by guerrilla warfare and replace it with a New Democracy. The Shining Path believed that by establishing a dictatorship of the proletariat, inducing a cultural revolution, and eventually sparking a world revolution, they could arrive at full communism. Their representatives stated that existing socialist countries were revisionist, and the Shining Path was the vanguard of the world communist movement. The Shining Path's ideology and tactics have been influential among other Maoist insurgent groups, notably the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) and other Revolutionary Internationalist Movement-affiliated organizations.[1]

Widely condemned for its brutality,[2][3] including violence deployed against peasants, trade union organizers, elected officials and the general public,[4] the Shining Path is regarded as a terrorist organization by Peru, Japan, the United States, the European Union, and Canada, which consequently prohibit funding and other financial support for the group.
[5][6][7][8] Since the capture of its leader Abimael Guzmán in 1992, the Shining Path has declined in activity.[9]


The common name of this group, the Shining Path, distinguishes it from several other Peruvian communist parties with similar names (see Communism in Peru). The name is derived from a maxim of José Carlos Mariátegui, the founder of the original Peruvian Communist Party in the 1920s: "El Marxismo-Leninismo abrirá el sendero luminoso hacia la revolución" ("Marxism–Leninism will open the shining path to revolution").[2]

This maxim was featured on the masthead of the newspaper of a Shining Path front group. Due to the number of Peruvian groups that refer to themselves as the Communist Party of Peru, groups are often distinguished by the names of their publications. The followers of this group are generally called senderistas. All documents, periodicals, and other materials produced by the organization are signed by the Communist Party of Peru (PCP). Academics often refer to them as PCP-SL.


The Shining Path was founded in 1969 by Abimael Guzmán, a former university philosophy professor (his followers referred to him by his nom de guerre, which was Presidente Gonzalo), and a group of 11 others.[10] His teachings created the foundation of its militant Maoist doctrine. It was an offshoot of the Communist Party of Peru — Bandera Roja (red flag), which in turn split from the original Peruvian Communist Party, a derivation of the Peruvian Socialist Party founded by José Carlos Mariátegui in 1928.[11] The Shining Path first established a foothold at San Cristóbal of Huamanga University, in Ayacucho, where Guzmán taught philosophy. The university had recently reopened after being closed for about half a century,[12] and many students of the newly educated class adopted the Shining Path's radical ideology. Between 1973 and 1975, Shining Path members gained control of the student councils at the Universities of Huancayo and La Cantuta, and they also developed a significant presence at the National University of Engineering in Lima and the National University of San Marcos. Sometime later, it lost many student elections in the universities, including Guzmán's San Cristóbal of Huamanga. It decided to abandon recruiting at the universities and reconsolidate.

Beginning on March 17, 1980, the Shining Path held a series of clandestine meetings in Ayacucho, known as the Central Committee's second plenary.[13] It formed a "Revolutionary Directorate" that was political and military in nature and ordered its militias to transfer to strategic areas in the provinces to start the "armed struggle", despite the revisionism instituted in China by Deng Xiaoping and its economic success since 1978. The group also held its "First Military School", where members were instructed in military tactics and the use of weapons. They also engaged in "Criticism and Self-criticism", a Maoist practice intended to purge bad habits and avoid the repetition of mistakes. During the existence of the First Military School, members of the Central Committee came under heavy criticism. Guzmán did not, and he emerged from the First Military School as the clear leader of the Shining Path.[14]

The year 1980 was the first year that Rinpoche instituted a formal skirmish, rather than relying on random attacks by outsiders. The camp was divided into two armies, one led by the Vajra Regent Osel Tendzin and the other by the Kasung Kyi Khyap David Rome. Before the action commenced, Rinpoche asked each of the commanders to agree to a number of rules, and they were asked to sign a document saying they would adhere to these rules. After the commanders signed off on the rules, the two opposing armies would be marched up into a series of highland meadows where the skirmish would take place. Each participant would be given a certain number of small flour bags, which they could use as "weapons." When someone was hit with a flour bag, he or she would be "dead" and would have to remain out of action. All of this was outlined in the rules. There were other rules, such as, if the opposing team gave water to someone who had been hit, that person could join the opposing army. One rule, the most important tenth rule, was only visible on the carbon copies of the document signed by the heads of the armies. Either commander could have discovered this rule; but neither did, as it was not visible on the top copy they signed.

During the battle, the two commanders were responsible for their armies' strategy; and the soldiers were expected to follow their commands. The Regent's strategy was quite aggressive; he had his army attack the other group quickly. He had many "hits" with the flour bags and killed many of the opposing team. David Rome seemed quite lost and somewhat fearful in his approach, and as a result, he marched his army into the hands of the opposing team, where they were largely slaughtered. A small band from David's army (which was led by Mitchell and included the Sawang in its ranks) did escape the first battle and spent hours trekking around Marpa's Point, trying to avoid capture or "death." In the end, they staged a final futile assault on the Regent's army and were all "slaughtered." Watching one's comrades falling down in the midst of the hazy flour smoke was quite realistic for people. They saw firsthand the devastation that war can bring. On the other hand, for many of the participants the skirmish seemed to be a lighthearted game, a fun way to spend the day.

At the end of the day, following the final battle of the skirmish, a vivid rainbow spread across the sky, filling the entire meadow where the last action took place with light. Rinpoche and his party had set up their camp that afternoon on a large outcropping of rock in the middle of this field, where he could watch the dramas unfold. When a member of either army "died," he or she was sent to Rinpoche's camp, which became known as Bardo Rock.

After the final battle, he directed all of the Dorje Kasung members to return to the main camp. There the skies opened up and the rain fell in sheets. In the midst of this downpour he discussed the results of the day's skirmish and graded the performance of the armies and their leaders. As he began to speak, people's mood changed drastically, as they began to realize that they had missed the point. Lacking a microphone, Rinpoche had to yell in order to be heard over the noise of the downpour. He was standing under a tarpaulin, but the troops had no such protection from the weather. They were being soaked by the rain. No tape was made of Rinpoche's remarks, but a "scribe" took notes, writing at a frantic speed to catch his words. Rinpoche told the assembled students that in fact they had all lost. No one had understood the main point of the exercise. At this point, he revealed the hidden rule, the tenth rule, which was the fundamental message he was trying to convey. This rule read: "Lack of proper strategy, causing greater loss of life, is cause for loss of battle." Then he explained to everyone, "Our task at Encampment is to rewrite the Oxford English Dictionary so that the meaning of the word war would be 'victory over aggression.'"

Rinpoche said that before the skirmish began both armies looked quite good with their various pennants and flags flying and their energetic sense of windhorse. He gave both armies a point for that. However, the Regent had a Buddhist problem, because his approach was to kill others. He lost a point for that. David Rome had a Shambhala problem, because he allowed his own family, his own troops, to be sacrificed. He lost a point for this. Mitchell was graded down for having had the right idea and then going against his better judgment. He had the idea that he and his small band should surrender, but instead, they attacked the Regent at the end of the day, and all were killed, including Rinpoche's son. Mitchell, as the commander of this ragtag band, was also marked down for allowing the Sawang to be killed in battle. Nobody got a passing grade.

Rinpoche's remarks were an utter shock. Many of those assembled started weeping, recognizing the aggression they had put into the exercise and the problems they had overcoming it. Rinpoche told everyone that they would have to go back the next day and conduct the entire exercise again. People were exhausted, but he was not interested in how tired they were. Indeed, both armies marched back up the hill the next morning. Rinpoche switched the commanders, so that the Regent led what had been David Rome's army, and David led the Regent's original troops. They conducted a skirmish with hardly a shot being fired.

-- Dragon Thunder: My Life with Chogyam Trungpa, by Diana J. Mukpo with Carolyn Rose Gimian

In 1992, Guzmán and other leaders of the Shining Path received life imprisonment sentences for their role in the Lucanamarca massacre, among other charges.[15]

Guerrilla war

Shining Path poster supporting an electoral boycott

When Peru's military government allowed elections for the first time in a dozen years in 1980, the Shining Path was one of the few leftist political groups that declined to take part. It chose to begin guerrilla war in the highlands of the Ayacucho Region. On May 17, 1980, on the eve of the presidential elections, it burned ballot boxes in the town of Chuschi. It was the first "act of war" by the Shining Path. The perpetrators were quickly caught, and additional ballots were shipped to Chuschi. The elections proceeded without further problems, and the incident received little attention in the Peruvian press.[17]

Throughout the 1980s, the Shining Path grew, both in terms of the territory it controlled and in the number of militants in its organization, particularly in the Andean highlands. It gained support from local peasants by filling the political void left by the central government and providing what they called "popular justice", public trials that disregard any legal and human rights that deliver swift and brutal sentences, including public executions. This caused the peasantry of some Peruvian villages to express some sympathy for the Shining Path, especially in the impoverished and neglected regions of Ayacucho, Apurímac, and Huancavelica. At times, the civilian population of small, neglected towns participated in popular trials, especially when the victims of the trials were widely disliked.[18]

Poster of Abimael Guzmán celebrating five years of People's War

The Shining Path's credibility was helped by the government's initially tepid response to the insurgency. For over a year, the government refused to declare a state of emergency in the region where the Shining Path was operating. The Interior Minister, José María de la Jara, believed the group could be easily defeated through police actions.[19] Additionally, the president, Fernando Belaúnde Terry, who returned to power in 1980, was reluctant to cede authority to the armed forces since his first government had ended in a military coup. The result was that the peasants in the areas where the Shining Path was active thought the state was either impotent or not interested in their issues.

On December 29, 1981, the government declared an "emergency zone" in the three Andean regions of Ayacucho, Huancavelica, and Apurímac and granted the military the power to arbitrarily detain any suspicious person. The military abused this power, arresting scores of innocent people, at times subjecting them to torture during interrogation[20] as well as rape.[21] Police, military forces, and members of the Popular Guerrilla Army (Ejército Guerrillero Popular, or EGP) carried out several massacres throughout the conflict. Military personnel started to wear black ski-masks to hide their identities and protect their safety, and that of their families.

In some areas, the military trained peasants and organized them into anti-rebel militias, called "rondas". They were generally poorly equipped, despite being provided arms by the state. The rondas attacked the Shining Path guerrillas. The first such reported attack was in January 1983, near Huata, when ronderos killed 13 senderistas in February, in Sacsamarca. In March 1983, ronderos brutally killed Olegario Curitomay, one of the commanders of the town of Lucanamarca. They took him to the town square, stoned him, stabbed him, set him on fire, and finally shot him. The Shining Path's retaliation to this was brutal. In one of the worst attacks in the entire conflict, a group of guerrilla members came into town and going house by house, massacred dozens of villagers, including babies, with guns, hatchets, and axes. This action has come to be known as the Lucanamarca massacre.[22]

Areas where the Shining Path was active in Peru

The Shining Path's attacks were not limited to the countryside. It mounted attacks against the infrastructure in Lima, killing civilians in the process. In 1983, it sabotaged several electrical transmission towers, causing a citywide blackout, and set fire and destroyed the Bayer industrial plant. That same year, it set off a powerful bomb in the offices of the governing party, Popular Action. Escalating its activities in Lima, in June 1985, it blew up electricity transmission towers in Lima, producing a blackout, and detonated car bombs near the government palace and the justice palace. It was believed to be responsible for bombing a shopping mall.[23] At the time, President Fernando Belaúnde Terry was receiving the Argentine president Raúl Alfonsín. In one of its last attacks in Lima, on July 16, 1992, the group detonated a powerful bomb on Tarata Street in the Miraflores District, full of civilian adults and children,[24] killing 25 people and injuring an additional 155.[25]

During this period, the Shining Path assassinated specific individuals, notably leaders of other leftist groups, local political parties, labor unions, and peasant organizations, some of whom were anti-Shining Path Marxists.[4] On April 24, 1985, in the midst of presidential elections, it tried to assassinate Domingo García Rada, the president of the Peruvian National Electoral Council, severely injuring him and mortally wounding his driver. In 1988, Constantin (Gus) Gregory,[26] an American citizen working for the United States Agency for International Development, was assassinated. Two French aid workers were killed on December 4 that same year.[27] In August 1991, the group killed one Italian and two Polish priests in the Ancash Region.[28] The following February, it assassinated María Elena Moyano, a well-known community organizer in Villa El Salvador, a vast shantytown in Lima.[29]

By 1991, the Shining Path had gained control of much of the countryside of the center and south of Peru and had a large presence in the outskirts of Lima. As the organization grew in power, a cult of personality grew around Guzmán. The official ideology of the Shining Path ceased to be "Marxism–Leninism–Mao Tse-tung thought" and was instead referred to as "Marxism–Leninism–Maoism–Gonzalo thought".[30] The Shining Path fought against Peru's other major guerrilla group, the Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA),[31] as well as campesino self-defense groups organized by the Peruvian armed forces.

Although the reliability of reports regarding the Shining Path's atrocities remains a matter of controversy in Peru, the organization's use of violence is well documented. The Shining Path rejected the concept of human rights; a Shining Path document stated:

We start by not ascribing to either the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or the Costa Rica [Convention on Human Rights], but we have used their legal devices to unmask and denounce the old Peruvian state... For us, human rights are contradictory to the rights of the people, because we base rights in man as a social product, not man as an abstract with innate rights. "Human rights" do not exist except for the bourgeois man, a position that was at the forefront of feudalism, like liberty, equality, and fraternity were advanced for the bourgeoisie of the past. But today, since the appearance of the proletariat as an organized class in the Communist Party, with the experience of triumphant revolutions, with the construction of socialism, new democracy and the dictatorship of the proletariat, it has been proven that human rights serve the oppressor class and the exploiters who run the imperialist and landowner-bureaucratic states. Bourgeois states in general... Our position is very clear. We reject and condemn human rights because they are bourgeois, reactionary, counterrevolutionary rights, and are today a weapon of revisionists and imperialists, principally Yankee imperialists.

— Communist Party of Peru, Sobre las Dos Colinas[32]

Level of support

The Shining Path quickly seized control of large areas of Peru. The group had significant support among peasant communities, and it had the support of some slum dwellers in the capital and elsewhere. The Shining Path's Maoism probably did not have the support of many city dwellers. According to opinion polls, only 15% of the population considered subversion to be justifiable in June 1988, while only 17% considered it justifiable in 1991.[33] In June 1991, "the total sample disapproved of the Shining Path by an 83 to 7 percent margin, with 10 percent not answering the question. Among the poorest, however, only 58% stated disapproval of the Shining Path; 11 percent said they had a favorable opinion of the Shining Path, and some 31 percent would not answer the question."[34] A September 1991 poll found that 21 percent of those polled in Lima believed that the Shining Path did not torture and kill innocent people. The same poll found that 13% believed that society would be more just if the Shining Path won the war and 22% believed society would be equally just under the Shining Path as it was under the government.[34]

Polls have never been completely accurate since Peru has several anti-terrorism laws, including "apology for terrorism", that makes it a punishable offense for anyone who does not condemn the Shining Path. In effect, the laws make it illegal to support the group in any way.[35]

Many peasants were unhappy with the Shining Path's rule for a variety of reasons, such as its disrespect for indigenous culture and institutions.[36] However, they had also made agreements and alliances with some indigenous tribes. Some did not like the brutality of its "popular trials" that sometimes included "slitting throats, strangulation, stoning, and burning."[37][38] Peasants were offended by the rebels' injunction against burying the bodies of Shining Path victims.[39]

The Shining Path followed Mao's dictum that guerrilla warfare should start in the countryside and gradually choke off the cities.[40] The Shining Path banned continuous drunkenness, but they did allow the consumption of alcohol.

Government response

In 1991, President Alberto Fujimori issued a law that gave the rondas a legal status, and from that time, they were officially called Comités de auto defensa ("Committees of Self-Defense").[41] They were officially armed, usually with 12-gauge shotguns, and trained by the Peruvian Army. According to the government, there were approximately 7,226 comités de auto defensa as of 2005;[42] almost 4,000 are located in the central region of Peru, the stronghold of the Shining Path.

The Peruvian government also cracked down on the Shining Path in other ways. Military personnel were dispatched to areas dominated by the Shining Path, especially Ayacucho, to fight the rebels. Ayacucho, Huancavelica, Apurimacwere, and Huanuco were declared emergency zones, allowing for some constitutional rights to be suspended in those areas.[43]

Initial government efforts to fight the Shining Path were not very effective or promising. Military units engaged in many human rights violations, which caused the Shining Path to appear in the eyes of many as the lesser of two evils. They used excessive force and killed many innocent civilians. Government forces destroyed villages and killed campesinos suspected of supporting the Shining Path. They eventually lessened the pace at which the armed forces committed atrocities such as massacres. Additionally, the state began the widespread use of intelligence agencies in its fight against the Shining Path. However, atrocities were committed by the National Intelligence Service and the Army Intelligence Service, notably the La Cantuta massacre and the Barrios Altos massacre, both of which were committed by Grupo Colina.[44][45]

After the collapse of the Fujimori government, interim President Valentín Paniagua established a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate the conflict. The Commission found in its 2003 Final Report that 69,280 people died or disappeared between 1980 and 2000 as a result of the armed conflict.[46] The Shining Path was found to be responsible for about 54% of the deaths and disappearances reported to the Commission.[47] A statistical analysis of the available data led the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to estimate that the Shining Path was responsible for the death or disappearance of 31,331 people, 46% of the total deaths and disappearances.[46] According to a summary of the report by Human Rights Watch, "Shining Path… killed about half the victims, and roughly one-third died at the hands of government security forces… The commission attributed some of the other slayings to a smaller guerrilla group and local militias. The rest remain unattributed."[48] The MRTA was held responsible for 1.5% of the deaths.[49] A 2019 study disputed the casualty figures from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, estimating instead "a total of 48,000 killings, substantially lower than the TRC estimate", and concluding that "the Peruvian State accounts for a significantly larger share than the Shining Path."[50][51]

Capture of Guzmán and collapse

On September 12, 1992, El Grupo Especial de Inteligencia (GEIN) captured Guzmán and several Shining Path leaders in an apartment above a dance studio in the Surquillo district of Lima. GEIN had been monitoring the apartment since a number of suspected Shining Path militants had visited it. An inspection of the garbage of the apartment produced empty tubes of a skin cream used to treat psoriasis, a condition that Guzmán was known to have. Shortly after the raid that captured Guzmán, most of the remaining Shining Path leadership fell as well.[52]

The capture of rebel leader Abimael Guzmán left a huge leadership vacuum for the Shining Path. "There is no No. 2. There is only Presidente Gonzalo and then the party," a Shining Path political officer said at a birthday celebration for Guzmán in Lurigancho prison in December 1990. "Without Presidente Gonzalo, we would have nothing."[53]

At the same time, the Shining Path suffered embarrassing military defeats to self-defense organizations of rural campesinos — supposedly its social base. When Guzmán called for peace talks, the organization fractured into splinter groups, with some Shining Path members in favor of such talks and others opposed.[54] Guzmán's role as the leader of the Shining Path was taken over by Óscar Ramírez, who himself was captured by Peruvian authorities in 1999. After Ramírez's capture, the group splintered, guerrilla activity diminished sharply, and peace returned to the areas where the Shining Path had been active.[55]

21st century resurgence and downfall

Although the organization's numbers had lessened by 2003,[55] a militant faction of the Shining Path called Proseguir ("Onward") continued to be active.[56]

On May 21, 2002, a car bomb exploded outside the US embassy in Lima just before a visit by President George W. Bush. Nine people were killed, and 30 were injured; the attack was determined to be the work of the Shining Path.[57]

On June 9, 2003, a Shining Path group attacked a camp in Ayacucho and took 68 employees of the Argentinian company Techint and three police guards as hostages. They had been working on the Camisea gas pipeline project that would take natural gas from Cusco to Lima.[58] According to sources from Peru's Interior Ministry, the rebels asked for a sizable ransom to free the hostages. Two days later, after a rapid military response, the rebels abandoned the hostages; according to government sources, no ransom was paid.[59] However, there were rumors that US$200,000 was paid to the rebels.[60]

Government forces have captured three leading Shining Path members. In April 2000, Commander José Arcela Chiroque, called "Ormeño", was captured, followed by another leader, Florentino Cerrón Cardozo, called "Marcelo", in July 2003. In November of the same year, Jaime Zuñiga, called "Cirilo" or "Dalton", was arrested after a clash in which four guerrillas were killed and an officer was wounded.[61] Officials said he took part in planning the kidnapping of the Techint pipeline workers. He was also thought to have led an ambush against an army helicopter in 1999 in which five soldiers died.

In 2003, the Peruvian National Police broke up several Shining Path training camps and captured many members and leaders.[62] By late October 2003, there were 96 terrorist incidents in Peru, projecting a 15% decrease from the 134 kidnappings and armed attacks in 2002.[62] Also for the year, eight[63] or nine[62] people were killed by the Shining Path, and 6 senderistas were killed and 209 were captured.[62]

Comrade Artemio, now captured and serving a life sentence in prison

In January 2004, a man known as Comrade Artemio and identifying himself as one of the Shining Path's leaders, said in a media interview that the group would resume violent operations unless the Peruvian government granted amnesty to other top Shining Path leaders within 60 days.[64] Peru's Interior Minister, Fernando Rospigliosi, said that the government would respond "drastically and swiftly" to any violent action. In September that same year, a comprehensive sweep by police in five cities found 17 suspected members. According to the interior minister, eight of the arrested were school teachers and high-level school administrators.[65]

Despite these arrests, the Shining Path continued to exist in Peru. On December 22, 2005, the Shining Path ambushed a police patrol in the Huánuco region, killing eight.[66] Later that day, they wounded an additional two police officers. In response, then President Alejandro Toledo declared a state of emergency in Huánuco and gave the police the power to search houses and arrest suspects without a warrant. On February 19, 2006, the Peruvian police killed Héctor Aponte, believed to be the commander responsible for the ambush.[67] In December 2006, Peruvian troops were sent to counter renewed guerrilla activity, and according to high-level government officials, the Shining Path's strength has reached an estimated 300 members.[68] In November 2007, police said they killed Artemio's second-in-command, a guerrilla known as JL.[69]

In September 2008, government forces announced the killing of five rebels in the Vizcatan region. This claim was subsequently challenged by the APRODEH, a Peruvian human rights group, which believed that those who were killed were in fact local farmers and not rebels.[70] That same month, Artemio gave his first recorded interview since 2006. In it, he stated that the Shining Path would continue to fight despite escalating military pressure.[71] In October 2008, in Huancavelica Region, the guerrillas engaged a military convoy with explosives and firearms, demonstrating their continued ability to strike and inflict casualties on military targets. The conflict resulted in the death of 12 soldiers and two to seven civilians.[72][73] It came one day after a clash in the Vizcatan region, which left five rebels and one soldier dead.[74]

In November 2008, the rebels utilized hand grenades and automatic weapons in an assault that claimed the lives of 4 police officers.[75] In April 2009, the Shining Path ambushed and killed 13 government soldiers in Ayacucho.[76] Grenades and dynamite were used in the attack.[76] The dead included eleven soldiers and one captain, and two soldiers were also injured, with one reported missing.[76]

Poor communications were said to have made relay of the news difficult.[76] The country's Defense Minister, Antero Flores Aráoz, said many soldiers "plunged over a cliff".[76] His Prime Minister, Yehude Simon, said these attacks were "desperate responses by the Shining Path in the face of advances by the armed forces" and expressed his belief that the area would soon be freed of "leftover terrorists".[76] In the aftermath, a Sendero leader called this "the strongest [anti-government] blow... in quite a while".[77] In November 2009, Defense Minister Rafael Rey announced that Shining Path militants had attacked a military outpost in southern Ayacucho province. One soldier was killed and three others wounded in the assault.[78]

On April 28, 2010, Shining Path rebels in Peru ambushed and killed a police officer and two civilians who were destroying coca plantations of Aucayacu, in the central region of Haunuco, Peru. The victims were gunned down by sniper fire coming from the thick forest as more than 200 workers were destroying coca plants.[79] Since this attack, the Shining Path faction, based in the Upper Huallaga Valley of Peru and headed by Florindo Eleuterio Flores Hala, alias Comrade Artemio, has been operating in a survival mode and has lost 9 of their top 10 leaders to Peruvian National Police (PNP)-led capture operations. Two of the eight leaders were killed by PNP personnel during the attempted captures. Those nine arrested/killed Shining Path (Upper Huallaga Valley faction) leaders include Mono (Aug. 2009), Rubén (May 2010), Izula (Oct. 2010), Sergio (Dec. 2010), Yoli/Miguel/Jorge (Jun. 2011), Gato Larry (Jun. 2011), Oscar Tigre (Aug. 2011), Vicente Roger (Aug. 2011), and Dante/Delta (Jan. 2012).[80][81][82][83][84][85][86][87]

This loss of leadership, coupled with a sweep of Shining Path (Upper Huallaga Valley) supporters executed by the PNP in November 2010, prompted Comrade Artemio to declare in December 2011 to several international journalists that the guerrilla war against the Peruvian Government has been lost and that his only hope was to negotiate an amnesty agreement with the Government of Peru.[88]

On February 12, 2012, Comrade Artemio was found badly wounded after a clash with troops in a remote jungle region of Peru. President Ollanta Humala said the capture of Artemio marked the defeat of the Shining Path in the Alto Huallaga valley – a center of cocaine production. President Humala has stated that he would now step up the fight against the remaining bands of Shining Path rebels in the Ene-Apurímac valley.[89] On March 3, Walter Diaz, the lead candidate to succeed Artemio,[90] was captured,[91] further ensuring the disintegration of the Alto Huallaga valley faction.[90] On April 3, 2012, Jaime Arenas Caviedes, a senior leader in the group's remnants in Alto Huallaga Valley[92] who was also regarded to be the leading candidate to succeed Artemio following Diaz's arrest,[93] was captured.[92] After Caviedes, alias "Braulio",[92] was captured, Humala declared that the Shining Path was now unable to operate in the Alto Huallaga Valley.[94]

On October 7, 2012, Shining Path rebels carried out an attack on three helicopters being used by an international gas pipeline consortium, in the central region of Cusco.[95] According to the military Joint Command spokesman, Col. Alejandro Lujan, no one was kidnapped or injured during the attack.[96]

On June 7, 2013, Comrade Artemio was convicted of terrorism, drug trafficking, and money laundering. He was sentenced to life in prison and a fine of $183 million.[97]

On August 11, 2013, Comrade Alipio, the Shining Path's leader in the Ene-Apurímac Valley, was killed in a battle with government forces in Llochegua.[98]

On April 9, 2016, on the eve of the country's presidential elections, the Peruvian government blamed remnants of the Shining Path for a guerilla attack that killed eight soldiers and two civilians.[99]

On March 18, 2017, Shining Path snipers killed three police officers in the Ene Apurimac Valley.[100]

Popular culture

• American hard rock band Guns N' Roses quotes a speech by a Shining Path officer in their 1990 song "Civil War", as saying "We practice selective annihilation of mayors and government officials, for example, to create a vacuum, then we fill that vacuum. As popular war advances, peace is closer."[101]
• The popular leftist rock band Rage Against the Machine explicitly supported the Shining Path in the music video of their popular song "Bombtrack", released in 1993, as well as in the lyrics of the track "Without a Face", released on their 1996 album Evil Empire.
• Maoist philosopher J. Moufawad-Paul offers an extensive critique of the Shining Path in his theoretical Marxist work Continuity and Rupture, addressing the Shining Path's degeneracy into personality cults, dogmatism, and terrorism.[102]

See also

• Communist Party of India (Maoist)
• Communist Party of the Philippines
• Definitions of terrorism
• List of designated terrorist organizations


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44. La Comisión de la Verdad y Reconciliación. August 28, 2003. "2.45. Las Ejecuciones Extrajudiciales en Barrios Altos (1991.)" Available online in Spanish. Retrieved January 13, 2008.
45. La Comisión de la Verdad y Reconciliación. August 28, 2003. "2.19. La Universidad Nacional de educación Enrique Guzmán y Valle «La Cantuta»." Available online in Spanish. Retrieved January 13, 2008.
46. Comisión de la Verdad y Reconciliación. Annex 2 Page 17. Retrieved January 14, 2008.
47. Comisión de la Verdad y Reconciliación. Book I Part I Page 186. Retrieved January 14, 2008
48. Human Rights Watch. August 28, 2003. "Peru – Prosecutions Should Follow Truth Commission Report". Retrieved April 21, 2009.
49. Laura Puertas, Inter Press Service. August 29, 2003. Peru: 20 Years of Bloodshed and Death" Archived March 21, 2004, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved January 13, 2008.
50. Rendon, Silvio (January 1, 2019). "Capturing correctly: A reanalysis of the indirect capture–recapture methods in the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission". Research & Politics. 6 (1): 2053168018820375. doi:10.1177/2053168018820375. ISSN 2053-1680.
51. Rendon, Silvio (April 1, 2019). "A truth commission did not tell the truth: A rejoinder to Manrique-Vallier and Ball". Research & Politics. 6 (2): 2053168019840972. doi:10.1177/2053168019840972. ISSN 2053-1680.
52. Rochlin, p. 71.
53. "Guzman arrest leaves Void in Shining Path Leadership" Associated Press/Deseret, September 14, 1992
54. Sims, Calvin (August 5, 1996) "Blasts Propel Peru's Rebels From Defunct To Dangerous.". The New York Times. Retrieved January 17, 2008
55. Rochlin, pp. 71–72.
56. United States Department of State (2005). Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Peru – 2005. Retrieved January 13, 2008.
57. "Peru bomb fails to deter Bush". BBC. March 21, 2002. Retrieved April 14, 2009.
58. "Pipeline Workers Kidnapped". The New York Times, June 10, 2003. Retrieved January 13, 2008.
59. "Peru hostages set free". BBC, June 11, 2003. Retrieved January 17, 2008.
60. "Gas Workers Kidnapped, Freed" Retrieved January 17, 2008
61. "Peru Captures Shining Path Rebel.". BBC News, November 9, 2003. Retrieved January 13, 2008.
62. United States Department of State, Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism. April 29, 2004. "Patterns of Global Terrorism: Western Hemisphere Overview" . Retrieved January 13, 2008.
63. United States Department of State. February 25, 2004. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2003: Peru. Retrieved January 13, 2008.
64. Issue Papers and Extended Responses. Available online Archived December 6, 2008, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved January 13, 2008.
65. "En operativo especial capturan a 17 requisitoriados por terrorismo" Archived March 28, 2008, at the Wayback Machine. La República, September 29, 2004. Retrieved January 16, 2008. (in Spanish)
66. "Rebels Kill 8 Policemen". The New York Times, December 22, 2005. Retrieved January 13, 2008.
67. "Jefe militar senderista ‘Clay’ muere en operativo policial" Archived March 28, 2008, at the Wayback Machine. La República, February 20, 2006. Retrieved January 20, 2008. (in Spanish)
68. Washington Times. December 12, 2006. "Troops dispatched to corral guerrillas."
69. "Peru police 'kill leading rebel'" . BBC. Retrieved January 13, 2008.
70. "Peru army may have killed farmers – rights group". Reuters. Retrieved June 11, 2009.
71. "Peru rebel leader refuses to lay down arms". AP. Retrieved June 11, 2009.
72. "Peru rebels launch deadly ambush'". BBC. Retrieved June 11, 2009.
73. "Peru says 14 killed in Shining Path attack" Archived October 11, 2008, at the Wayback Machine. Associated Press. Retrieved June 11, 2009.
74. "1 Peruvian soldier, 5 rebels killed in military campaign". Associated Press. Retrieved June 11, 2009.
75. "Peru's Shining Path kill four police in ambush". AFP. Retrieved June 11, 2009.
76. "Rebels kill 13 soldiers in Peru". BBC. Retrieved April 12, 2009.
77. "Shining Path rebels stage comeback in Peru". CNN. April 21, 2009. Retrieved April 24, 2009.
78. "Peru rebels attack army outpost, killing 1 soldier". Associated Press. Retrieved November 11, 2009.
79. "Peru rebels ambush and kill coca plantation clearers". BBC, April 28, 2010
80. "Senderista 'Izula' es responsable del secuestro y asesinato de 40 civiles | El Comercio Perú". October 13, 2010. Archived from the original on June 2, 2013. Retrieved April 26, 2014.
81. "Policía Nacional capturó a cabecilla terrorista 'Sergio' en el Alto Huallaga | El Comercio Perú". December 30, 2010. Archived from the original on June 2, 2013. Retrieved April 26, 2014.
82. "Policía Nacional del Perú". Archived from the original on October 24, 2012. Retrieved April 26,2014.
83. "Cae terrorista sindicado como el N° 3 de Sendero en el Huallaga". April 17, 2014. Archived from the original on December 8, 2015. Retrieved April 26, 2014.
84. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 9, 2012. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
85. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 10, 2012. Retrieved January 22, 2012.
86. DELTA. "Detenido el proveedor de armas a terroristas del Alto Huallaga". Archived from the original on April 27, 2014. Retrieved April 26, 2014.
87. "Cae terrorista cercano a 'Artemio' | Actualidad". January 9, 2012. Retrieved April 26,2014.[permanent dead link]
88. "Entrevista con senderista 'Artemio': "No vamos a realizar más ataques" | El Comercio Perú". December 7, 2011. Archived from the original on June 2, 2013. Retrieved April 26, 2014.
89. "Peru Shining Path leader Comrade Artemio captured". BBC News. February 13, 2012.
90. Christopher Looft (March 5, 2012). "Peru Arrests 'Successor' to Captured Shining Path Leader". Retrieved March 6, 2012.[dead link]
91. "Peruvian police capture 'Shining Path boss' Walter Diaz". BBC News. March 4, 2012.
92. Andean Air Mail & Peruvian Times (April 5, 2012). "Peru Captures Shining Path Leader In Upper Huallaga". Peruvian Times. Retrieved April 5, 2012.
93. [1] Archived April 12, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
94. "Shining Path 'defeated' in Alto Huallaga stronghold". BBC News. April 6, 2012. Retrieved June 4, 2012.
95. "Peru rebels burn helicopters at jungle airfield". BBC News. BBC. October 7, 2012. Retrieved October 9, 2012.
96. "Rebels Burn 3 Helicopters in Peru". ABC News. Archived from the original on October 7, 2012.
97. "Peru's Shining Path leader jailed for life for terrorism." BBC News. June 7, 2013. Retrieved August 11, 2013.
98. "Alejandro Borda Casafranca, 2 other Senderistas killed in Peru". United Press International. August 13, 2013. Retrieved April 26, 2014.
99. "Death toll climbs to 10 in Peru guerrilla attack on election eve" Tico Times. April 11, 2016. Retrieved June 23, 2016.
100. Goi, Leonardo. "Recent Attack on Peru Police Shows Shining Path Still Strong". Retrieved July 1, 2017.
101. de Lama, George (July 9, 1989). "'More War Will Bring Peace,' Say Peru's Maoists After 15,000 Die". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
102. Moufawad-Paul, J. (2016). Contitunity and Rupture. Zero Books.


• Comisión de la Verdad y Reconciliación (2003). Informe Final. Lima: CVR. (in Spanish)
• Courtois, Stephane (1999). The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression. Harvard University Press.
• Degregori, Carlos Iván (1998). "Harvesting Storms: Peasant Rondas and the Defeat of Sendero Luminoso in Ayacucho". In Steve Stern (Ed.), Shining and Other Paths: War and Society in Peru, 1980–1995. Durham and London: Duke University Press. ISBN 0-8223-2217-X. ISBN 978-0-8223-2217-7.
• Gorriti, Gustavo (1999). The Shining Path: A History of the Millenarian War in Peru. Trans. Robin Kirk. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 0-8078-4676-7
• Isbell, Billie Jean (1994). "Shining Path and Peasant Responses in Rural Ayacucho". In Shining Path of Peru, ed. David Scott Palmer. 2nd Edition. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-10619-X
• Rochlin, James F (2003). Vanguard Revolutionaries in Latin America: Peru, Colombia, Mexico. Boulder and London: Lynne Rienner Publishers: ISBN 1-58826-106-9.
• Laqueur, W. (1999). The new terrorism: Fanaticism and the arms of mass destruction. New York: Oxford University Press.
• Sadri, Mahmoud. Lecture, Texas Woman's University, May 17, 2017.
• Crenshaw, Martha, "Theories of Terrorism: Instrumental and Organizational Approaches" in: Inside Terrorist Organizations, (ed. David Rapoport), 2001. Franck Cass, London
• Rochlin, J. F. (2003). Vanguard revolutionaries in Latin America: Peru, Colombia, Mexico. Boulder, Colo: Lynne Rienner Publishers.
• Isbell, J (1994). Shining Path and Peasant Responses in Rural Ayacucho en Shining Path of Per (1er, ed.) New York.
• Comisión de la verdad y reconciliación (2003). La verdad después del silencio (Informe final tomo 6). Lima. Perú
• Laqueur, W. (1999). The new terrorism: Fanaticism and the arms of mass destruction. New York: Oxford University Press.
• Sadri, Mahmoud. Lecture, Texas Woman's University, May 17, 2017.
• Crenshaw, Martha, "Theories of Terrorism: Instrumental and Organizational Approaches" in: Inside Terrorist Organizations, (ed. David Rapoport), 2001. Franck Cass, London
• Rochlin, J. F. (2003). Vanguard revolutionaries in Latin America: Peru, Colombia, Mexico. Boulder, Colo: Lynne Rienner Publishers.
• Isbell, J (1994). Shining Path and Peasant Responses in Rural Ayacucho en Shining Path of Per (1er, ed.) New York.
• Comisión de la verdad y reconciliación (2003). La verdad después del silencio (Informe final tomo 6). Lima. Perú
• Martín-Baró, I. (1988) El Salvador 1987. Estudios Centroamericanos (ECA), No. 471-472, pp. 21–45


• The Vision of Elena Silves: A Novel by Nicholas Shakespeare
• The Dancer Upstairs: A Novel by Nicholas Shakespeare, ISBN 0-385-72107-2.
• The Dancer Upstairs movie listing from the Internet Movie Database
• Detective First Grade, by Dan Mahoney, ISBN 978-0-312-95313-3.
• Edge of the City, by Dan Mahoney, ISBN 978-0-312-95788-9.
• Strange Tunnels Disappearing by Gary Ley, ISBN 1-85411-302-X.
• The Evening News, by Arthur Hailey, ISBN 0-385-50424-1.
• Death in the Andes, by Mario Vargas Llosa, ISBN 0-14-026215-6.
• "The Road Back Home" (El camino de regreso) by José de Piérola, ISBN 978-9972-09-002-8
• "A Kiss from Hell" (Un beso del infierno) by José de Piérola, ISBN 978-9972-09-318-0
• Paper Dove (Paloma de Papel) movie listing from the Internet Movie Database
• La Trinchera Luminosa del Presidente Gonzalo
• "War Cries", a first-season episode of JAG.
• Corner of the Dead by Lynn Lurie, University of Massachusetts Press (winner of the Juniper Prize for Fiction)
• Escape from L.A. a movie starring Kurt Russell
• "Red April": a novel by Santiago Roncagliolo
• The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures, a play by Tony Kushner

External links

• The People's War in Perú Archive – Information about the Communist Party of Perú (PCP) 'Shining Path' Official Site until 1998
• Article by Caretas comparing Tarata to the 9/11 attack by Al Qaeda
• Article in PDF about the Tarata Car Bomb by the Shining Path
• New 'Shining Path' threat in Peru, on the April 2004 interview with Artemio
• (in Spanish) Shining Path communiqués on the web site of the "Partido Comunista de España [Maoista]"
• (in Spanish) Report of the (CVR) Truth and Reconciliation Commission (PDF)
• (in Spanish) Report of the (CVR) Truth and Reconciliation Commission (HTML)
• Terrorism Research Center list of Terrorist Organizations.
• The assassination of Maria Elena Moyano
• Peru: The killings of Lucanamarca BBC, October 14, 2006
• Committee to Support the Revolution in Peru
• Peru and the Capture of Abimael Guzman, Congressional Record, (Senate—October 2, 1992)
• The Search for Truth: The Declassified Record on Human Rights Abuses in Peru. Edited by Tamara Feinstein, Director, Peru Documentation Project
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Sat Sep 07, 2019 7:11 am

The Clear Bright Path: The Prophetic Path To Presence
by Muhammad Noor
August 25, 2014



In their efforts, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and Eva Wong strive to bring these traditions together to shape a bright and clear path for spiritual development as warriors in the modern day world….

The way a Shambhala centre is structured, according to the principles of Outer - Inner - Secret plus the connecting Bright and Clear Path, as well as the protection will strongly influence the practitioners and their efforts on the path…..

A strong Outer - Inner - Secret zoning, and an inviting connecting Bright and Clear Path will help practitioners along, inspire them and make them full part of the sangha….

A state of constant preparedness means that all aspects of Outer - Inner - Secret plus the connecting Bright and Clear Path, as well as the protection and hierarchy are in place and function well…..

a Shambhala centre is the physical manifestation of our spiritual path and should therefore be structured according to the principles of Outer - Inner - Secret connected by the Bright and Clear Path…..

Kanyu, Fengshui and Court Energetics, PART II: ON THE ENERGETICS OF SHAMBHALA CENTRES, Based on the teachings of Eva Wong, Editor: Peter C. van der Molen

Muhammad Noor is a flawed Prophetic follower, husband, daddy, Chicago Cub fan, Financial Consultant, and reluctant faith leader in DC. He studied the basic Islamic Sciences under Shaykh Khalil Al-Majdalawi. Noor currently is a board member of many faith-based initiatives and is committed to the belief that we can each be a continuation of Prophetic action in the world.

Narrated Abu Darda (may Allah be pleased with him):

“The Messenger of Allah ﷺ came out to us when we were speaking of poverty and how we feared it. He said: 'Is it poverty that you fear? By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, (the delights and luxuries of) this world will come to you in plenty, and nothing will cause the heart of anyone of you to deviate except that. By Allah, I am leaving you upon something akin to a clear bright path (Bayda') the night and day of which are the same.'” Abu Darda said: “He spoke the truth, by Allah. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ did indeed leave us upon something akin to a clear bright path (Bayda') in which the days and nights of which were the same.” (Graded Hasan, Sunan Ibn Majah Chapter no: 1; Number 5, The Book of the Sunnah)

'Is it poverty that you fear?’

Allah states,

"The devil shows you fear of poverty and enjoins evil upon you" (2:268)

Commenting on this verse The Prophet ﷺ said: "There are two impulses in the soul, one from an angel which calls towards good and confirms truth; whoever finds this let him know it is from God and praise Him. Another impulse comes from the enemy which leads to doubt and denies truth and forbids good; whoever finds this, let him seek refuge in God from the accursed devil." Then he recited the above verse (Tirmidhi & Nisa’i).

The consequence of our fears is a more fragile mind and spiritual state, wrecked with the havoc of worries on the next paycheck, the next promotion, and the next step in our “progress”. The motivating impulse is often a deep seated fear, particularly when one has the concern of those who depend on them. What then is fear? Imam Al Ghazali relates in his famous Revival of the Sacred Sciences, “Fear is an expression for the suffering of the heart”. Fear is a by-product of indecision and doubt. In fact many of us are unaware that the products we buy, the politicians we vote for, and the propaganda we buy into employ a manipulative marketing strategy known as Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD). In his post-World War classic, Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill asserts that, “Fears are nothing more than states of the mind”. Hill warns the reader on the difficulty of detecting and eliminating fear, and then goes on to categorize six basic fears. Death, old age, and loss of a loved one top the list as existential concerns. He then lists ill health, criticism, and finally poverty. Conversely however, it is poverty that tops his list as the most immediate concern. This is a telling confirmation of the above stated Prophetic observation.

‘By the One in Whose Hand is my soul, (the delights and luxuries of) this world will come to you in plenty’

We find that most of us expend our time, effort, and focus on what has already been apportioned to us. As Ibn Ata Allah al-Iskandari observed in his Book of Wisdom, “You’re striving for what has already been guaranteed to you, and your remissness in what is demanded of you, are signs of the blurring of your intellect (baseera)”. Our preoccupation with the temporal world (dunya), at the cost that we falter in our religious practice, only “blurs “our ability to see the greater reality. The early generations used to say love of this world and love of the next world are like two sides of a scale; if one is heavier than one has to be lighter. A Hadith states, “if a believer runs after the world (dunya) the world keeps going away, and when the believer turns away from the world the world runs after him or her." Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah elaborated with a metaphor: “This world is like a shadow. If you try to catch it, you will never be able to do so. If you turn your back towards it, it has no choice but to follow you”. This inherent tension should not provide cover for waning in our individual, filial, or civic responsibilities. Instead as Ibn Ata Allah stated, “Rest yourself from self-direction (tadbeer), for what someone else (ghayruka) has carried out on your behalf, do not you yourself undertake to do it.”1 God is in control, and your provision has been written. Fatalistic as it may seem, the true import is that liberation from constructs that hinder our growth allows each of us to strive unfettered towards the Divine and our true selves.

‘Nothing will cause the heart of anyone of you to deviate except that’

Ibn Ashir in his “Guiding Helper” states, “Know well that the origin of [all of] these ills is love of leadership and procrastination. The fountainhead of all misdeeds is love of the fleeting world, which has no cure but to be compelled to flee to Him”.

“O soul at peace, flee to your Lord, well pleased & well-pleasing. Enter with My servants, enter into My Garden.” (89: 27-30)

“Fleeing” as it was is an action and movement. Prophetic guidance dictates, “All Actions are by their intentions”. This is a harbinger of our ability to change and alter our course. In part one of this series, “Are You Reaching Your Full Potential?”, we discussed the imperative to examine our filters and relationships, and how to learn from your experiences. Experience is borne out of past decisions and their ramifications. At the root of our decisions that propel us to action, or stagnate in our procrastination, is the purity of our intention. When we are spiritually mature are intentions become habitually pure.

'By Allah, I am leaving you upon something akin to a Clear Bright Path (Bayda') the night and day of which are the same.'

From the Prophetic guidance we not only glean an estimate of actions, but of stations. Regardless of the alterations of daylight, or our circumstances, our spirituality remains at peace. The states of the heart strive to achieve equilibrium, with little variance, in contrast to the shifting sands of life. ‘The Clear Bright Path’ hence would be a spiritual reality borne out of reflecting upon the obligation of the moment and its duty, and to then firmly resolve to fulfill it. So the spiritual traveler is, “the son of his moment” (As-Sufi Ibn ul Waqt). If he loses it, he loses all of its benefits. For all benefits arise from the moment, if you lose it you will never again be able to go back in time. Al-Shafi’i, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “I accompanied the Sufis and did not benefit from them other than for two words, One was there saying, “Time is like a sword, if you do not cut it, it will cut you.” He mentions the other saying as being: “Your soul, if it is not kept busy with the Truth, it will busy you with falsehood”.2

This could be the best moment of your life— spiritually, in your relationships, or at work if you model your conduct (Adab) after those who succeeded (As-Saliheen) in those aspects. You have to take control of your state (Hal). It will take striving (Riyadah) to control your state. We are controlled by our rituals, not just our performance of the daily prayers. Think of your morning or workout routines for example. Those routines bear fruit. From observation, it becomes obvious that some of us work out, and some of us do not. Your life is developed by rituals (life, body, and spirit). If you do the right thing in the wrong time its results will be pain. There is a narration that states that, “Half of intellect is knowing your surroundings”; this then allows us to take proper action. Adab is doing the right thing, in the right time, in the right way, with the right intention. Know your time, your season and realize that your state will change with new rituals. We spoke about the need and benefits of creating an action plan in our previous post.

Is there a better time to worship?

Ibn Rajab Al Hanbali states in his short hadith commentary entitled al-Maḥajjah fī sayr al-duljah : sharḥ ḥadīth "lan yunajjīya aḥad min-kum ʻamaluh"

Bukhari records on the authority of Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet ﷺ said, '

“Your actions alone will not save any of you.”

They asked, 'Messenger of Allah, not even you?', He replied, 'Not even me, unless, Allah were to envelop me in His mercy. Be firm; steadfast and balanced; and journey [to Allah] in the beginning of the day, the end of the day, and a portion of the latter part of the night. Moderation, moderation! Through this you will attain your goal!"

He also recorded this hadith in another place with the wording, 'This religion is easy, none makes it hard upon himself except that it overwhelms him; therefore be firm, steadfast, and balanced; upon which have glad tidings! Seek help in this by journeying [to Allah] at the beginning of the day, at the end of the day, and a portion of the latter part of night.'

These times are optimal, and include our long morning and evening commutes to the office filled with the blaring of the radio and traffic reports. I guarantee that most if not all the Prophetic remembrances (adkhar) can be read on our way to/from work, or running errands. Most of us do not have the luxury of waiting for a time when we can do our meditations in an environment of our making (lit candles, the wafting smoke of incense, and the serene silence of our thoughts). We have to be realistic with our scenario and implement practices within the world we live in, and not one we only imagine.

If at times you find yourself struggling to focus while saying the dhikr, try this tip from Sports Psychology prior to undertaking your new rituals and remembrances (adhkar): Ask yourself, “If you wanted to be proud (not vain pride), what would you be proud of? Your profession? Education?, your children, your spouse, a moment of courage, taking a risk?. How do you breathe when you let yourself be proud? How do you feel? What are you focusing on that makes you be filled with gratitude? What could you get excited about? The point: Focus is controlled by questions, and if you instill this ritual of Muraqabah and Muhasabah (asking deep questions) you will reap the benefits of Dhikr more readily.

“Those who believe and whose hearts find tranquility in the remembrance of Allah, verily in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find tranquility.” (13: 28)

Tranquility is the immediate benefit of following the “Clear Bright Path” of the Sage and Prophet, Muhammad Al Mustafa (ﷺ. His instructions and spiritual states allow each of us the ability to find balance and solace in the remembrance of Allah.



1.The Book of Wisdoms by Imam Taj ad-Din Abul Fadl Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Karim ibn 'Ata'illah al-Judhami al-Maliki al-Iskandari (d. 709/1309).

2. Ibn Al-Qayyim Al Da’ Wa’l-Dawa (p.239) trans from Abu Aaliyah Surkheel Sharif’s “The Exquistite Pearl” The Jawziyyah Press.
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Wed Oct 02, 2019 5:54 am

Divine Right of Kings
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 10/2/19

The theory of divine right was developed by James VI of Scotland (1567–1625), and came to the fore in England under his reign as James I of England (1603–1625). Portrait attributed to John de Critz, c. 1605

Augustus as Jove, holding scepter and orb (first half of 1st century AD).[1] The Imperial cult of ancient Rome identified Roman emperors and some members of their families with the divinely sanctioned authority (auctoritas) of the Roman State. The official offer of cultus to a living emperor acknowledged his office and rule as divinely approved and constitutional: his Principate should therefore demonstrate pious respect for traditional Republican deities and mores. Many of the rites, practices and status distinctions that characterized the cult to emperors were perpetuated in the theology and politics of the Christianized Empire.[2]

The divine right of kings, divine right, or God's mandate is a political and religious doctrine of royal and political legitimacy. It asserts that a monarch is subject to no earthly authority, deriving the right to rule directly from the will of God. The king is thus not subject to the will of his people, the aristocracy, or any other estate of the realm. It implies that only God can judge an unjust king and that any attempt to depose, dethrone or restrict his powers runs contrary to the will of God and may constitute a sacrilegious act. It is often expressed in the phrase "by the Grace of God", attached to the titles of a reigning monarch.


Outside of Christianity, kings were often seen as either ruling with the backing of heavenly powers or perhaps even being divine beings themselves. However, the Christian notion of a divine right of kings is traced to a story found in 1 Samuel, where the prophet Samuel anoints Saul and then David as mashiach or king over Israel. The anointing is to such an effect that the monarch became inviolable, so that even when Saul sought to kill David, David would not raise his hand against him because "he was the Lord's anointed".

Adomnan of Iona is one of the earliest Christian proponents of this concept of kings ruling with divine right. He wrote of the Irish King Diarmait mac Cerbaill's assassination and claimed that divine punishment fell on his assassin for the act of violating the monarch. Adomnan also recorded a story about Saint Columba supposedly being visited by an angel carrying a glass book, who told him to ordain Aedan mac Gabrain as King of Dal Riata. Columba initially refused, and the angel answered by whipping him and demanding that he perform the ordination because God had commanded it. The same angel visited Columba on three successive nights. Columba finally agreed, and Aedan came to receive ordination. At the ordination Columba told Aedan that so long as he obeyed God's laws, then none of his enemies would prevail against him, but the moment he broke them, this protection would end, and the same whip with which Columba had been struck would be turned against the king. Adomnan's writings most likely influenced other Irish writers, who in turn influenced continental ideas as well. Pepin the Short's coronation may have also come from the same influence.[3] The Carolingian dynasty and the Holy Roman Emperors also influenced all subsequent western ideas of kingship.

In the Middle Ages, the idea that God had granted earthly power to the monarch, just as he had given spiritual authority and power to the church, especially to the Pope, was already a well-known concept long before later writers coined the term "divine right of kings" and employed it as a theory in political science. For example, Richard I of England declared at his trial during the diet at Speyer in 1193: "I am born in a rank which recognizes no superior but God, to whom alone I am responsible for my actions", and it was Richard who first used the motto "Dieu et mon droit" ("God and my right") which is still the motto of the Monarch of the United Kingdom.

With the rise of nation-states and the Protestant Reformation in the late 16th century, the theory of divine right justified the king's absolute authority in both political and spiritual matters. Henry VIII of England declared himself the Supreme Head of the Church of England, and exerted the power of the throne more than any of his predecessors. As a political theory, it was further developed by James VI of Scotland (1567–1625), and came to the force in England under his reign as James I of England (1603–1625). Louis XIV of France (1643–1715) strongly promoted the theory as well.

Scots texts of James VI of Scotland

The Scots textbooks of the divine right of kings were written in 1597–1598 by James VI of Scotland despite Scotland never having believed in the theory and where the monarch was regarded as the "first among equals" on a par with his people. His Basilikon Doron, a manual on the powers of a king, was written to edify his four-year-old son Henry Frederick that a king "acknowledgeth himself ordained for his people, having received from the God a burden of government, whereof he must be countable". He based his theories in part on his understanding of the Bible, as noted by the following quote from a speech to parliament delivered in 1610 as James I of England:

The state of monarchy is the supremest thing upon earth, for kings are not only God's lieutenants upon earth and sit upon God's throne, but even by God himself they are called gods. There be three principal [comparisons] that illustrate the state of monarchy: one taken out of the word of God, and the two other out of the grounds of policy and philosophy. In the Scriptures kings are called gods, and so their power after a certain relation compared to the Divine power. Kings are also compared to fathers of families; for a king is truly parens patriae [parent of the country], the politic father of his people. And lastly, kings are compared to the head of this microcosm of the body of man.[4]

James's reference to "God's lieutenants" is apparently a reference to the text in Romans 13 where Paul refers to "God's ministers".

(1) Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. (2) Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. (3) For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: (4) For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. (5) Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. (6) For this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. (7) Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.[5]

Western conceptions

Main articles: Sacred king and Theocracy

Louis XIV of France depicted as the Sun King.

The conception of ordination brought with it largely unspoken parallels with the Anglican and Catholic priesthood, but the overriding metaphor in James's handbook was that of a father's relation to his children. "Just as no misconduct on the part of a father can free his children from obedience to the fifth commandment",[6] James also had printed his Defense of the Right of Kings in the face of English theories of inalienable popular and clerical rights. The divine right of kings, or divine-right theory of kingship, is a political and religious doctrine of royal and political legitimacy. It asserts that a monarch is subject to no earthly authority, deriving his right to rule directly from the will of God. The king is thus not subject to the will of his people, the aristocracy, or any other estate of the realm, including (in the view of some, especially in Protestant countries) the church. A weaker or more moderate form of this political theory does hold, however, that the king is subject to the church and the pope, although completely irreproachable in other ways; but according to this doctrine in its strong form, only God can judge an unjust king. The doctrine implies that any attempt to depose the king or to restrict his powers runs contrary to the will of God and may constitute a sacrilegious act.

One passage in scripture supporting the idea of divine right of kings was used by Martin Luther, when urging the secular authorities to crush the Peasant Rebellion of 1525 in Germany in his Against the Murderous, Thieving Hordes of Peasants, basing his argument on St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans 13:1–7.

It is related to the ancient Catholic philosophies regarding monarchy, in which the monarch is God's vicegerent upon the earth and therefore subject to no inferior power. However, in Roman Catholic jurisprudence, the monarch is always subject to natural and divine law, which are regarded as superior to the monarch. The possibility of monarchy declining morally, overturning natural law, and degenerating into a tyranny oppressive of the general welfare was answered theologically with the Catholic concept of extra-legal tyrannicide, ideally ratified by the pope. Until the unification of Italy, the Holy See did, from the time Christianity became the Roman state religion, assert on that ground its primacy over secular princes; however this exercise of power never, even at its zenith, amounted to theocracy, even in jurisdictions where the Bishop of Rome was the temporal authority.

Antichristus,[7] a woodcut by Lucas Cranach the Elder, of the pope using the temporal power to grant authority to a ruler contributing generously to the Catholic Church

Catholic justified permission

Catholic thought justified submission to the monarchy by reference to the following:

1. The Old Testament, in which God chose kings to rule over Israel, beginning with Saul who was then rejected by God in favor of David, whose dynasty continued (at least in the southern kingdom) until the Babylonian captivity.

2. The New Testament, in which the first pope, St. Peter, commands that all Christians shall honour the Roman Emperor (1 Peter 2:13–20), even though, at that time, he was still a pagan emperor. St. Paul agreed with St. Peter that subjects should be obedient to the powers that be because they are appointed by God, as he wrote in his Epistle to the Romans 13:1–7. Likewise, Jesus Christ proclaims in the Gospel of Matthew that one should "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's"; that is at first, literally, the payment of taxes as binding those who use the imperial currency (See Matthew 22:15–22). Jesus told Pontius Pilate that his authority as Roman governor of Judaea came from heaven according to John 19:10–11.

3. The endorsement by the popes and the church of the line of emperors beginning with the Emperors Constantine and Theodosius, later the Eastern Roman emperors, and finally the Western Roman emperor, Charlemagne and his successors, the Catholic Holy Roman Emperors.

The French Huguenot nobles and clergy, having rejected the pope and the Catholic Church, were left only with the supreme power of the king who, they taught, could not be gainsaid or judged by anyone. Since there was no longer the countervailing power of the papacy and since the Church of England was a creature of the state and had become subservient to it, this meant that there was nothing to regulate the powers of the king, and he became an absolute power. In theory, divine, natural, customary, and constitutional law still held sway over the king, but, absent a superior spiritual power, it was difficult to see how they could be enforced, since the king could not be tried by any of his own courts.

Some of the symbolism within the coronation ceremony for British monarchs, in which they are anointed with holy oils by the Archbishop of Canterbury, thereby ordaining them to monarchy, perpetuates the ancient Roman Catholic monarchical ideas and ceremonial (although few Protestants realize this, the ceremony is nearly entirely based upon that of the Coronation of the Holy Roman Emperor).[citation needed] However, in the UK, the symbolism ends there, since the real governing authority of the monarch was all but extinguished by the Whig revolution of 1688–89 (see Glorious Revolution). The king or queen of the United Kingdom is one of the last monarchs still to be crowned in the traditional Christian ceremonial, which in most other countries has been replaced by an inauguration or other declaration.[citation needed]

Charles I of England, with a divine hand moving his crown

The concept of divine right incorporates, but exaggerates, the ancient Christian concept of "royal God-given rights", which teach that "the right to rule is anointed by God", although this idea is found in many other cultures, including Aryan and Egyptian traditions. In pagan religions, the king was often seen as a kind of god and so was an unchallengeable despot. The ancient Roman Catholic tradition overcame this idea with the doctrine of the "Two Swords" and so achieved, for the very first time, a balanced constitution for states. The advent of Protestantism saw something of a return to the idea of a mere unchallengeable despot.

Thomas Aquinas condoned extra-legal tyrannicide in the worst of circumstances:

When there is no recourse to a superior by whom judgment can be made about an invader, then he who slays a tyrant to liberate his fatherland is [to be] praised and receives a reward.

— Commentary on the Magister Sententiarum[8]

On the other hand, Aquinas forbade the overthrow of any morally, Christianly and spiritually legitimate king by his subjects. The only human power capable of deposing the king was the pope. The reasoning was that if a subject may overthrow his superior for some bad law, who was to be the judge of whether the law was bad? If the subject could so judge his own superior, then all lawful superior authority could lawfully be overthrown by the arbitrary judgement of an inferior, and thus all law was under constant threat. Towards the end of the Middle Ages, many philosophers, such as Nicholas of Cusa and Francisco Suarez, propounded similar theories. The Church was the final guarantor that Christian kings would follow the laws and constitutional traditions of their ancestors and the laws of God and of justice. Similarly, the Chinese concept of Mandate of Heaven required that the emperor properly carry out the proper rituals and consult his ministers; however, this concept made it extremely difficult to undo any acts carried out by an ancestor.

The French prelate Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet made a classic statement of the doctrine of divine right in a sermon preached before King Louis XIV:[9]

Les rois règnent par moi, dit la Sagesse éternelle: 'Per me reges regnant'; et de là nous devons conclure non seulement que les droits de la royauté sont établis par ses lois, mais que le choix des personnes est un effet de sa providence.

Kings reign by Me, says Eternal Wisdom: 'Per me reges regnant' [in Latin]; and from that we must conclude not only that the rights of royalty are established by its laws, but also that the choice of persons [to occupy the throne] is an effect of its providence.


Main article: Khvarenah

Ahura Mazda gives divine kingship to Ardashir.

Khvarenah (Avestan: 'xᵛarənah;' Persian: far) is a Zoroastrian concept, which literally means glory, about divine right of the kings. In Zoroastrian view, kings would never rule, unless Khvarenah is with them, and they will never fall unless Khvarenah leaves them. For example, according to the Kar-namag of Ardashir, when Ardashir I of Persia and Artabanus V of Parthia fought for the throne of Iran, on the road Artabanus and his contingent are overtaken by an enormous ram, which is also following Ardashir. Artabanus's religious advisors explain to him that the ram is the manifestation of the khwarrah of the ancient Iranian kings, which is leaving Artabanus to join Ardashir.[10]

Divine right and Protestantism

Before the Reformation the anointed king was, within his realm, the accredited vicar of God for secular purposes (see the Investiture Controversy); after the Reformation he (or she if queen regnant) became this in Protestant states for religious purposes also.[11]

In England it is not without significance that the sacerdotal vestments, generally discarded by the clergy – dalmatic, alb and stole – continued to be among the insignia of the sovereign (see Coronation of the British monarch). Moreover, this sacrosanct character he acquired not by virtue of his "sacring", but by hereditary right; the coronation, anointing and vesting were but the outward and visible symbol of a divine grace adherent in the sovereign by virtue of his title. Even Roman Catholic monarchs, like Louis XIV, would never have admitted that their coronation by the archbishop constituted any part of their title to reign; it was no more than the consecration of their title.[12]

In England the doctrine of the divine right of kings was developed to its most extreme logical conclusions during the political controversies of the 17th century; its most famous exponent was Sir Robert Filmer. It was the main issue to be decided by the English Civil War, the Royalists holding that "all Christian kings, princes and governors" derive their authority direct from God, the Parliamentarians that this authority is the outcome of a contract, actual or implied, between sovereign and people.[12]

In one case the king's power would be unlimited, according to Louis XIV's famous saying: "L' état, c'est moi!",[12] or limited only by his own free act; in the other his actions would be governed by the advice and consent of the people, to whom he would be ultimately responsible. The victory of this latter principle was proclaimed to all the world by the execution of Charles I. The doctrine of divine right, indeed, for a while drew nourishment from the blood of the royal "martyr";[12] it was the guiding principle of the Anglican Church of the Restoration; but it suffered a rude blow when James II of England made it impossible for the clergy to obey both their conscience and their king. The Glorious Revolution of 1688 made an end of it as a great political force. This has led to the constitutional development of the Crown in Britain, as held by descent modified and modifiable by parliamentary action.[12]

Divine right in Asia

In early Mesopotamian culture, kings were often regarded as deities after their death. Shulgi of Ur was among the first Mesopotamian rulers to declare himself to be divine. This was the direct precursor to the concept of "Divine Right of kings", as well as in the Egyptian and Roman religions.

Mandate of Heaven

Main articles: Mandate of Heaven and Son of Heaven

The Emperor of Japan rules as a divine descendant of the sun goddess Amaterasu

In China and East Asia, rulers justified their rule with the philosophy of the Mandate of Heaven, which, although similar to the European concept, bore several key differences. While the divine right of kings granted unconditional legitimacy, the Mandate of Heaven was dependent on the behaviour of the ruler, the Son of Heaven. Heaven would bless the authority of a just ruler, but it could be displeased with a despotic ruler and thus withdraw its mandate, transferring it to a more suitable and righteous person. This withdrawal of mandate also afforded the possibility of revolution as a means to remove the errant ruler; revolt was never legitimate under the European framework of divine right.

In China, the right of rebellion against an unjust ruler had been a part of the political philosophy ever since the Zhou dynasty, whose rulers had used this philosophy to justify their overthrow of the previous Shang dynasty. Chinese historians interpreted a successful revolt as evidence that the Mandate of Heaven had passed on to the usurper.

In Japan, the Son of Heaven title was less conditional than its Chinese equivalent. There was no divine mandate that punished the emperor for failing to rule justly. The right to rule of the Japanese emperor, descended from the sun goddess Amaterasu, was absolute.[13] The Japanese emperors traditionally wielded little secular power; generally, it was the duty of the sitting emperor to perform rituals and make public appearances, while true power was held by regents, high-ranking ministers, a commander-in-chief of the emperor's military known as the shōgun, or even retired emperors depending on the time period.

Sultans in Southeast Asia

In the Malay Annals, the rajas and sultans of the Malay States (today Malaysia, Brunei and Philippines) as well as their predecessors, such as the Indonesian kingdom of Majapahit, also claimed divine right to rule. The sultan is mandated by God and thus is expected to lead his country and people in religious matters, ceremonies as well as prayers. This divine right is called Daulat (which means 'state' in Arabic), and although the notion of divine right is somewhat obsolete, it is still found in the phrase Daulat Tuanku that is used to publicly acclaim the reigning Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the other sultans of Malaysia. The exclamation is similar to the European "Long live the King", and often accompanies pictures of the reigning monarch and his consort on banners during royal occasions. In Indonesia, especially on the island of Java, the sultan's divine right is more commonly known as the way, or 'revelation', but it is not hereditary and can be passed on to distant relatives.

South Asian kings

In Dravidian culture, before Brahmanism and especially during the Sangam period, emperors were known as இறையர் (Iraiyer), or "those who spill", and kings were called கோ (Ko) or கோன் (Kon). During this time, the distinction between kingship and godhood had not yet occurred, as the caste system had not yet been introduced. Even in Modern Tamil, the word for temple is 'கோயில்', meaning "king's house".[14] Kings were understood to be the "agents of God", as they protected the world like God did.[15] This may well have been continued post-Brahminism in Tamilakam, as the famous Thiruvalangadu inscription states:

"Having noticed by the marks (on his body) that Arulmozhi was the very Vishnu" in reference to the Emperor Raja Raja Chola I.


Historically, many notions of rights were authoritarian and hierarchical, with different people granted different rights, and some having more rights than others. For instance, the right of a father to respect from his son did not indicate a right for the son to receive a return from that respect; and the divine right of kings, which permitted absolute power over subjects, did not leave a lot of room for many rights for the subjects themselves.[16]

In contrast, modern conceptions of rights often emphasize liberty and equality as among the most important aspects of rights, for example in the American Revolution and the French Revolution.


Further information: All men are created equal

In the sixteenth century, both Catholic and Protestant political thinkers began to question the idea of a monarch's "divine right".

The Spanish Catholic historian Juan de Mariana put forward the argument in his book De rege et regis institutione (1598) that since society was formed by a "pact" among all its members, "there can be no doubt that they are able to call a king to account".[17][18] Mariana thus challenged divine right theories by stating in certain circumstances, tyrannicide could be justified. Cardinal Robert Bellarmine also "did not believe that the institute of monarchy had any divine sanction" and shared Mariana's belief that there were times where Catholics could lawfully remove a monarch.[18]

Among groups of English Protestant exiles fleeing from Queen Mary I, some of the earliest anti-monarchist publications emerged. "Weaned off uncritical royalism by the actions of Queen Mary ... The political thinking of men like Ponet, Knox, Goodman and Hales."[19]

In 1553, Mary I, a Roman Catholic, succeeded her Protestant half-brother, Edward VI, to the English throne. Mary set about trying to restore Roman Catholicism by making sure that: Edward's religious laws were abolished in the Statute of Repeal Act (1553); the Protestant religious laws passed in the time of Henry VIII were repealed; and the Revival of the Heresy Acts were passed in 1554. The Marian Persecutions began soon afterwards. In January 1555, the first of nearly 300 Protestants were burnt at the stake under "Bloody Mary". When Thomas Wyatt the Younger instigated what became known as Wyatt's rebellion, John Ponet, the highest-ranking ecclesiastic among the exiles,[20] allegedly participated in the uprising.[21] He escaped to Strasbourg after the Rebellion's defeat and, the following year, he published A Shorte Treatise of Politike Power, in which he put forward a theory of justified opposition to secular rulers.

"Ponet's treatise comes first in a new wave of anti-monarchical writings ... It has never been assessed at its true importance, for it antedates by several years those more brilliantly expressed but less radical Huguenot writings which have usually been taken to represent the Tyrannicide-theories of the Reformation."[20]

Ponet's pamphlet was republished on the eve of King Charles I's execution.

According to U.S. President John Adams, Ponet's work contained "all the essential principles of liberty, which were afterward dilated on by Sidney and Locke", including the idea of a three-branched government.[22]

In due course, opposition to the divine right of kings came from a number of sources, including poet John Milton in his pamphlet The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates, and Thomas Paine in his pamphlet Common Sense. Probably the two most famous declarations of a right to revolution against tyranny in the English language are John Locke's Essay concerning The True Original, Extent, and End of Civil-Government and Thomas Jefferson's formulation in the United States Declaration of Independence that "all men are created equal".

See also

• Absolute monarchy
• Ancien Régime
• Arahitogami
• Caliphate
• Church and state in medieval Europe
• Concordat of Worms
• Constitutions of Melfi
• Cuius regio, eius religio
• Exclusive right
• First Council of the Lateran
• Legitimacy (political)
• Prerogative
• Robert Bellarmine
• Robert Filmer
• Royal touch
• Sovereignty
• The True Law of Free Monarchies
• Vindiciae contra tyrannos


1. The imperial cult in Roman Britain-Google docs
2. Allen Brent, The Imperial Cult and the Development of Church Order: Concepts and Images of Authority in Paganism and Early Christianity before the Age of Cyprian (Brill, 1999)
3. Adomnan of Iona. Life of St Columba. Penguin Books, 1995
4. A speech to parliament (1610).
5. Romans 13:1-7
6. that is, the commandment: "Honor your father ..." etc., which is the fifth in the reckoning usual among Jewish, Orthodox, and Protestant denominations, but to be according to the law, yet is he not bound thereto but of his good will ..."
7. Passional Christi und Antichristi Full view on Google Books
8. McDonald, Hugh. "Some Brief Remarks on what Thomas has to say on Rebellion and Regicide". Archived from the original on 2011-09-27. Retrieved 2011-07-30.
9. Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet. Sermons choisis de Bossuet. Sur le devoir des rois. p. 219, Image
10. Kar namag i Ardashir 4.11.16 and 4.11.22-23.
11. One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Phillip, Walter Alison (1911). "King § Divine Right of Kings". In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. 15 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 806.
12. Phillip 1911, p. 806.
13. Beasley, William (1999). "The Making of a Monarchy". The Japanese Experience: A Short History of Japan. University of California Press. p. 29. ISBN 978-0-520-22560-2.
14. Ramanujan, A.K. (2011). Poems of Love and War: From the Eight Anthologies and the Ten Long Poems of Classical Tamil. Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-15735-3.
15. N. Subramanian (1966). Śaṅgam polity: the administration and social life of the Śaṅgam Tamils. Asia Pub. House.
16. "Divine Right of Kings". BBC. 2007-10-11. Retrieved 2009-12-21. [...] the idea that a king was sacred, appointed by God and above the judgment of earthly powers [...] was called the Divine Right of Kings and it entered so powerfully into British culture during the 17th century that it shaped the pomp and circumstance of the Stuart monarchs, imbued the writing of Shakespeare and provoked the political thinking of Milton and Locke. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
17. Baer, Robert V. Power & Freedom: Political Thought and Constitutional Politics in the United States and Argentina ProQuest, 2008 ISBN 0549745106 (pp. 70–71)
18. Blumenau, Ralph. Philosophy and Living Imprint Academic, 2002 ISBN 0907845339 (pp. 198–199)
19. Dickens, A. G. (1978). The English Reformation. London & Glasgow: Fontana/Collins. p. 399.
20. Dickens, A. G. (1978). The English Reformation. London & Glasgow: Fontana/Collins. p. 391.
21. Dickens, A.G. (1978). The English Reformation. London & Glasgow: Fontana/Collins. p. 358.
22. Adams, C. F. (1850–56). The Works of John Adams, with Life. 6. Boston. p. 4.

Further reading

• Burgess, Glenn (October 1992). "The Divine Right of Kings Reconsidered". The English Historical Review. 107 (425): 837–861. doi:10.1093/ehr/cvii.ccccxxv.837.

External links

• The Divine Right of Kings on In Our Time at the BBC
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Natural Hierarchy

 A person does not need a philosophical background to believe in the existence of a natural hierarchy, wherein gods are superior to men and men to animals, or to observe that humans speak while animals do not. Moreover, humans are prone to mistaking what is normal for what is natural, a tendency that could easily lead to the use of nature as a normative standard for human behavior. The same tendency could also prompt a person to suppose that it is natural for animals to serve humans, and that they are naturally suited to doing so, since they normally fulfill that function. Neither view depends on any particular theory of nature or creation. The more sophisticated doctrines developed by the philosophers – and teleology should probably be counted among them – elaborate on and combine these habits of thought, and were probably made plausible by the conventional notions which gave rise to them. No other explanation, I think, could account for the readiness with which writers draw upon teleological ideas, and assume the understanding and acceptance of the audience. ....

I pointed out in a previous section that the Romans considered human society and social relationships to be part of nature. Thus, it would take only a short leap of logic to arrive at the conclusion that the human social order is or should be an extension of the natural order. By that reckoning, the natural hierarchy would be a paradigm for and justification of the social hierarchy. More than that, however, it would mean that the social hierarchy is part of the natural hierarchy, and that legal status distinctions do or should coincide with the natural distinctions of the scala naturae. To put it another way, legal status distinctions do or should coincide with distinctions in both purpose and type. If human society is teleological by nature, then the lower orders have been created for the purpose of serving the higher orders. Because they have been designed for this lower purpose, they possess a less perfect type. Therefore, the lower orders of humanity are innately inferior to the higher. According to this reasoning, social inequality is not merely formal, but reflects or should reflect the natural inequalities that exist between intrinsically different kinds of human. This view would provide a possible explanation for class specific man-animal comparisons. If some classes of people are less fully, perfectly human than others, then they are closer to animals. Moreover, if a certain class of human and a certain class of animal fulfill a similar purpose, than they should theoretically possess a similar nature....

It is easy to see how these ideas about human status could have interacted with ideas about animals and the scala naturae, to give rise to the notion that the scales of human and animal, social and natural status are one and the same. If the Romans were accustomed to think that there is a natural hierarchy of animals, ranked by their usefulness to human society, and if they traditionally recognized a hierarchy of humans, ranked by their usefulness to society, then the common measure of worth, usefulness, might well have prompted an analogy between the two hierarchies, or even an outright conflation of the two. The assumption that humans, like animals, are naturally supposed to serve society would have practically ensured such a conflation; to people who habitually assessed human worth in terms of utility, it would have suggested that utility is a natural standard of value for humans, as it is for animals. By this reasoning, the animal and human hierarchies are both natural, with the same natural criterion of value and standing. This view lends itself to the assumption that the two hierarchies actually comprise one, continuous scale of worth for animal and human, just as the scala naturae is one, continuous scale of inter-species worth.

Varro’s assimilation of slave and herd animal displays this pattern of thought. As I noted in the previous section, the idea of a natural hierarchy wherein all animals are subordinate to humans, and individual types are ranked by their usefulness to humans, is very much in evidence. Social status also plays a part in the text, in that Varro talks about slaves and “slave” is a human social status. Animals’ utility determines their worth to the human community, and so their standing, and the same is true for people. Varro defines servitude as an economic role, and this role or function dictates how he discusses and valuates slaves. Thus, Varro assesses man and animal by the same standard, which leads him to assign the same status to each. Because they fulfill a similar productive function, herd animals are a kind of slave, and slaves are a form of herd animal. This constitutes a conflation of natural and social status, since the social category “slave” is assimilated to the natural category “herd animal”, and the natural category “herd animal” is assimilated to the social category “slave”.

Varro also reveals one last assumption which may have contributed to the tendency to regard natural and social status as equivalent: herd animals are, in a limited way, members of the human community. I have observed that he treats domestic animals as natural slaves, as creatures destined by nature to serve man. That much we have seen elsewhere. However, he makes a point of recognizing their absolute necessity to man, as well. According to the Res Rustica, therefore, domestic animals are essential participants in the human community. They might even be considered partners, albeit unequal ones, since they engage in an exchange of vital services with their human masters. Only through cooperation between the two species can both survive. This circumstance might suggest that domestic animals are actually part of human society. If they are part of human society, then the natural category “herd animal” is a social category, too. Thus, the lowest member of the natural hierarchy, as a member of human society, is also the lowest member of the social hierarchy. Since “herd animal” is a social category, humans can belong to it, as well, if they meet the definitive criterion.Conversely, animals can belong to an ostensibly human social category, if they meet the definitive criterion. Because, as I have argued, the definitive criterion for both “herd animal” and “slave” is the same – to be useful in a certain manner – a legal slave is automatically a type of herd animal, and a herd animal a type of slave. In this way, man and animal occupy the same position in society, with the result that the status “herd animal” and the status “slave” can be used interchangeably to denote one natural social position.

The equation of slave with herd animal – and, more broadly, the equation of the social and natural hierarchies – is reflected in the language used to describe animal and human status. I have pointed out that the ancients regarded herd animals as slaves; accordingly, they were often associated with the vocabulary of subservience, the same vocabulary which was applied to servile humans. I have also discussed the long tradition of likening slaves to herd animals. Aristotle’s theory of natural slavery, as I showed in the previous chapter, makes use of both conventions. We have now seen that Varro, too, draws upon both tendencies in the Res Rustica. The fact that the Romans defined slave and herd animal in terms of each other, and classified one as a form of the other, shows that they did not differentiate between the natural and the social as we do. They could not conceptualize either state without reference to the other. As a result, the language used to talk about the natural status of animals, and that employed for human social standing, are hopelessly entangled. In chapter 1, I examined the most famous republican example of this phenomenon: the prologue of the Bellum Catilinae. There, Sallust utilizes the imagery of domestic animals and of slavery in close conjunction, in order to comment on what is naturally appropriate and inappropriate for humans of free standing.

Varro also offers examples of this linguistic and conceptual entanglement. I have talked at length about the fact that he describes field hands and shepherds, who both occupied a very low socio-economic station, by comparing them to herd animals. The conflation works in the opposite direction, as well: just as nature and animals inform the status of humans, so humans and society inform the ranking of animals. This occurs most clearly in the sections about pigs and oxen, whom Varro specifically locates within the hierarchy of herd animals. Pigs, he claims – quoting the old joke – were given by nature for feasting on; and so they were granted life instead of salt, to preserve the meat (2.4.10). As I explained before, the point here is that pigs provide humans with just one commodity, meat. Nature, then, created them for that one reason, in order to be killed and eaten. Until a pig can fulfill this destiny, the entire purpose of its life is to keep the meat fresh. Although the words “useless” and “worthless” never appear in the text, the joke assumes that a living pig is useless and therefore worthless. Cicero is more explicit: he actually applies the word “worthless” to swine. The proverbial uselessness of pigs no doubt prompted his characterization of Verres as a nequam verres, “worthless boar” (Verrines 2.1.121). Obviously a pig is neither useless nor worthless to itself. The designation “worthless pig” only makes sense if the pig is judged and ranked within the context of human society, according to its utility to humans. Its humble position is a kind of social status, in that it reflects the pig’s value to human society, as measured by the standards of that society. The pig is also inferior in relation to other herd animals, since utility determines the value and standing of them all. Furthermore, because the joke invokes natura, it attributes the pig’s lowliness to a natural order and plan. Thus, a brief witticism about pigs illustrates how men and animals, society and nature, are all subsumed into a single ranking system: to be worthless among herd animals, worthless to man, and worthless by nature, are all one and the same thing.

The equation of natural and social status is even more obvious in the passage about oxen, where Varro uses human social labels to indicate the value and standing of animals. He asserts that the ox is the socius hominum (2.5.3). Anything that can be a socius occupies, by definition, a social category. He also calls the ox a Cereris minister (2.5.3). Minister normally refers to a human job and its attendant, servile status. Here, then, is an example of the language of human servitude, linked to an animal. Moreover, and more surprisingly, he attributes to cattle the maxima auctoritas among herd animals (2.5.3), as well as maiestas (2.5.4). He tags a bull nobilis (2.5.3). These are words usually associated with the aristocracy. To express the prestige of the most important animals, Varro has borrowed from the language of the Roman elite, who were the most important humans. The text therefore demonstrates the conceptual and verbal overlap between man and animal, social and natural. In this case words from the sphere of human social relations have been applied to an animal, as a way to emphasize the value of its natural function.....

Macer compares plebs to herd animals:

Therefore all have now yielded to the mastery of a few... in the meantime you, in the manner of herd animals, offer yourselves, a multitude, to individuals for use and enjoyment, after having been stripped of everything which your ancestors left you…

According to this passage, the supposed servitude of the plebs, and their likeness to herd animals, consist of two elements: economic exploitation, and their willingness to be so exploited. Even though Macer does not explicitly mention herd animals again, these two concepts are both fundamental to the rest of the speech. The idea of the domestic animal – the perfect, natural slave – therefore shapes his portrayal of the plebs’ slavery and its opposite state, their freedom.....

A few powerful men ... have seized these goods. Thus the plebs can be said to offer themselves “for the use and enjoyment” of such men: the plebs’ ... labor, voluntarily undertaken, is enriching these individuals rather than the plebs themselves. Here, as we have seen elsewhere, ideological servitude and mastery exist where there is a relationship of economic exploitation: one who works for the profit of another man is a slave, one who keeps the profit from another man’s work is a master. If they were really free men, as opposed to slaves and herd animals, the plebs would be enjoying the fruits of their own labor.

Economic exploitation is one aspect that the plebs have in common with herd animals, who are also slaves. The other similarity is the plebs’ apparent acceptance of their exploitation, signaled by Macer’s accusatory use of the word praebetis. The plebs actually yield themselves up for servitude ... passively letting other men take the profits. The comparison turns on the belief that herd animals are slaves by nature. They always accept their lot with passivity and willingly labor for the benefit of human masters, because they have no alternative; they serve and obey in accordance with inescapable, natural impulses. This idea appears prominently elsewhere in Sallust. As I explained in the first chapter, it plays a part in the prologue of the Bellum Catilinae. There, herd animals are employed as a negative model, an extreme to avoid, precisely because they have no choice but to behave slavishly.

In keeping with the pattern outlined above, Macer’s speech does not posit that the plebs are naturally slavish or subhuman; in fact, it asserts the opposite. The oration draws its persuasive and emotive power from the tension between the servile role forced upon the plebs, and their naturally free and human character. Precisely because they are not slaves or animals by nature, they can choose not to submit to treatment which is unsuitable for human beings; they can choose to reclaim a truly human living situation by rising up and taking what is rightfully theirs. Therefore the reference to herd animals is in fact a clarion call to action. The plebs’ noble masters have imposed upon them a condition of economic servitude, a condition equivalent to that of slavish herd animals. They will continue to be treated like animals, and resemble them in character, if they do not correctly utilize their human faculty of choice and exercise their will to act. We see now why Macer claims that the struggle for liberty, even a losing one, befits a brave man, and why he later urges the plebs to remember and recreate the manly deeds, virilia illa, of their ancestors (15). The choice to resist, the will to freedom, the struggle itself is naturally appropriate to a man, utterly denied to a herd animal.

Although Macer only mentions herd animals once, the themes established in that one sentence continue throughout the speech. The negative example of the herd animal therefore remains very much in the foreground. Sections 14-16 dwell on the idea that the plebs are willingly submitting to their servitude, by supporting the designs of their self-appointed masters (like herd animals).
Macer accuses his audience of having a weak spirit, animus ignavus, since they are not mindful of their liberty outside of the assembly. All the power is actually in their hands, he claims, because they can choose to carry out or not to carry out the very commands which are imposing their slavery. The plebs are putting such orders into effect by executing them, and are thus rushing to enact their own servitude (like herd animals). Since their slavery depends on their connivance, they could win their freedom simply by refusing to cooperate.....

To labor endlessly for the benefit of others, without protest, is the naturally appointed lot of herd beasts. Unless the plebs want to share that fate, they must exert themselves....

Even Cicero utilizes the idea of plebeian economic exploitation when it suits him, which indicates that it was indeed a trope, and one with rhetorical currency. During his consulship, Cicero spoke against an agrarian law put forward by Publius Servilius Rullus, tribune of the plebs. The second of his speeches on the subject, De Lege Agraria 2, was delivered before the popular assembly. In this oration, Cicero had to convince the bill’s ostensible beneficiaries, the Roman people, that the proposal was actually contrary to their interests.... He portrays the promise of land distribution as a ruse, one which will enable a few powerful men to enrich themselves at the expense of the plebs.

The main thrust of Cicero’s argument is introduced in section 15, where he reveals the “true” aims of the bill’s promulgators. These men, he claims, will be established as kings and masters of the treasury, the revenues, all the provinces, the entire republic, the kings, the free peoples, and, finally, the whole world. ... He asserts that, in the proposed law, nothing is given to the citizens, but all things are gifted to certain men, that lands are held out before the Roman people while even their liberty is snatched from them, that the money of private individuals is augmented and public money drained, and that kings are set up in the state..... If, after hearing his speech, the citizens believe that a plot has been laid against their liberty, they should not hesitate to defend their freedom, obtained and handed down to them by the sweat and blood of their ancestors. Like Sallust’s tribunes, Cicero urges the plebs to action, emphasizing the need for will and struggle with his reference to blood and sweat....

The bill apparently called for ten land commissioners, decemvirs, to raise funds by selling public property; once the funds had been raised, they were to purchase land in Italy on which to settle colonies of Roman citizens.
Cicero devotes much of his oration to insisting that the decemvirs will pocket the proceeds from the sale of public property (35-62), neglecting to purchase the necessary land or to establish proper colonies (63-71). After making his case, Cicero concludes by posing the question, quid pecuniae fiet? What will become of the money? His final answer: “The decemvirs will hold all the money, not a field will be bought for you; after your revenues have been alienated from you, your allies harassed, and the kings and all the nations emptied, those men will have the money, you will not have fields”.

-- The Measure of All Things: Natural Hierarchy in Roman Republican Thought, by Erika Lawren Nickerson, 2015

Pan-Germans embraced the belief that the Aryans had stood at the top in the natural hierarchy of races and that the distinction of being the least polluted survivor of the Aryans belonged to the Germanic (or Nordic) race, of which the Germans made up the principal part.

-- We Men Who Feel Most German: A Cultural Study of the Pan-German League 1886-1914, by Roger Chickering

The Führerprinzip (German for "leader principle") prescribed the fundamental basis of political authority in the governmental structures of the Third Reich. This principle can be most succinctly understood to mean that "the Führer's word is above all written law" and that governmental policies, decisions, and offices ought to work toward the realization of this end. In actual political usage, it refers mainly to the practice of dictatorship within the ranks of a political party itself, and as such, it has become an earmark of political fascism.

The Führerprinzip was not invented by the Nazis. Hermann von Keyserling, an ethnically German philosopher from Estonia, was the first to use the term. One of Keyserling's central claims was that certain "gifted individuals" were "born to rule" on the basis of Social Darwinism.

The ideology of the Führerprinzip sees each organization as a hierarchy of leaders, where every leader (Führer, in German) has absolute responsibility in his own area, demands absolute obedience from those below him and answers only to his superiors. This required obedience and loyalty even over concerns of right and wrong. The supreme leader, Adolf Hitler, answered to God and the German people. Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben has argued that Hitler saw himself as an incarnation of auctoritas, and as the living law or highest law itself, effectively combining in his persona executive power, judicial power and legislative power. After the campaign against the alleged Röhm Putsch, Hitler declared: "in this hour, I was responsible for the fate of the German nation and was therefore the supreme judge of the German people!"

-- Fuhrerprincip [Fuehrer Principle], by Wikipedia

In his presentation of the Shambhala teachings, Rinpoche said that law and order have to do with the natural hierarchy that exists in the world. He used the four seasons as a good example of this nonvertical sense of order and predictability in life. Rinpoche felt that society should have a similar sense of orderly flow.

-- Dragon Thunder: My Life with Chogyam Trungpa, by Diana J. Mukpo with Carolyn Rose Gimian

Natural Hierarchy

By the same token, I have always encouraged both older and newer students to take initiative where they see fit, to jump in if it is truly beneficial, not to wait for the perfect conditions to come about, or for me to formally direct them or invite them to participate. It is not necessary for everyone to have specific instruction from me personally. When it rains, you don’t ask the clouds how to grow vegetables. You take the water and you grow vegetables. This is the notion of society. The role of the Sakyong is to provide space, to protect the space, so that the flowers can blossom. The sun does not pull the flowers up to the sky; the flowers grow, reaching toward heaven. If heaven is too close, the flowers will not exert themselves. Therefore the organization is necessary as the extension of the Sakyong’s ability to provide and protect the space.

The Sakyong is the centre of the Shambhala mandala. The centre of the mandala manifests as the Kalapa Court, the seat of the Sakyong and the heart of his government. The energy generated within the Court radiates outwards through the teachings, culture, and structure of the mandala. The energy that is generated toward the Kalapa Court is harnessed by the organization. It is not the role of the organization to dampen or suffocate. If it becomes too thick, its members tend to become complacent and irritated. When it can extend the energy of the Court as the basis of inspiration, the members of the community look in and around themselves for solutions, realizing their responsibility to motivate themselves and to communicate with others. This process is not simply one of administration, but also of education, since the curriculum must also reflect an understanding of the individual.

This is the primary teaching within the literature on natural hierarchy. Specifically, it means that yourself, as well as the rest of the leadership of the mandala, need to facilitate this dissemination of energy from the Kalapa Court. You must organize the mandala and extend communication in the most effective way. All the members of our community have strong virtues and diverse qualities. They need not base their situation upon whether they are participating as a member of these administrative groups. Those who are members should be functional, practical, and energetic individuals who have chosen to fully participate in and organize our community. But we need to wean ourselves away from thinking that if we are not in one of these groups, we have no real function in our organization. The more clearly we understand this, the more smooth the transition will be for the individuals leaving or entering administrative roles. Thus the society becomes healthy.

The nature of phenomena is change and fluctuation. When a rider has truly taken his seat, from a distance he seems steadfast in the saddle. However, to maintain this equilibrium, both horse and rider are balanced in a state of constant fluctuation. The relationship between the administration, the organization, and the society will likewise fluctuate.

Rather than specifying how we initiate these societal endeavours and inspirations, I leave it to you to disseminate this understanding and view, letting others know the importance and uniqueness of what we are doing—building a society. It is important that we all recognize that being involved at this point and engaging in socially enriching activities is part of the process. Rather than being handed the entire basket and its contents, we are learning how to pick fruits and vegetables and place them in our container of social initiative.

-- Treatise on Society and Organization, A communication from Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche to Richard Reoch, President of Shambhala,17 March 2003

Functions and structure of the court

These relationships within the court revolve around the Sage King, who is the centre of the court. He has people on his left and right sides, everyone at his or her appropriate position and distance: ministers, governors, generals, advisors, etc. When a king receives his subjects - the relationships are clear, visible and therefore natural hierarchy can arise. In this context the order of Heaven <-> Earth <-> Man can be equated with King <-> Ministers <-> Subjects. This is also clear from the description provided in 'The golden Sun of the Great East': 'In Kalapa, the capital, the dharma king of Shambhala first executed the primordial Ashe. On his right sat ministers on tiger-skin seats; on his left, queens on leopard-skin seats; before him, dapons on bear-skin seats; surrounding his domain, the Rigden dralas (..,)'. When a king receives his subjects - the relationships are clear, visible and therefore natural hierarchy can arise.

In the context of a Shambhala Centre this notion of a King, his advisers and subjects can be translated into the order of Heaven <-> Humanity <-> Earth. This means that people (humanity) are appointed to a certain post within the centre and they are responsible for translating the view of the teachings (heaven) into the actual workings of the centre (earth). There is a large responsibility that comes with such a post. The right people should be appointed to the right post, for mismatches can cause harm
.. In 'The golden Sun of the Great East': 'If the horse has no saddle, there is no dignity in riding. If the sun had no rays, the people would be blind. If the warrior has no sword, the blessings of the dralas cannot be gathered (...)'.

In a Shambhala Centre it also means that people should have a proper seat, not only on a board or as a title, but also a real physical seat. This means that a number of people - especially the director and the Rusung - should have a desk in an office from which to work. The function pertains to the role and position and duties individuals hold within the court: who does what.

A Shambhala Court should be viewed as a mandala, another expression of the word 'container.' In a mandala different levels exist all of them connected through a bright and clear path. In the table below, the various levels of the mandala are indicated according to the various traditions as well as the functions and activities of those levels.

-- Kanyu, Fengshui and Court Energetics, Based on the teachings of Eva Wong, edited by Peter C. van der Molen

Letter to Vajradhatu Board of Directors
by Vajra Regent Osel Tendzin
November 28, 1989

An Association of Buddhist Meditation Centers
28 November 1989

Dear Vajradhatu Sangha Member:

It was in January that I last addressed all of you. At that time, I informed you of my plans for retreat and requested everybody to continue with the practice and study of the dharma as given to us by the Vidyadhara, Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche. It has been a turbulent year. In some sense, the turbulence has expressed the naked and raw quality of our emotions, and at the same time has, in my mind, provided deeper access to understanding fully our own commitment. Some of this has been extremely embarrassing. However, as we have been taught, shedding the fortification of ego is not only embarrassing but painful.

Now it appears to me that it is time for all of us to take some definite steps to go forward, personally and as a sangha. It is time for us to re-examine as thoroughly as we can our practice and our place in this life.We all have a particular seat. We all have our innate worth. However, only the dharma can bring about that kind of equanimity and understanding.

Fortunately, the Vidyadhara was ruthless in working with his own students in this respect: he did not hand people solutions, did not provide baby food to grownups, and was constantly warning all of us of the dangers of spiritual materialism, self-made gurus, and spiritual trips. In this way he created Vajradhatu to carry on the authentic dharma which is not based on ego and the deceptions of mara. He let every one of us live out our karma in the context of a larger vision and a larger world. For that we should be eternally grateful.

How shall we now proceed to fulfill the Vidyadhara’s wishes and to fulfill our own lives? First of all, I feel that it is necessary for all of us to abandon ill will and negativity toward each other. Sometimes thoughts become so vivid that they stick in the mind like real entities. And as we might have experienced in our practice, no matter what we do, it is hard to dissolve them. Even if we practice all the different techniques, sometimes we still cling to negative feelings and emotions. Therefore, I feel we must practice as Milarepa did when encountering the demons in his cave. After trying all the techniques he could think of, he finally embraced the demons and said, “All rights, let’s play together.”

Please understand that I am not advocating some kind of love and light approach to the strong or bitter feelings we might have. I am not advocating lip service as practice. We must do this – for our own happiness and for the teachings to continue. There is no other way. If we carry with us even the slightest suspicion which could produce hatred, then we will find ourselves living in the hell realm, when our intention is to practice the dharma.

As for myself, I hold no grudges toward anyone, nor do I wish to see anyone suffer because of anything I may do or have done. At the same time, it is supremely important that all of us understand clearly the reality of cause and effect, so that we can impartially contemplate how situations such as this occur, and how they can be boycotted, as Rinpoche used to say. Panic brings about fear, fear brings about frozen space. Frozen space brings about the appearance of ego. It was my feeling a year ago and it is my feeling now that if we would not have panicked, but actually stuck together as a family, as a sangha, we could have boycotted the tremendous upheaval that occurred, and at the same time made great progress in our understanding. Since this process of ego is continually going on, we undoubtedly will have a chance to work on this again. However, we might as well start fresh right now.

I have been working on my health, with the help of the guru’s blessing and the blessings of the late Very Venerable Kalu, Rinpoche and of course His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse, Rinpoche, and also Trogawa, Rinpoche. Sometimes I feel great, sometimes not so good. Even so, I feel it is time once again for me to take up active leadership of Vajradhatu and the Nalanda Foundation, and depending on my health, give the various teachings that are necessary for people to progress along the path. Therefore, I would like to announce my intention to grant the Vajrayogini Abisheka in late May at Karme Choling, and to preside over the 1990 Vajradhatu Seminary at Rocky Mountain Dharma Center. Everyone will be kept informed with regard to the technicalities such as application forms, etc. Those are the teaching commitments that I would like to make at this time. I will stay on retreat until then.

Finally, I would like to make it completely clear as to my understanding of lineage and especially what was given to me as sacred trust by the Vidyadhara. As I have said, all of us have a place in this mandala, and none is higher or worth more or lower or worth less than any other. Nevertheless, in order for karma to ripen, in order for the dharma to bear fruit, there must be one lineage holder in whom resides the spiritual and temporal authority to say “Yes” or “No”. That karma has fallen to me. The samaya of my relationship to my own duty for me is beyond good and bad, success and failure. And having been warned over and over again by the Vidyadhara about the dangers of democracy, I must reiterate the nature of this command. At the same time, everyone is invited into the boiling pot of chaos which is our world. Everybody is appreciated for who they are. So the real middle way is neither authoritarian nor democratic, but simple the natural hierarchy based on the blessings of the Buddha and the Victorious Lineage.

In conclusion, I would like to wish everybody excellent health, wonderful dharma experiences, and worldly success of all kinds. Keep smiling.

With Blessings,
Vajra Regent Osel Tendzin

The Great Chain of Being is a hierarchical structure of all matter and life, thought in medieval Christianity to have been decreed by God. The chain starts with God and progresses downward to angels, demons (fallen/renegade angels), stars, moon, kings, princes, nobles, commoners, wild animals, domesticated animals, trees, other plants, precious stones, precious metals and other minerals.

The Great Chain of Being (Latin: scala naturae, "Ladder of Being") is a concept derived from Plato, Aristotle (in his Historia Animalium), Plotinus and Proclus. Further developed during the Middle Ages, it reached full expression in early modern Neoplatonism....

God sits at the top of the chain, and beneath him sit the angels, both existing wholly in spirit form. Earthly flesh is fallible and ever-changing, mutable. Spirit, however, is unchanging and permanent....

Each link succeeding upward contains the positive attributes of the previous link and adds at least one other. Rocks possess only existence; the next link up is plants which possess life and existence. Animals add motion and appetite as well....

The king is at the top, succeeded by the aristocratic lords and the clergy, and then the peasants below them....father is head of the household; below him, his wife; below her, their children....

At the top of the animals are wild beasts (such as lions), which were seen as superior as they defied training and domestication. Below them are domestic animals, further sub-divided so that useful animals (such as dogs and horses) are higher than docile creatures (such as sheep). Birds are also sub-divided, with eagles above pigeons, for example. Fish come below birds and are subdivided between actual fish and other sea creatures. Below them come insects, with useful insects such as spiders and bees and attractive creatures such as ladybirds and dragonflies at the top, and unpleasant insects such as flies and beetles at the bottom. At the very bottom of the animal sector are snakes, which are relegated to this position as punishment for the serpent's actions in the Garden of Eden....

Trees are at the top, with useful trees such as oaks at the top, and the traditionally demonic yew tree at the bottom. Food-producing plants such as cereals and vegetables are further subdivided.

At the very bottom of the chain are minerals. At the top of this section are metals (further sub-divided, with gold at the top and lead at the bottom), followed by rocks (with granite and marble at the top), soil (subdivided between nutrient-rich soil and low-quality types), sand, grit, dust, and dirt at the very bottom of the entire great chain....

Each rank has greater power and responsibility than the entities below them....

avian creatures, linked to the element of air, are considered superior to aquatic creatures linked to the element of water. Air naturally tends to rise and soar above the surface of water, and analogously, aerial creatures are placed higher in the chain....

The higher up the chart one went, the more noble, mobile, strong, and intelligent the creature....

The basic idea of a ranking of the world's organisms goes back to Aristotle's biology. In his History of Animals, where he ranked animals over plants based on their ability to move and sense, and graded the animals by their reproductive mode and possession of blood (he ranked all invertebrates as "bloodless")....

Ken Wilber uses a concept called the "Great Nest of Being" which is similar to the Great Chain of Being....

E. F. Schumacher wrote that fundamental gaps exist between the existence of minerals, plants, animals and humans, where each of the four classes of existence is marked by a level of existence not shared by that below. Clearly influenced by the great chain of being, but lacking the angels and God, he called his hierarchy the "levels of being".

-- Great chain of being, by Wikipedia
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Wed Oct 09, 2019 3:30 am

Shambhala threw out my Care and Conduct report
by Kathy Southard MSW, LCSW

Kathy Southard MSW, LCSW

So I didn't really want to do this. And this is the reason why people don't go the Care and Conduct route when leadership abuses their power because we know it falls on deaf ears. This is the aspect of Shambhala culture that needs to change, this power hierarchy. After a year of people telling me I should make a Care and Conduct complaint, I finally did. And you know, it did go the way I thought it would go, that they threw it out because I couldn't sign an agreement they asked me to before they investigated. I couldn't sign because the only people this agreement would protect was the organization and Debbie Coats, so I could not sign it. It would not protect me, it would only empower further harm is how I saw that agreement. Then in a letter to me, they solidified this view with some twisted views about me. It was typical that I am made out to be the one with the problem. So there's not much to do except let you read my report and my side. That one could read this and not take any action, but to otherwise malign themselves against me as someone who has experienced sexual harassment, sexual harm and rape, and what I've reported speaks volumes about the path Shambhala is taking. It speaks to their continued denials. It is very disappointing that Shambhala is just unable to walk the walk of what was previously preached. Here is my care and conduct report that Shambhala threw out and are not doing much about.

It's just my story. It's not the most important story either. Also I know there have been far worse abuses of power that have occured. But it's just what happened to me and it's indicative of the culture that empowers this to happen within Shambhala culture. Here we go. May it be of benefit.

Here's the report:

Debbie Coats

August 1, 2019

Dear Care and Conduct Committee,

I am writing because I would like to make a formal grievance against former Desung Head Commander Debbie Coats, who banned me from Shambhala without ever speaking to me or investigating what were false statements and rumors about me. That a person in a position of power would abuse that power to protect her personal friends and those in higher positions of power is a violation of her position that must be addressed.

My experiences were shaped by the culture of Shambhala, namely that women who express uncomfortable emotions are deemed “crazy” and “difficult” which is why they get expelled and that men who’ve engaged in sexual assault and harm are protected. This is a repeated pattern in Shambhala that the Desung Head Commander had enabled and propagated.

Experiences of Harassment, Sexual Assault and Rape

There were 3 separate events of harassment, sexual assault, and rape that I experienced while living in London and France between 2005 and 2012. I am not bringing forward a complaint about the actions of the people who harmed me, but I can detail them here as background information. Please be aware these were the experiences that led me to have emotional outbursts that Debbie Coats used as evidence of why I ought to be banned. I did not ask Debbie Coats to get involved. I never came to her about my experiences of harm nor ask her to investigate a rape.

I complained to Shambhala center executive members about one of my harassers since 2005, other women complained about him as well, and nothing was ever done about it, instead he kept being empowered. What has harmed me the most in all of this are Debbie Coats actions which she undertook without ever speaking to me. She made incorrect assumptions about my mental state and my competence based on what men, the men who had harmed me said about me, and then Debbie Coats had me banned.

I am most angry about the dynamics of power and the rape culture so prevalent in Shambhala, that allowed all these events to culminate in my being ejected and banned from the sangha. This is the reason I am most angry at Debbie Coats. She enforced the wishes of the men who harmed me, excluding me from my spiritual path and causing me even more harm.

It is my strong opinion as someone who has experienced harm resulting from sexual assault, rape, and harassment that Debbie Coats can never be trusted to support anyone coming forward.

For evidence, there are a series of emails that former Shastri Jane Hope can provide to you about the “alert” that Debbie Coats sent out about me. She can also back up my statements and events as she was involved at this time.

Debbie Coats has publicly stated she’s never banned me. However, this is a false statement. There are rumors going on about that I was unhappy with Debbie Coats and so I am making up lies. I have never asked Debbie Coats nor has she ever been involved in investigating a rape. There are ugly rumors being spread about me by Tony McAdam, one of my harassers, that I am just looking for attention and I have made false accusations of abuse in the past, which he states he has proof of. If he has proof, I’d like to see it. I bet it’s more twisted and untrue stories from some emails I wrote in 2005 which he continuously uses to threaten me with, still to this day in 2019.

I am most upset about and would like to show that Debbie Coats has enabled a culture in which women are victim-blamed, made out to be crazy, and then banned by men in power. As the Desung Head Commander she inherited this culture of making women out to be disbelieved and of protecting men, especially men in power. And this is the main problematic dynamic in Shambhala at this time.

It is a long and involved series of events that started in 2005, when I was 30 years old, and had just moved to London. At that time, I experienced sexual harassment by a sangha member, Tony McAdam, that made it difficult for me to come to the Shambhala center. I know he made other women feel this way also. Because I rejected his advances, he spread terrible rumors about me that Debbie Coats believed. He was close to her, had been the babysitter for her son, Ollie. Therefore his slander of my character was believed before I ever met Debbie Coats. The specifics of this harassment are below.

The Harassment by Tony McAdam

In 2005, a London sangha member Tony McAdam started harassing me. I often felt very uncomfortable around him. When I first showed up in London in the spring of 2005 Tony very often sat too close to me, followed me around, and when I wasn't looking he'd put his hands on me, i.e. to offer me a massage, which felt incredibly unpleasant and I tried my best to stay away from him. That I would seek to stay away from him seemed to incense him, making him increasingly angry with me.

He managed to show up to a private party where I was, knowing I was there, crashing it, and the proceeded to act in a foolish and creepy manner that got him thrown out by the host. He decided I was to blame about his getting ejected from the party and became more obsessed about me. I know this based on conversations with his girlfriend at the time. This led him to obsessively question her about me. She and I had been exchanging emails. When she couldn't take his obsessive, relentless questioning anymore she gave in, forwarding him all the emails I ever wrote to her. These were private emails never intended for anyone to read.

Tony read a lot of my personal information then made up a twisted story about me from these emails, then fed to Debbie Coats a very twisted and untrue story about me which she believed.

In late summer 2005, I received a telephone call from Debbie Coats. This was the first time I even knew of her, my first time speaking with her. She called me and spoke to me as if I had committed some horrible atrocity. In this conversation she accused me of attempting to destroy the London sangha and sangha members' relationships and marriages. She specifically told me I was trying to break up Linus Bewley and Pieracarla Katsaros's marriage. My reaction was that she was absolutely out of line to have called me out of the blue at work and accuse me of things I did not do. When my response was "No, these things did not happen." she responded with the sentence that I still remember: "Don't you know who I am?" in a manner that said to me that because of who she is, I couldn’t question her. When she asked that I come meet with her to discuss this matter, she said I could bring someone. I mentioned Keith Ryan who had been tutoring me weekly studying the Sutrayana manuscripts for Sutrayana seminary. She seemed to be taken aback by that and the phone call ended abruptly. There was never a chance to speak with her further about this. I didn't know at the time, but Keith Ryan was an ex-partner of hers. There was never any follow-up.

The weeks that followed, I'd gotten word from other sangha members I'd done something terribly wrong. There were whispers behind my back and meetings in which I felt harmed by what people were saying about me. I tried to just ignore everything actually and tried my best to stay far from Tony. If I knew he would be there, I would stay away. If he was there for some reason I'd leave. Despite this, I managed to get very involved in the London sangha through the help of Orhun Cercel, a friend at the time. This was long before Orhun became a Shastri and then Acharya. But because of him I became the programs head in London.

Still whenever Tony showed up, it was super uncomfortable from 2005 until I left London. Tony was made the coordinator for a Sakyong visit. As a student of the Sakyong, I wanted nothing else but to be involved, but when Tony was coordinator, he made my life hell. I couldn't be involved and I almost didn't show up to London for the Sakyong's visit. I managed to get there, but Tony harassed me so much I left in tears. Despite repeated complaints about Tony McAdam, not just by me but other women, nothing was ever done. I was repeatedly made to look like I had the problem.

Tony McAdam was close to Debbie Coats as he had been her son's babysitter and caretaker for years. So he was automatically believed and trusted over me. In these years from 2005 to2012, Tony would repeatedly threaten me with exposing my secrets from these emails he kept about me. He's still threatening me to this day. More recently he's been posting about me on Facebook, stating the following:

● That I am a pedophile,
● That I have made repeated false accusations of abuse and rape in the past,
● That I am angry at Debbie Coats for investigating reports of harm and finding my accusations unfounded, and
● These emails show that I falsely accused my parents of sexual abuse and then admitted I'd made it all up for attention.

ALL OF THIS IS FALSE and he's going around posting it repeatedly around Facebook and in Reddit posts I am told. I have never been sexually abused as a child, nor ever made up any false allegations of rape, sexual abuse or physical abuse from my parents or by anyone else for that matter.

It is also well known that Tony McAdam suffers from alcoholism and mental illness, has never been able to hold a steady job, and lives in public housing and off long-term disabled benefits provided to him by the state because he’s disabled by his conditions. Debbie Coats for whatever reason, still quite clearly looks to protect Tony and empower him in Shambhala while she paints me as being more disturbed than Tony points to her poor judgement of character and poor decision-making abilities to have ever been the International Desung Head Commander.

Relationship with XXXXXXX XXXXX

From 2008-09, I had a relationship with a senior member, teacher, and practitioner in Shambhala, former Director of the Paris Shambhala Center, European Secretary to the Sakyong, and currently the French head of the Kalapa Leadership Academy, XXXXX XXXXX. It became the most emotionally abusive relationship of my life. There were times he used sex to harm and hurt me, to make me feel degraded. He knew what he was doing because afterwards he would apologize and say he did not know why he wanted to do those things to me.

It ended very badly of course. And I am aware that he made statements to Debbie Coats and others about how difficult and "degraded" I am. I mention this because later Debbie Coats let me know that was one reason why she felt I ought to be banned. Because of who he is, I was made to look like an unstable and "degraded" (this was the word I heard used to describe me) human, hence, another reason for having me banned.


In 2010, XXXX XXXXXXXX, who at the time was recently retired from being a traveling kusung to the Sakyong, raped me. We had been very good friends. After the rape, I did not acknowledge what it was until years later, because it is so very difficult to accept that a good friend and a vajra brother whom I had trusted could do that. Instead I tried to repair it by trying to have a relationship with him, that led him to continue to violate my boundaries repeatedly, culminating in further conflict between us. Although I did try my best to repair that, too, including vouching for him in the UK court system, that he'd never physically assaulted me. I wrote a letter of support in 2017 for this court case. His ex-partner, mother of his child, was accusing him of domestic violence and had requested the courts in England to ban him from visitation rights with his son.

During this conflict with XXXX XXXXX, Debbie Coats got involved. XXXX had gone to her, expressing how difficult I was. I think after being raped, being difficult with your rapist, is rather normal. After someone uses sex to harm you, being difficult with him is also normal. And after someone sexually harasses you, to want boundaries and the wish to not engage with him is normal as well.

Debbie Coats Banned Me From Shambhala

As Debbie Coats was the International Head Commander of the Desung at the time, she used all these incidents as reasons to have me banned from Shambhala, banned from serving as a volunteer at any land center in North America in 2012. She had sent out a memo or an alert to all desung and HR staff across the sangha at Karme Choling, Shambhala Mountain Center, and Dorje Denma Ling, that if I were to apply to come there, I should be denied because I am an unstable and difficult person. This will also be her argument to you because she thinks I have emotional problems she was trying to “protect” me. I wish to let you know that I have no psychiatric history as an adult other than seeking psychotherapy which is usual for a clinical social worker and psychotherapist. In environments where I am respected and treated well, I excel and am seen as a leader. I hold a Master of Social Work degree from Boston University. For approximately 5 out of my 17 years as a clinical social worker, I was a member of the psychiatry department of Cambridge Health Alliance, a Harvard Medical School affiliated teaching hospital. In April 2017, I was invited as a member of Harvard Medical School faculty to give remarks at a yearly conference “Psychotherapy and Meditation”. For the summer of 2017 I went to SMC, invited by Acharya Dan Hessey as the Staff Path Coordinator, my job was to support staff with their meditation path. After the summer he asked that I might consider staying on, requested that I apply for the Director of Practice and Education, which ultimately I felt would not be a good fit for me. I am also a Scorpion Seal V practitioner. I know I am not so emotionally unstable, difficulty, or incompetent that I should be banned from all Shambhala meditation centers. I am far from that.

While Debbie may argue that she only prevented me from any leadership position in Shambhala, that is not true. She made it so that I could not come to a center to cook or even wash dishes. I was banned outright. At the time I was a SSA2 practitioner and honestly it was so painful, to feel rejected.

Additionally I am aware that Debbie Coats violated confidentiality by sending a personal email I’d written to her to Jane Hope in Debbie’s attempt to prove I am emotionally unstable to Jane.

Also on June 30, 2019, Debbie Coats also posted a public Facebook post about me, painting me as a disturbed liar, in an attempt to clear her name. This is another example of her poor decision-making and conflict resolution skills. She dismisses outright that she has ever done anything untoward and is focused on retaining her power and name.

I Was Banned Without Any Opportunity to Tell My Side Of the Story

This is how I learned what was being said behind my back and about the alert with which Debbie Coats had me banned: In late winter/early spring 2012, I was leaving my job in London. In seeking other opportunities I was very limited due to my work visa and being a non-EU, American citizen in London. I knew returning to North America would be better for me. At first, I thought I’d like to immigrate to Canada. As a Shambhalian, Scorpion Seal Practitioner, I thought the best place to end up could be Halifax. I could spend 2 years at Dorje Denma Ling and then maybe look to move to Halifax afterwards, be in the center of Shambhala, which is all I really wanted back then. I made contact with Dorje Denma Ling, told them a bit about my background and they encouraged me to apply for the Director of Practice and Education. So I applied. A few months later I didn’t get the job.

They told me they went with someone else who practiced Vajrayogini. I thought fair enough. But perhaps there was another job available? I asked about working in marketing as that was a job being advertised as being opened. The response to that request was that I didn’t fit the background of who they were looking for. Ok. So I asked perhaps I could come and work in the kitchen as an assistant cook. I never heard back after asking that question. I’d gotten ghosted. I didn’t think too much of this at the time.

Then I thought I’d go to SMC for the summer in 2012. They always need summer volunteers. I could spend the whole summer there and then figure out where to move to in the US from there. Because I was applying to be on staff as a Scorpion Seal II practitioner, the response was please come and I could decide which department I wanted to work in, it was my choice, anywhere I wanted. I said I’d be quite happy to be a program coordinator for the summer. It was pretty much all set that would be the plan.

Very shortly thereafter the next thing in my email inbox was an invitation to staff a dathun as a Meditation Instructor/ Assistant Director at Karme Choling. KCL was holding a dathun for the month of May 2012. I think it was April, at the time, and they were in need of MIs. It worked for my schedule that I could spend May at Karme Choling staffing a dathun. Then in June I’d go to SMC where I would spend the rest of the summer as a program coordinator. I applied to MI/AD this dathun, and you needed an MI/Shambhala mentor recommendation. I asked for this from my MI, Shastri Jane Hope in London. She agreed and then spoke to someone at KCL by phone to give her this recommendation. However, when Jane was on the phone with someone at KCL, she was asked about my emotional well-being and if I were under a lot of stress. She told me (and you can confirm/check with Jane) that she still recommended me as an MI despite what KCL had learned about me from someone else in London. However, no matter what Jane said, someone had said things to KCL slandering my name and my emotional wellbeing so that I was not accepted as an MI. (In 2014, I later staffed a dathun as an AD/MI). Jane asked me who could possibly be saying something behind my back that others would believe and I responded the only person who would do such a thing and who would be believed is Debbie Coats.

Later that day after being rejected from being considered an MI at KCL, because of untrue rumors put out by Debbie Coats, I got an email message from SMC. It was short and sweet. It said they’d gotten the “alert” and that I was no longer invited to staff there that summer. Honestly it was a mighty powerful blow on the same day I was told I wasn’t good enough to staff a dathun as an MI. I couldn’t stop crying for a few days. It has made me doubt myself, and it took a number of years to recover.

I am quite confident and willing to bring Debbie Coats to task for slandering my name without ever speaking to me, with siding with the men who have harmed me and raped me, and for not having any skill in working with conflict resolution or supporting survivors of sexual harm in the community. As the Desung Head Commander she ought to be held to a much higher standard. As the Desung Head Commander she ought to know how to support and care for the community, if that is her role, not just ban those she sees as “crazy”, while she protects men in positions of power or men who are in close proximity and in relationships with her.

I am also aware it is not just me. I am just speaking my story, but there are other women who have been in my position. If you cross another man in a position of power in Shambhala, it is the woman who is dismissed and not believed. I’ve seen it a number of times. It is indicative of the culture.

What I Am Asking

My wishes include:

That Debbie Coats is never in a position of power or authority over me or any other victim of sexual assault or harassment so that she could never have power over anyone who has experienced harm, especially sexual harm by men in positions of authority, and that she never be allowed to judge the outcomes of these situations again.

That she be stripped of any Kasung/Desung title or rank because she is responsible and helped to empower the culture that allowed abuses of power and sexual harm to go on unbated.

That the culture of Shambhala change, so that these dynamics of power aren't so prevalent, so that those harmed because of racism, sexism, sexual assault & harassment, and unfair power dynamics are not ignored and dismissed as being "crazy" and then further excluded from the sangha.

That sexual harm and male entitlement is no longer just part of Shambhala culture as it has been for a long time.

I am not a difficult person, especially when I am treated with respect and consideration. Since being banned in 2012, I did return to living in North America where my history was unknown. So I could blend in like nothing happened. However, since the ban, I’ve felt like there has been black mark on me, I've felt insecure as someone who is a meditation instructor and Scorpion Seal V practitioner, that people are talking about me behind my back, telling outrageous lies about me, that others believe without coming to me about them and that my worst fear could happen again, that I could just get banned because in a conflict born from sexual assault and harm, that I could easily be deemed crazy and difficult again, and would again get excluded and excommunicated from the sangha. This ongoing underlying fear has always been there especially since the day I learned I was banned from Shambhala.

Thank you for listening to my story. I would like to make it known that I am telling the full truth and nothing but the truth. I have not made any false statements.


Kathy Southard MSW, LCSW
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Wed Oct 09, 2019 3:39 am

Taking Samaya with Sakyong Mipham and some side thoughts
by mukposdingdong

Something reminded me of the vows we took with Mipham recently.

The part I want to share is that when we were being groomed to submit to his command, what was made very clear by the acharyas coaching us and the little piece of paper cheat sheet we were given at Vajrayana seminary, was that we weren’t taking a vow about committing to creating enlightened society but a vow committing to MIPHAM’s vision of creating enlightened society. The difference was reiterated several times. And I guess that’s the basic point of taking a Vajrayana teacher on — you commit to their expertise or method. Literally, his world.

But in the last couple years, I’ve heard so many Shambhalians say things to the effect of, the women he sexually ab/used had the wrong view (they could have said no, or you’re not literally meant to do what the teacher asks, or, he’s just human — you don’t actually view him as the Buddha, or, well actually it’s the guru within, not the external guru that’s important). I’ve also heard non-Mipham students affiliated with Shambhala (mostly Trungpa followers) say things like, what you were doing under mipham is not what is meant by enlightened society, etc — here’s the correct view... (and then they proceed to offer some interpretation, their own conceptualization/variant on the true meaning or intent of “the teachings” or explain vajrayana by importing instructions from another teacher). But the fact is, the samaya vows we as Mipham’s students took, were of and TO HIS vision. We were to defer to HIS discernment about reality, what to do with our minds, how to behave, follow his instructions, INCLUDING the sexual ones. It wasn’t enlightened society general, it was Mipham’s view of enlightened society. And the better you followed, the better student you were considered, rewarded and valuable to have around and near.

I guess I’m sharing this thought because I’ve watched so many sangha members dismiss Mipham in the last couple of years. And in so doing they are side stepping the abuse that all of his students endured BECAUSE they were his students committed to his view. A type of betrayal that those who weren’t his students cannot know because they didn’t commit to him or put their faith in him in the same way if at all. It makes me think that people who weren’t Mipham’s students, who didn’t take that vow with him cannot possibly understand the same betrayal or advise his students because they weren’t viewing him or their paths in the same way. And it seems a lot of the “schisms” I have witnessed — schisming between old Trungpa students (some now with other teachers) or don’t-need-a-guru/king-to-do-Shambhala types and Mipham’s Vajrayana students ride on this difference.

Maybe others feel differently, but part of the betrayal I’ve been feeling from community members (or ex members) is definitely from those trampling over and bypassing the particular betrayal many of Mipham’s Vajrayana students (even if they are no longer his students) have been experiencing. Some old Trungpa students are even doing happy dances he’s been outed but don’t care about his students’ suffering. A lot of, I told you so mentality. But the fact is, we were groomed to take a vow to Mipham’s vision of enlightened society — not yours. It’s no wonder some of us don’t want anything to do with Buddhism anymore — our teacher who we took the highest vows with to do as he said betrayed our trust and the sangha celebrated his misconduct being outed by throwing him under the bus and trying to keep the ship afloat without really relating to what the tradition has done to our lives. Basically, traumatized us by eroding the deepest trust and ab/using our vulnerabilities, showed us the hollowness of all we committed to in this so called tradition, that community doesn’t care about the individuals within it to the point they make it impossible to stay, that friends and family will choose religion or keeping “cool” jargon and unconventional identities or romantic memories of childhood from their upbringings over having each others’ backs.

In a forum elsewhere someone recently said something to the effect of, clergy sexual misconduct is a very bad thing and I take it very seriously and am so sorry, but please don’t take it out on the dharma or Buddhism — I want to keep my own goodies going because the thing that hurt you only hurt you, not me. If that’s really the Buddhist approach or view of relating to ones own and others’ suffering, then why would anyone abused and taken advantage of by mipham and the Shambhala community ever want to hear Buddhist words ever again? Sometimes it’s hard to tolerate your tolerance for Shambhala and your complete inability to see what it’s done to people let alone care. Your comments that you believe are more to the point than Mipham’s because you know best or it works for you, that you have the true or right version, know the point of everyone’s life, suffering and Buddhism are completely a turn off. The arrogance and self-centeredness of people wanting Shambhala to continue sans Mipham (especially those who haven’t even admitted to and related to his betrayal of his students) continues to appall me. If you are taking on the ship, you’re responsible for the harm it caused — doesn’t matter if mipham is king or not.
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Wed Oct 09, 2019 4:01 am

“No Secrets in the Village”: An Open Letter on Abuse in Dharma Ocean
by Andrew Merz, MDiv; Masha Mikulinsky, MA, LPC; Natan Cohen; Florence Gray; Diana Goetsch; Sean McNamara; Kara Deyle; A.B.
October 7, 2019

To whom it may concern,

This open letter discloses longstanding patterns of emotional and spiritual abuse within Dharma Ocean, the Buddhist community led by Reggie Ray. A copy of this letter has been sent to the Board of Directors of the Dharma Ocean Foundation.

The signers of this letter are former senior students, meditation instructors, dharma teachers, and key staff members within the Dharma Ocean organization. Many of us were involved with Dharma Ocean for at least a decade. The roles we held within Dharma Ocean gave us a great deal of direct and often near-daily access to Reggie Ray as well as to the inner workings of Dharma Ocean. Over the span of several years, most of us interacted with Reggie directly through formal staff roles during numerous intensive retreats up to a month in length. Some of us worked for months or years as paid Dharma Ocean staff members, participating in the operational functions of the organization. Most of us uprooted our lives to more closely support the vision of Buddhist practice and community that Reggie Ray presented. All of us have experienced and witnessed dynamics of emotional and spiritual abuse first-hand, and have left Dharma Ocean as a result.

This letter, while long contemplated, was finally written thanks to several courageous examples:

The letter by former Rigpa students, exposing the many abuses of Sogyal Lakar;
Buddhist Project Sunshine, which brought to light a long history of sexual misconduct, assault, and abuse of power in Shambhala International;
The open letter by a group of senior Shambhala students (also known as the Kusung Letter) that shared first-hand accounts of grave misconduct and abuse.

The patterns of abuse exposed in the latter two of these letters closely mirrors the abuse outlined in this document; Reggie Ray created Dharma Ocean in 2005 directly after leaving the Shambhala organization, where he had been a senior teacher for many years. We write in solidarity with these survivors of abuse and we thank them for their courage, determination, and selflessness in coming forward.

We want to make clear that the dynamics described here have persisted over the course of Dharma Ocean’s existence, and have continued regardless and despite the good intentions of the specific individuals holding senior leadership positions at any given time. Some of us, in our staff roles, were knowingly or unknowingly participants in activities that harmed others. We acknowledge and have struggled to come to terms with the fact that we implicitly condoned and enabled these abuses through our ongoing long-term participation in this community.

Our aim in writing this letter is to uproot systemic patterns of abuse within Dharma Ocean. One of the cardinal rules of high demand groups is for narratives exposing unethical behavior and abuse to stay within the system, effectively enabling continued abuse. Creating a public record of these experiences is thus a principal reason for writing this letter. We believe that those connected with or considering participation in Dharma Ocean should have the opportunity to be informed about the history and prevalence of abuse.

Patterns of abuse have become inextricably woven into every level of Dharma Ocean, creating a culture of fear and secrecy, and enabling sustained abuse of power from those at the top of a deliberately curated hierarchy. While Dharma Ocean has presented an image of openness to feedback, those who have risked offering feedback, however skillfully delivered, have most frequently been attacked, discredited, and blamed. For the duration of Dharma Ocean’s existence, the brunt of these attacks and gaslighting tactics has fallen most on community members already holding marginalized sociocultural locations: students who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC); Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Intersex, and Asexual (LGBIA) students; Transgender, Gender Non-Binary, Gender Non-Conforming students; women, and poor and working class people. Most of those who have attempted to give feedback or voice significant concern have been pushed out of the organization.

The forms of emotional and spiritual abuse perpetuated by Reggie Ray and, by extension, those in positions of leadership within Dharma Ocean, are commonly acknowledged as characteristic of high demand groups:

● grooming;
● love bombing new group members;
● questioning and doubt being discouraged or punished;
● public shaming of community members;
● a cycle of verbal abuse and triangulation in interpersonal communication;
● selective enforcement of rules/community norms; dissent framed in terms of spiritual immaturity/shortcomings;
● a pervasive culture of fear and paranoia;
● a charismatic leader insulated from any external accountability;
● reframing dissent or the loss of prominent members as proof of the worthiness and exceptionalism of the “in-group”;
● frequent public appraisals of other spiritual paths and communities, which were always found inferior by comparison with Dharma Ocean.
● the organization’s all-important ends justify its unethical means

Dharma Ocean’s Lies and Land Use Violation

This statement is written for Crestone residents, the Manitou Foundation, it’s land grantees, Dharma Ocean members, and other concerned parties.

During the winter of 2009/2010, I worked for Dharma Ocean Foundation (DOF) as Programs and Facilities Manager. At this time the organization was completing the planning stage of it’s new residence hall at what was then known as the Dharma Ocean Retreat Center (DORC).

The DORC, located at 2541 Carefree Way, Crestone, CO was built on land granted by the Manitou Foundation, which placed a conservation easement on the deed. In my understanding this easement was intended to protect the land from overdevelopment and overuse. One provision concerned the number of residential occupants that are allowed on a given parcel or building footprint (At this time I have been unable to procure a copy of the deed to confirm the exact wording).

Knowing that their plans for the residence hall exceeded these occupancy restrictions, Dharma Ocean leadership, including Reggie Ray and senior teacher / major donor Al Blum, commissioned blueprints that mislabelled the dorms in the basement. If I recall correctly, these cavernous rooms house up to 32 people. They are adjacent to large bathroom facilities and a kitchen. On the blueprints given to Manitou, the rooms were labeled “Storage.”

Al Blum instructed Dharma Ocean staff members, including myself, to lie to representatives of the Manitou Foundation at a meeting held to review the organization's application. When they predictably asked about the extraordinary amount of storage space on the plans, we verbally stuck to the lie that these rooms were intended for storage only.

While I cannot say whether we were believed, I walked away with the impression that we had executed a form of trickery that was careful, malicious, and quite typical for Reggie and Al.

The moment was one example of a culture of casual dishonesty, manipulation, and abuse on the part of Reggie, Al, and other Dharma Ocean leaders that I observed over several years working closely with them.

Natan Cohen
DOF Programs and Facilities Manager 2009-2010
Meditation Instructor 2009-2013
Protection Mandala 2010-2013
Member 2007-2013

The history of emotionally abusive dynamics and various forms of manipulation is well known anecdotally within the inner circles of Dharma Ocean and to many former Dharma Ocean members. A pattern of devoted students and staff members quietly leaving has existed, uninterrupted, since the beginning of Dharma Ocean. Most Dharma Ocean community members at large, however, never realize the severity of the dynamics of abuse and manipulation in the inner circle, and just how many people have suffered them and left.

As is commonplace in high demand groups, a member of the larger community could attend a number of Dharma Ocean programs and not notice the patterns described here. This is in part because of the ways systemic grooming operates, in part because abuse of power maintains plausible deniability through subtlety, and in large part because of a tremendous effort on the part of senior students to hide and shuffle responsibility for behaviors otherwise incongruent with the stated vision and principles of the organization.

Grooming within Dharma Ocean took multiple forms. When Reggie’s actions appeared to contradict the message and view he presented, Reggie would frame the incongruence in terms of a hierarchy of spiritual development. Those who were able to reconcile incongruence were deemed more spiritually advanced, as evidenced by senior student status and inclusion in Reggie’s inner circle. Newer members would naturally orient themselves to the reactions and explanations offered by senior students when making meaning of what is happening. While questioning and confusion were ostensibly welcomed, those whose concerns did not dissipate quickly enough were labeled as “too political,” “not ready yet,” unable to manage their “emotional upheavals,” or out of touch with their hearts/true nature. “Your practice just isn’t strong enough” was frequently employed by Reggie and others as a shaming and gaslighting tactic, to shut down critique and signal to others that the dissenter shouldn’t be taken seriously.

Anyone who served Reggie directly, either in program staff roles on retreat or as employees of Dharma Ocean, quickly learned that feedback is not welcomed or incorporated, even when it was explicitly requested. Loyalty and obedience are valued above all else, are constantly tested, and are taught through punishment of disloyalty. This happens in the context of teachings that reinforce an insider/outsider split: that the world desperately needs these practices and only we can deliver them, that all other approaches are inferior and lacking, and that we are special and fortunate for having found these teachings and have a responsibility to bring them to the world. The notion that we can only get this here—the truth about reality, and the spiritual practices we need to relate to it—is a core teaching in Dharma Ocean, and makes dissent and the decision to leave very difficult, if not unimaginable.

Progressive inclusion in Reggie’s inner circle was evidence of special status; many community members longed for more access to Reggie. Those who voiced criticism about him or some aspect of the organization were often swiftly (and at times unbeknownst to the person themselves) excluded from the inner circle and the program staff roles that are the testing ground for it. Fear of losing their place in the coveted inner circle often prevented members from voicing questions or criticism about behavior they witnessed.

Reggie constantly used triangulation to manipulate students, manufacturing rumors and making students doubt themselves. He would harshly criticize a student to others in a staff meeting, and then blithely say something entirely different to the student he had just defamed. It was common for Reggie to make up tidbits of information about a person and ask them about it to their face to see how they would respond. Even after someone left the community, Reggie frequently continued this behavior, for instance by feigning ignorance about why they left to that former student’s friends, asking “What ever happened to them?” or by rewriting the narrative of their involvement, saying “they were never really that devoted.”

A culture of paranoia, fear, and shame was rampant. The threat of being removed from the inner circle by Reggie without apparent or stated reason was always present. For many years Dharma Ocean maintained an unofficial “blacklist” of students whom Reggie had deemed no longer suitable to hold formal roles within the organization. The existence of the blacklist, the names on it at any given time, and any reasons for students being blacklisted was known only to select Dharma Ocean staff members and Reggie’s close confidants.

Reggie’s inner circle was exclusively people who had sufficiently proven their allegiance and who could therefore serve as effective buffers from substantial criticism within the organization, by both actively quelling others’ doubts as they arose, and by serving as an exemplar of the loyal and therefore successful student. As soon as they were unable to perform this role, or developed doubts of their own, they were demoted or cast aside, with the exception of major donors, who were generally given more leeway.

Being a self-appointed guru, Reggie faced no oversight or accountability, and his decisions in all aspects of the organization were the final word if he so chose. The Board of Directors of Dharma Ocean, for example, has consisted of Reggie’s appointees, all senior students, for the duration of the organization’s existence. When a group of senior students formed a committee to examine and address issues of Equity and Inclusion within Dharma Ocean and offered suggestions/critique he did not agree with, Reggie swiftly dismantled the group, disparaged and criticized the character, spiritual practice, and devotion of its members, and replaced all but one of the committee members with his own appointees.

Public shaming, criticism, and manipulation of staff members and students was common during intensive meditation retreats and day-to-day operations of Dharma Ocean. It was not unusual to see senior staff members in tears or actively distraught after suffering brutal verbal attacks in meetings with Reggie. Students were often afraid to comment or ask questions during programs, having witnessed the unpredictability with which kindness could turn to viciousness in Reggie’s responses. Lapses in behavior or allegiance would be framed as spiritual inadequacy or immaturity, with phrases like “they couldn’t handle the heat” and “this path isn’t for everyone” used to explain why a student may have distanced themselves, left, or been asked to leave after an episode of emotional abuse. A common refrain was that certain students were a “distraction to the container” and were thus asked to leave. Those who dared to question this view were routinely shamed and ridiculed. The implication was clear: those who could not handle the emotional abuse were not ready for the teachings. Those who stayed were the more determined and more spiritually advanced students.

In his relationships with close students, Reggie was constantly repeating a cycle: scathing verbal abuse, quickly followed by love-bombing, then distancing, and inevitably lashing out again, over often small transgressions. When a senior student would leave, having endured emotional and spiritual abuse for many years, Reggie’s narrative would often center his own feelings of betrayal and hurt, or portray calculated indifference. Having witnessed others disappear from the organization and be publicly and privately disparaged by Reggie Ray, at times even from the teacher’s seat during a retreat, most of us feared that fate. It was painfully obvious that if or when we left, whatever we did or said to him or others would be used against us for his purposes of controlling the narrative. Any attempt to counter or even discuss a narrative Reggie had formed of you, most often based on incomplete information gathered from others, would be regarded as being "dramatic," “just your ego talking,” “territorial,” or “controlling the space.”

Reggie used a striking variety of tactics to maintain control, most often at his students’ cost. One of the most pernicious was the deliberate misuse/misrepresentation of intimate information shared with him in confidence. On retreats, the explicit norm was: everything is welcome in this space; it is safe to bring forward the wounded parts of yourself to work with, the staff and teachers will support you. The implicit norm, however, was: anything that you share, especially where you’re most vulnerable, may be used against you. There was no such thing as confidential communication in the organization—all potentially relevant information, however inconsequential, made its way up the chain of command. The more dirt you had to share, the more useful you were. Driving this was an intense paranoia accompanied by an incapacity to even hear, much less consider, critical feedback. Such material was labelled “poisonous,” the result of someone “losing confidence in the situation.”

As Reggie euphemistically put it, “there are no secrets in the village.” Staff members who attempted to maintain confidentiality were inevitably coerced or cajoled into sharing what they knew about others. Reggie was known to publicly disclose incredibly intimate information about a group member when that person stepped “out of line,” even when the information had been shared with him in private under an expectation of confidentiality between teacher and student. This clear breach of the common standard of clergy confidentiality is another example of Reggie operating beyond accountability, putting himself ahead of the wellbeing of his students, and eschewing any semblance of the minimum ethical standards reasonably expected of a person in a position of spiritual authority.

The lack of accountability that applied to Reggie was mirrored by the organization’s lack of an impartial process for making or investigating a formal complaint about any community member’s conduct. The enforcement of rules and doling out of punishment was generally based on the status of Reggie’s relationships with the person perpetuating the dynamics and his esteem for the person most directly impacted. It frequently came down simply to who was more useful to him; he generally favored the person higher up in the hierarchy. It wasn’t unusual for victims who turned to leadership for support to be encouraged to focus on their own practice instead of on the abusive behavior. Rarely were steps taken to rectify or address the abusive behavior or offer support to the victim. Those impacted were often given the choice to leave, or to stay and simply endure the continued abuse.

For instance, when students in leadership positions made inappropriate sexual advances on retreat participants, which was was only eventually forbidden in a staff code of conduct, Reggie and senior leadership might playfully condone the behavior, respond with a slap on the wrist, or if necessary, publicly shame or demote the person in leadership. Certain community members, generally cis-gendered, heterosexual, white men, and others deemed most loyal and therefore useful in this system, were given de facto carte blanche to repeatedly perpetuate self serving, emotionally abusive dynamics from positions of power without any real consequences. When someone in the staff role of head chef, for instance, repeatedly verbally abused kitchen work-study folks who were only able to afford retreat by holding the work-study position, not only was the typically male head chef never removed from the role, even temporarily, but those same individuals were invited to hold that role again and again, over the course of a decade.

For those in the inner circle, who suffer the most under this abusive system, the impact is significant whether one stays or leaves the organization. Many of those who have left report an unparalleled devastation: loss of community, loss of a spiritual path and tradition, loss of worldview, loss of meaning and purpose, splintering of identity, profound betrayal by a trusted teacher, and for many a retraumatization and reenactment of abusive patterns experienced earlier in life. Those who worked for Dharma Ocean are faced with loss of income, in addition to the profound social and emotional costs. As with any abuse, the impact continues and requires tending long after one is no longer part of Dharma Ocean. Most have left silently, faced isolation as their narratives were erased from the fabric of the organization, and were left to grapple alone with the devastating aftermath of emotional and spiritual abuse in their own ways. For many of us, the draw to Dharma Ocean had come from a need and genuine inspiration to follow a spiritual path. This, of course, is precisely the vulnerability exploited by spiritual abuse.

We want to make clear that the aforementioned dynamics have persisted over the course of Dharma Ocean’s existence, and have continued regardless and despite the good intentions of the specific individuals holding senior leadership positions at any given time. Some of us, in our staff roles, were knowingly or unknowingly participants in activities that harmed others. We acknowledge and have struggled to come to terms with the fact that we implicitly condoned and enabled these abuses through our ongoing long-term participation in this community.

This letter is written in solidarity with and support of those who have who have left Dharma Ocean or other communities like it. The culture of collective amnesia and minimization regarding emotional abuse has persisted within the organization, but there are now many of us on the outside ready and able to share our experiences and support one another. This letter is additionally intended to be a formal acknowledgment and validation of the individual accounts/narratives that have increasingly begun to surface in public spaces, such as recent anonymous accounts posted on Reddit and this account of unethical business dealings.

If you have experienced spiritual and/or emotional abuse in Dharma Ocean and would like to add your name to this letter or just connect with us, please write to us at this email address:


Andrew Merz, MDiv; Reggie Ray's Personal Assistant 2012-2013; Editor for Reggie and Dharma Ocean 2012-2015; Assistant to Board Chair 2013-15; Meditation Instructor 2008-2015; Protection Mandala* staff 2011-2015; studied with Reggie 2005-2015.

Masha Mikulinsky, MA, LPC; BMRC Facilities Staff & Solitary Retreat Cabin Caretaker 2012-2013; Lead Cook 2010-2013; Meditation Instructor 2012-2015; studied wtih Reggie 2005-2015.

Natan Cohen; DOF Programs and Facilities Manager 2009-2010; Meditation Instructor 2009-2013; Protection Mandala* staff 2010-2013; studied wtih Reggie 2007-2013.

Florence Gray; Dishwasher 2006-2017; Transcript Clerk 2010-2017; studied with Reggie 2006-2017.

Diana Goetsch; Reggie Ray's editor on various projections 2009-2015; Protection Mandala staff 2010-2014; Inclusivity Mandala 2015-2017; Lead Meditation instructor at Dathun** 2015-2017; studied with Reggie 2007-2017.

Sean McNamara; Senior Teacher 2008-2015; Retreat teacher; Summer Meditation Intensive 2012, 2013, 2014; Meditation Instructor 2003-2015; Dharma Ocean Board Member 2010, 2012; Retreat Center Building Manager 2012; studied with Reggie 2000-2015.

Kara Deyle; Dharma Ocean Program Manager 2013-2016; studied wtih Reggie and held a variety of program roles including Protection Mandala and Meditaiton Instructor 2008-2016.

A.B.; Dharma Ocean Operations Manager 2009-2011; DOF Administrative Assistant 2008-2009; studied wtih Reggie 2008-2011.

* Protection Mandala describes a team of uniformed staff members during retreats who serve as close attendants to Reggie or other teachers and oversee the safety and security of a retreat and its participants, aka kusung and kasung

** A dathün is month-long intensive retreat

Links and Resources

If you have experienced abuse within Dharma Ocean and written an account that is publicly available, please be in contact with us. Relevant resources will continue to be added here.

Rigpa Letter
Project Sunshine
Kusung Letter
● A former DOF employee’s account of unethical business dealings
A Reddit thread containing multiple anonymous accounts of abuse in Dharma Ocean
Matthew Remski writes about high demand spiritual groups
Site Admin
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Re: Former teacher at Boulder's Shambhala accused of sexuall

Postby admin » Fri Nov 01, 2019 7:56 am

The Buddhist Lodge

In 1903 an International Buddhist Society had been founded, following the period spent in the East by Allan Bennett, alias the "Bikkhu Ananda Metteya," who had passed into Buddhism from the magical activities of the Golden Dawn. An English Buddhist Society was formed in 1907, but by 1924 the chief association for the dissemination of Buddhist doctrine in England was the Buddhist Lodge of the Theosophical Society, founded by the eminent lawyer and judge Christmas Humphreys. In 1936 Alan Watts took over the editorship of the Buddhist Lodge's magazine, Buddhism in England, at the age of sixteen, and the same year, he published his Spirit of Zen. The father of this prodigy, L. W. Watts, was the treasurer and vice-president of the Buddhist Lodge; [30. Christmas Humphreys, Sixty Years of Buddhism in England (London, 1968), pp. 20-40. Other heroes of Kerouac -- for example, Dwight Godard, compiler of A Buddhist Bible, published in the United States in 1928 -- are also the heroes of the European Buddhists.] and Alan Watts also sat at the feet of Dmitrije Mitrinovic. In 1938 the younger Watts left for the United States and became a doctor of theology and an Anglican counselor at Northwestern University. Then he moved to San Francisco from where his influence spread first throughout the Beatnik, then throughout the hippie world. As has been rightly pointed out, [31. Theodore Roszack, The Making of a Counter-Culture (London, 1970), p. 132.] it is more the influence of Watts than the more learned message of the leading Zen authority for the West, D. T. Suzuki -- whose second wife was American -- that has been responsible for spreading Zen ideas. Watts by no means confined himself to Zen and was himself the modern representative of those "mediators between East and West" who first became prominent in Europe and America in the middle of the last century. [32. An additional factor in spreading consciousness of Zen in America was undoubtedly the occupation of Japan. After 1945 there was a great increase in East Asian studies, and it is interesting that Zen properly entered England after the Second World War, when Christmas Humphreys -- who had been sent as a counsel to the War Crimes Trials in Tokyo -- visited Suzuki. It is symptomatic of the close links between the Occult Revival and the coming of Zen to the West that at the time of his trip Humphreys was preparing a new edition of the Mahatma Letters to H. P. Blavatsky, and that his journey included a visit to the headquarters of the Theosophical Society at Adyar near Madras. See Humphreys, Via Tokyo (London, 1948).]

-- The Occult Establishment, by James Webb

The Buddhist Society had been founded in 1924 as the Buddhist Lodge of the Theosophical Society, from which it separated two years later as a result of the Krishnamurti debacle, and members and friends would soon be celebrating its fortieth anniversary. Christmas Humphreys, the President (‘Toby’ to his intimates within the Society), was Britain’s best-known Buddhist and his best-selling Pelican Buddhism had probably introduced more people to the Buddha and his teachings than had any other book since the publication of Sir Edwin Arnold’s The Light of Asia in 1879. Perhaps because of its origins in the Theosophical movement, and Humphreys’ personal sympathies (he believed Buddhism and Theosophy to be complementary), the Buddhist Society’s approach to the Buddha-Dharma was not sectarian but ecumenical. Besides running its own classes and holding the Summer School, it provided a platform for visiting Buddhist teachers of all traditions, and was the central body to which what London-based Buddhists called ‘the provincial groups’ were loosely affiliated. Since the appearance of Dr D.T. Suzuki’s writings in the fifties, Christmas Humphreys’ special interest within the field of Buddhism had been Zen, and his ‘Zen class’ (the scare quotes indicate its admittedly non-traditional status) was in effect the Buddhist Society’s equivalent of the Theosophical Society’s esoteric section. Other members of the society had a special interest in the Theravãda and it was one of these who, as the Bhikkhu Kapilavaddho (formerly William Purfurst), had in 1956 been mainly responsible for forming the [English] Sangha Trust and, I think, the Sangha Association, with the object of creating in Great Britain a monastic community for Westerners.

-- Moving Against the Stream: The Birth of a new Buddhist Movement, by Sangharakshita [Dennis Lingwood]

A.C. March, a Founding Member of the Buddhist Society and the creator of its Journal, now The Middle Way.

Buddhist Lodge Monthly Bulletin, edited by A.C. March, 1925-1926

-- Issei Buddhism in the Americas, edited by Duncan Ryuken Williams, Tomoe Moriya

"An Analysis of the Pali Canon" was originally the work of A.C. March, the founder-editor of "Buddhism in England" (from 1943, The Middle Way), the quarterly journal of The Buddhist Lodge (now The Buddhist Society, London). It appeared in the issues for Volume 3 and was later offprinted as a pamphlet. Finally, after extensive revision by I.B. Horner (the late President of the Pali Text Society) and Jack Austin, it appeared as an integral part of "A Buddhist Student's Manual," published in 1956 by The Buddhist Society to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of its founding.

-- An Analysis of the Pali Canon and a Reference Table of Pali Literature, by Russell Webb, Bhikkhu Nyanatusita

A.C. March (1929), "Comment on Ananda Metteya's Article," BE, 4(6), p. 130.

-- Men, Masculinities and Religious Change in Twentieth-Century Britain, edited by L. Delap, S. Morgan

Taixu, then thirty-nine years old, returned to China from the United States in late April 1929, arriving in Shanghai feeling rather optimistic about the future of his program of modernization and reform. He was encouraged by the response that he had received in the West to his plans for a World Buddhist Institute and to his call for greater cooperation among Buddhists around the globe, and obviously pleased that many had recognized him as a religious leader with both a vision for the modern reformation of Buddhism and a realistic plan for carrying it out. A.C. March, of the Buddhist Lodge of London, had concluded, for example, that "Taixu is a very practical man. He is no dreamer.... Now that China has definitely entered the work of establishing Buddhism throughout the world as a universal religion, we may expect great results to follow."

-- Toward a Modern Chinese buddhism: Taixu's Reforms, by Don Alvin Pittman

The same year, Humphreys founded the London Buddhist Lodge, which later changed its name to the Buddhist Society.[1] The impetus for founding the Lodge came from theosophists with whom Humphreys socialised. Both at his home and at the lodge, he played host for eminent spiritual authors such as Nicholas Roerich and Dr Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, and for prominent Theosophists like Alice Bailey and far Eastern Buddhist authorities like D.T. Suzuki. Other regular visitors in the 1930s were the Russian singer Vladimir Rosing and the young philosopher Alan Watts,[3] and in 1931 Humphreys met the spiritual teacher Meher Baba.[4] The Buddhist Society of London is one of the oldest Buddhist organisations outside Asia.

-- Christmas Humphreys, by Wikipedia

Buddhist Society in England (was the Buddhist lodge of the Theosophical Society), was founded by the most famous and influential of Western Buddhists, Christmas Humphreys (see Christmas Humphreys), who was a member of the Theosophical Society early in his life and who wrote appreciatively about H.P. Blavatsky to the end of his life.

-- Famous People and the impact of the Theosophical Society: Inventory of the influence of the Theosophical Society, by Katinka Hesselink

Resources for Buddhist Lodge (London, England).
Buddhism in England
Buddhist Lodge (London England)
Periodical: 1926-1943

Buddhism and the Buddhist movement to-day: an explanatory booklet compiled for the benefit of enquirers / compiled by the Buddhist Lodge, London
Buddhist Lodge (London, England)
[Book: 1930]

Concentration and meditation: a manual of mind development
Buddhist Lodge (London, England)
[Book: 1935 ]

What is Buddhism? : an answer from the Western point of view / compiled by the Buddhist Lodge, London
Buddhist Lodge (London, England)
[Book: 1929-1931 ]

I heard one of the Warriors of the Lodge say once that he is sick of hearing about the Vidyadhara. Perhaps he was referring to habitual patterns of some students living in the past. Perhaps fifteen years ago, there was a point to making a sharp distinction between the past and present. But that logic no longer serves the situation. It is simply not true that we, as a community, or we, as senior students, are clinging to the Vidyadhara’s memory, instead of living in the present Dharmic norm, generally speaking, although perhaps it does occur. The problem here is not clinging to the past. The problem is competing with it.

-- Keeping Alive the Transmissions of the great Vidyadhara, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, by Bill Karelis

Whoever set up that secret society Lodge business (Rome?) made a HUGE error. Set the whole thing back by decades. .....

-- Baron Ash, from Inside the Tiny Pathetic World of Sakyong Mipham, by allthewholeworld

When I wasn’t with CTR, I was completing my tasks as a nanny. And I was introduced to the Shambhala lodge with a party in my honor.

-- The first time I met His Majesty Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, by Leslie Hays

Scorpion Seal Authorization

This text is restricted to practitioners who have attended a Scorpion Seal Assembly or have been a Shambhala Lodge member prior to 1990. Please state the date and location where you attended SSA1 or received Lodge transmission.

-- Scorpion Seal of the Golden Sun, by Nalanda Translation

In 1975, Shambhala Lodge was founded, by a group of students dedicated to fostering enlightened society.

-- Shambhala Buddhism, by WikiMili

1975: Forms the organization that will become the Shambhala Lodge, a group of students dedicated to fostering enlightened society. Founds the Nalanda Translation Committee for the translation of Buddhist texts from Tibetan and Sanskrit. Establishes Ashoka Credit Union.

-- Chögyam Trungpa, by Wikipedia

The Council of Warriors and its Warrior General Martin Janowitz were empowered by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche in 1997 with the mission of re-energizing Shambhala’s world-wide commitment to realize enlightened societies in Nova Scotia and beyond and to promote the essential practices of Shambhala. The Halifax Kalapa Shambhala Society was initially formed as the Shambhala Lodge during the epoch of the Druk Sakyong, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. The Society included all Halifax practitioners who had received the authorizations to attend Kalapa Assemblies and to practice the Werma Sadhana and most recently was led by Warriors of the Centre Bob Vogler and Marguerite Drescher. As part of the transition to Shambhala’s current pattern of governance the Council of Warriors, worldwide ‘Lodges’ and Warriors of Centers were retired.

-- Windows!, by

Acharya Janowitz became a student of the Druk Sakyong (Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche) in 1970. He taught a wide array of programs and co-designed the first teacher training course. He was among a pilot group of Shambhala Training Directors. He traveled widely with the Druk Sakyong for many years and was named Kusung Dapon — senior Kusung (Court Protector) responsible for oversight of the personal guardian attendants of the Mukpo family, the Vajra Regent and his family, and the Kalapa Court. In 1997 he was appointed Warrior General of Shambhala by the Sakyong a position he held until 2010. The Warrior General is responsible for the leadership of the Council of Warriors, Warriors Centres and Kalapa Lodges worldwide. Acharya Janowitz is a member of Shambhala’s Touching the Earth Working Group and has developed Spirituality and Sustainability dharma programs. He was the founding Treasurer of Ashoka Credit Union. He was also founding Executive Director of Naropa Institute (now University) as well as a founding member of the Naropa Board of Trustees. Acharya Janowitz was Chair of the Board from 2000 to 2012. He has worked on numerous environmental sustainability and alternative energy development initiatives and is currently Chair of the Nova Scotia Roundtable on Environment and Sustainable Prosperity. He is also the Chair of The Authentic Leadership in Action Institute, or ALIA (formerly the Shambhala Institute) and Vice President and Practice Leader for Sustainable Development for Stantec Consulting. Stantec focuses on community sustainability, climate change adaptation, corporate social responsibility, sustainable infrastructure and strategic sustainability performance. He is a member of the Halifax Strategic Urban Partnership Core Leadership Group, Envision Nova Scotia Steering Committee, and Buddhist Climate Change Initiative.

-- Acharya Martin Janowitz, by

The following is part of a talk given by the Dorje Dradül to members of the Shambhala Lodge in January of 1979:

“... Also in our kingdom, we might have a percentage of citizens or subjects who might be Christians or Jews in their own right, and of their own faith. And it is necessary for them to take Shambhala Training as we run our country, and beyond that, they will find their own religious conviction of becoming true and good Christians or good Jews, speaking Hebrew perfectly. We should try to institute that particular approach. People of any faith that come along to our kingdom would practice their own discipline. Their theism has no problem if there is any contemplative discipline of their theism.

“So you are not taking this oath just to make people into Buddhists, but you are taking this oath so that you can afford to be beyond Buddhism. That's why we call it Shambhala. The oath water that you are going to drink is the water of greater vision.”

-- Shambhala Guide Resource Manual: A Resource for Directors, Students, and Centre Administrators


"Buddhism as Theosophy," Excerpt from Presenting Japanese Buddhism to the West: Orientalism, Occidentalism, and the Columbian Exposition
by Judith Snodgrass

Buddhism as Theosophy

Olcott had originally accepted the invitation to Ceylon as an opportunity to establish branches of the Theosophical Society. Once he became involved in local issues, however, the promotion of Buddhist reform took priority and he declared that the Theosophical Society in Ceylon would be "devoted to all matters concerning Buddhism and would be the means of spreading Buddhist propaganda."22 The non-Theosophical nature of the society in Ceylon was underlined by the formation of a small and entirely separate "Lanka Theosophical Society composed of Freethinkers and amateurs of occult research."23

Similarly, although the invitation to tour Japan included the inducement of forming Japanese branches of the Theosophical Society, the one local branch of the society created with "Hongwanji officials for officers" was, as even Olcott observed, a mere formality; it "never did any practical work as such."24 By the time of his visit to Japan Olcott had become occupied with the idea of uniting the various Buddhists of the world, creating a united front against Christianity, and a common platform from which to proselytize. This was to be achieved through the Buddhist Division of the Theosophical Society, led by Olcott himself, "for it goes without saying that it can never be effected by any existing organization known as a Buddhistic agency."25 By the end of his first tour of Japan, Olcott was so enthusiastic about the plan that he considered resigning from the Theosophical movement to devote himself entirely to building up "an International Buddhistic League that might send the Dharma like a tidal wave around the world." Nothing eventuated from this idea because it was opposed by both Madame Blavatsky and "a far higher personage than she."26

Olcott's personal ambition for his visit to Japan was to initiate this movement by uniting Southern and Northern Buddhists, and to this end he carried a letter in Sanskrit from Sumangala, representing Theravada Buddhists, to the chief priests of Japanese Buddhism expressing the hope that the Buddhists of Asia would unite for the good of the whole Eastern world.27 As Olcott informed the gathering of the heads of the Eight Buddhist Sects of Japan: "My mission is not to propagate the peculiar doctrines of anyone sect but to unite you in one sacred undertaking."28 While Meiji Buddhist reformers were similarly committed to a united, nonsectarian platform, their goal was a union of Japanese Buddhist sects. Any vision they might have held of union between Mahayana and Theravada Buddhists was not to be achieved by reduction to a lowest common denominator, as Olcott proposed, but by encompassing the Theravada within the ultimate truth of Japanese Mahayana.

Why did Olcott wish to promote Buddhist unity? One reason was that he was opposed to the Christian missionary effort in Asia and believed that only by banding together could Buddhists be strong enough to compete with the Christians and counter the immense strength and wealth of the Christians with their Bible, tract, Sunday school, and missionary societies.29 Another reason was his Theosophical interpretation of Buddhism, which saw the Buddha as one of the Adepts and equated his teaching with Theosophy, the occult science that lay at the root of all true knowledge.30 Olcott's own account of taking Buddhist vows in Ceylon shows that he rejected all existing Buddhist practice: "[T]o be a regular Buddhist is one thing, and to be a debased modern Buddhist sectarian is quite another." He also claimed the greatest possible freedom for personal interpretation: "[ i]f Buddhism contained a single dogma that we were compelled to accept, we would not have taken the pansil nor remained Buddhists ten minutes."31 Olcott's public avowal of "Buddhism" was for him simply a statement of his commitment to Theosophy.32 "Our Buddhism was that of the Master-Adept Gautama Buddha, which was identically the Wisdom Religion of the Aryan Upanishads, and the soul of all the ancient world-faiths."33

Consequently, although Olcott's interpretation of Buddhism, like that of Pali scholars, denied the legitimacy of contemporary Buddhists whose practices he regarded as degenerations from the original teachings of the Master-Adept, it diverged significantly in other respects. It did not privilege Theravada Buddhism over the later Mahayana Buddhism, for it was here that he most readily found the "Mahatmas" and the "siddhis" of Theosophy. He also accepted the doctrine of the succession of Buddhas, the teaching that Sakyamuni was one in a line of Buddhas that are born in this world to revive the perennial dharma. This doctrine, though found in the earliest Pali sutras, was typically dismissed as "priestly elaboration" because it conflicted with the historical view that Buddhism was founded by Sakyamuni. It did, however, conform to the Theosophical account of the Adepts, conveniently providing Madame Blavatsky's "pre-Vedic Buddhism."

Olcott's Buddhist publications borrowed freely from the sources of both Northern and Southern Buddhism to support his Theosophical mission. The Golden Rules of Buddhism (1887) contained a chapter called "Adeptship a Fact" -- an overt appropriation of Buddhism to the cause of Theosophy -- that depended on selected passages from Chinese Buddhist texts.34 These liberties did not go unnoticed. Olcott's first publication on the subject was The Buddhist Catechism (1881), a Buddhist version of those "elementary handbooks so effectively used among Western Christian sects."35 It was intended for use in Buddhist schools and Sunday schools, to protest against and substitute for the Christian Bible tracts used to teach English in Sinhalese schools. The Buddhist Catechism incorporated Buddhist "legitimation" of concepts of Theosophical interest such as auras, hypnotism and mesmerism, the capacity for occult powers, and displays of phenomena.36 Apart from such dubious additions, it was a gross simplification of the doctrine and caused considerable uneasiness among the monks who supervised its production. Olcott commented that it would not have been published if he were Asian, but "knowing something of the bull-dog pertinacity of the Anglo-Saxon character, and holding me in real personal affection, they finally succumbed to my importunity."37 Even with these concessions, an impasse over the definition of nirvana almost aborted the project. Olcott attempted to suggest the "survival of some sort of 'subjective entity' in that state of existence," claiming that this was the view of Northern Buddhists, but "the two erudite critics caught me up at the first glance at the paragraph."38 On this occasion Olcott reluctantly modified his entry. He did nevertheless manage to produce in the Catechism a version of Buddhism that supported and propagated his Theosophical beliefs, and this anecdote-suggesting as it does that the work was produced under the strict supervision of specialists -- claimed authentication for it as an accurate interpretation of Buddhism.

Although the Catechism served its immediate political purpose and survived through multiple editions in several languages, Olcott's erstwhile patron Mohottivatte began composing his own catechism in 1887, explaining specifically the need to reassert the true doctrines of Buddhism against the false teachings many Western sympathizers had begun to incorporate into the religion.39 Since this incident occurred before Olcott's trip to Japan, the invitation was presumably offered in the knowledge of the shortcomings of Olcott's mastery of Buddhism.

Because he perceived a relation between Northern Buddhism and Theosophy, Olcott was predisposed to discovering Theosophy in Japanese sects. "It is averred ... that the Shingons are the esoteric Buddhists of the country. They know of the Mahatmas, the Siddhis (spiritual powers in man), and quite readily admit that there were priests in their order who exercised them."40 "Esoteric" here refers not to the Japanese Buddhist technical term mikkyo but to the Theosophical use of the word as it appeared in Sinnett's Esoteric Buddhism, published in 1883, a sense specifically denied by Japanese Buddhist priests.41 Olcott's comment that Fenollosa and Bigelow's "Guru," presumably the Tendai master from Miidera, was "a mystic and partial adept (they say)"42 reveals both his expectations of Mahayana Buddhism and his skepticism that a Japanese Buddhist priest could have such powers. His skepticism was also apparent in his disparagement of Japanese paintings of Rakan (Sanskrit arhat, Buddhist sages). To Olcott they were mere "caricatures ... of Mahatmas."43 Japanese Buddhism was, after all, "debased modern sectarian Buddhism" and was to be measured against Theosophy, which was for him "regular Buddhism."

Japanese disdain for Olcott's understanding of Buddhism became apparent in 1891 when he returned to Japan with the draft of the pamphlet Fundamental Buddhistic Beliefs. This was a grossly simplistic reduction of Buddhism to a mere fourteen points "upon which all Buddhists could agree," which Olcott intended to use as the platform for the proposed International Buddhistic League. Like the Catechism, it presented Buddhism at the level of sophistication of a Sunday school tract. Olcott, misinterpreting the courtesy shown him on his previous tour, had expected his document to be signed by all the leading abbots, the promoters and supporters of his first visit. To his disappointment, the Japanese refused to sign "these condensed bits of doctrine," complaining that "there was infinitely more than that in the Mahayana."44 He persuaded one member of the committee to sign by arguing the vital necessity of the Northern and Southern churches offering a united front to a hostile world. However, even this endorsement appears with the qualification that the fourteen points are "accepted as included within the body of Northern Buddhism" as "a basket of soil is to Mt. Fuji," an attempt to avoid the implication that the extract represented the essence of Buddhism.45 A partial understanding of Buddhism was acceptable, even commendable, coming from a sympathetic Westerner. It could not, however, be endorsed as institutionally accepted truth, even as a political expedient.

Olcott did eventually manage to obtain signatures from representatives of most of the sects, if not at the level of authority he had expected. Among the Japanese names are those of Kazen Gunaratna and Tokuzawa Chieza, for example, two young priests sent to Ceylon to study Pali. They had no institutional authority and were guests at Adyar at the time. One sect that is not represented is the Jadoshinshu, from which came the principal benefactors of his earlier tour and, incidentally, the official, if inactive, representatives of the local branch of the Buddhist Theosophical Society formed in 1889. Olcott, upset at this rejection, fell back behind the defense of Western scholarship and its model of Original Buddhism as the ascetic, world-rejecting, and egalitarian teaching of the historical Sakyamuni. On his first visit he had favorably characterized the Jadoshinshu as "the Lutherans of Japan."46 After the rejection, he wrote that they occupied "an entirely anomalous position in Buddhism, as their priests marry-in direct violation of the rule established by the Buddha for his Sangha" (that is, they were not ascetic). They were "the cleverest sectarian managers in all Japan" (not otherworldly), and "the most aristocratic religious body in the empire" (not egalitarian).47 Olcott, the "champion of Buddhism," exploited the versatility of the Orientalist stereotype against modern Buddhists. Those who conformed to it were criticized for not meeting the needs of the modern world. Those who did meet the needs of the world were simply not real Buddhists and could be criticized for failing to uphold the ideals.
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