BPS Wraps Up 2018

With February just around the corner, it’s time to wrap up the activities of last year. Here are some highlights, right off the bat:

Three police investigations of Shambhala leaders

The most important wrap up news is that there are now three police investigations open, two are directly resulting from the BPS Phase 3 report and the third is of a related Shambhala teacher in Boulder. Our perseverance in bringing healing light to the sexualized violence in Shambhala was successful, and we now have police continuing the work. It is likely that these three initial investigations will lead to the opening of more investigations. This is a critical step in the community’s healing process.

BPS 6-week therapy group for SMR abuse survivors

I’m pleased to share that BPS arranged for a 6-week group led by an experienced trauma therapist for the SMR survivors who contributed to the BPS reports. That group finished last week, and I understand it was a really good experience for everyone who participated, including the therapist.

BPS Phase 1 – 3 reports delivered to the Dalai Lama

I am also pleased to share that the three 2018 Buddhist Project Sunshine reports have been delivered to the Dalai Lama’s lama abuse office requesting the Sakyong Mipham be investigated.

Buddhist Project Sunshine Financials for 2018

Please find reporting on how the donations were used in 2018 in our Year End report: BPS 2018 Financial Report

Academic interest in Buddhist Project Sunshine

In December I was approached by two students from universities in the United States, each of whom was doing their final term project on BPS. They interviewed me for their projects, and will be forwarding them to share through the BPS website. Stay tuned!
Here in Canada, I have been approached by Dalhousie to give a presentation to students of the Faculty of Computer Science about the role my computer science education played in creating a successful social justice movement in BPS. The hope is that it will be of particular inspiration to women computer science students.

The Buddhist Project Sunshine On-line Discussion Group Model

Participants in the BPS Phase 2 Discussion Group filled in before and after surveys, and the preliminary data show significant improvement in their scores from their participation in the group. As promised, I will be documenting the cutting edge therapeutic model I designed for our online community in a published report by mid-2019. For all those who gave permission to use their survey data, rest assured that your survey data is being kept securely and confidentially.

An on-going BPS Online Discussion Group

In October I put forward a proposal for a self-sustaining long-term BPS online discussion group. In response, Jane Ross and Justin Rezzonico felt the community is ready for a peer run group, as an off shoot of the three formally moderated BPS discussion groups held in 2018. The discussion group community was in strong support of the peer-run proposal. We look forward to Jane and Justin announcing the opening of the new peer-support online group.

Some 2018 closing gratitudes for BPS (Thank you!)

As we wrap up this year, I’d like to share two messages that came in just before we shut our email down; both speak to the benefit of Buddhist Project Sunshine’s work:

From a Phase 3 discussion group participant: “Andrea Winn Having a community to share within is tremendously helpful. I have struggled with the questions in this open discussion for at least ten years, [without] reading and talking to anyone who was involved enough to understand the dilemma I faced. You have helped many others with your passion and dedication. Community sharing lets people out of the loneliness that imprisons victims of abuse.”

And from a community member who benefitted from our investigation: “The work you’ve done with BPS has benefited me in a deep way- showing me I don’t owe anything to Shambhala. Up til recently I still imagined I had a chain around my ankle which isn’t there at all. “

What’s next?

The BPS staff and volunteers are taking time during the winter to digest the amazing journey we had in 2018; we also have a lot of pain and grief to process. The project shifted into scaled-down mode on November 30th to give us space for this.

Our plan is to simply operate a news service January – April, to keep the community informed about the ongoing investigations of Osel Mukpo and the police investigations of both Mr. Mukpo and other Shambhala leaders. We will do this as long as we can raise funds to for this scaled down service. (See details in the BPS New Year’s message.) We will evaluate in May to see if there is funding and energy for BPS to continue in the Spring.

As I complete two years of work on BPS, I am looking forward to some downtime and returning my attention to my normal career as a retirement vision coach. I see retirees as an important source of wisdom and guidance in our current social climate; they have years of experience and much to offer in mentoring younger people struggling today. It feels important to empower them to bring their gifts into this world. I am doing my part by offering a workbook for planning a deeply fulfilling retirement, The Golden Years Legacy Play Workbook, which I’m learning how to promote on Amazon.

A big THANK YOU to the BPS volunteers!

In closing, I’d like to thank all the volunteers who’ve helped BPS bring light and healing to abusive behavior that up until now has been accepted and hidden in Shambhala. I invite you most heartily to celebrate what we have achieved in a truly unforgettable year of Buddhist social activism!

I am sending my personal wish for authentic healing for all those impacted by the harm within Shambhala, and that the good-hearted community people have experienced within BPS will inspire them to seek out more connection and community as they continue to grow and find healing.

Wishing peace for all beings,

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3 Responses to BPS Wraps Up 2018

  1. Tenzin says:

    Thank you so much!! The work of BPS is amazing. May the survivors continue to heal. May the slime and muck in Shambhala continue to be exposed and healed.

  2. Barbara H says:

    Andrea: Thank you for all you have contributed to the healing of spiritual abuse throughout the world! The amount you have accomplished is amazing. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  3. Andrea:

    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 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.

    RLA

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