I know that many are feeling despair as we witness each further step of Shambhala leaders covering up the sexual violence that has happened. It feels important to reflect back that Yes, there are good reasons why you might feel despair. It is also important to know that you are not alone. I’d love to see people sharing stories about how they are forming good lives beyond Shambhala. I know people are creating new strategies as they work with what they know in their heart and what is happening in Shambhala, and they are exploring new ways of forming a good life. It would be truly wonderful to see people sharing their creativity and novel ideas!
It is my deepest hope that Jane Ross and Justin Rezzonico will be able to get their peer-run discussion group going soon. Having a place to connect with others is important, and it is wonderful that the two of them stepped forward with the inspiration to start this up. Running a discussion group that is a safe place to talk about painful topics is no small thing to do – it is a lot of work and requires a lot of courage. I hope there will be LOTS of community support for Jane and Justin’s work as they explore how to get the new discussion group going.
In the mean time, I am sharing Richard’s recent response to my “Wrap up” blog a week ago, with the hope that people will know they are not alone, and that it is possible to kindle a small flame of goodness, knowing and truth within your heart – Always.
Thank you for allowing me to share your words here, Richard:
As you may know some acharya’s are currently doing their annual visitation/training visits around the USA and the globe. They apparently haven’t skipped a beat in their service to this deeply flawed organization. (Have any of them resigned in protest?) I mention this only to make public the fact that some are downplaying the reality of the BPS work in said Shambhala forums, work that has been painstakingly accumulated and bravely published by yourself and others. What an incredible courageous effort it has been too. Thank you so much!
The acharya I witnessed plainly states that BPS is a questionable effort fueled only by the energy of fanatical ex-devotees set upon destroying SMR and (of course) sustained by a muck-raking press and cash-starved lawyers. Yes sadly, this person is in deep denial and obviously flawed in his own devotion to SMR. I have witnessed this personally but in this forum hesitate to name the culprit.
In addition, some city centers are also still teaching from SMR’s books and consider his legacy valuable enough to ignore the many contributions from other grander more valid and genuine Tibetan Buddhist sources. Indeed, how callous and insensitive can they be? (I left a Weekthun in December 2018 in protest just after two days due to this example.)
On a personal note, I’ve since relinquished all affiliation to Shambhala, it’s leaders and the teachings. Can a rusty faulty spigot with a polluted source deliver the pure teachings of such a rich and valuable tradition? What Would Buddha Do? I’ve asked myself these questions many times over during the past few months. Some, of course, may disagree with my conclusions but I tend to rest in the fact that Shambhala is and maybe always has been a terrible distortion of the Buddha’s teachings and his pure Dharma. Can Shambhala be an elaborately constructed scheme merely designed and developed to attract attention and contributions from unknowing and deluded westerners in support of a personal lavish reputation and lifestyle. Indeed a lifestyle that far exceeded in wealth and luxury what the founders may have enjoyed in their original homeland or in a more humble setting. (For example: Thich Nhat Hanh) Such wealth and luxury can only generate corruption and by its very ‘hierarchical’ nature become a self-serving organ generating continued wealth and fame for its creators at the top. (Please reference World Systems Theory for more information on social/political/economic systems.)
Again, thank you for your noble efforts and may life be generous and kind toward you and yours in the future.