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Buddhist Project Sunshine

The sun rising over Halifax Harbour (Photo taken by Andrea Winn)

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Buddhist Project Sunshine (BPS) was a remarkably successful grass roots independent healing initiative started by second-generation Shambhalian, Andrea Michelle Winn. In February 2017 she launched BPS for the Shambhala Buddhist community and people who were forced to leave this community. She wrote the Phase 1 Final Report (available below) at the end of the first year of the project, and this caused the Shambhala leadership to publicly acknowledge the widespread sexualized violence in the community.

The Phase 2 report exposed serious allegations of sexual misconduct and sexual assault by  Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, the head of the community, and led to him stepping down from all duties. In addition, the leading governing body, the Kalapa Council, resigned en masse.

Our focus was on bringing healing light to the violence in the community through professionally investigated allegations against the top leaders. We understand sexualized violence occurs within other patterns of violence, including emotional and spiritual bullying, racism, homophobia, and other oppressions. We also worked with people from other Buddhist communities who have experienced similar issues.

Our biggest contributions were through (1) professional investigative work, and (2) offering moderated social media discussion forums for people to discuss these issues and how they are experiencing them on a personal level. Our investigations directly led to the police opening investigations of Osel Mukpo and John Weber. The project completed after two years. At the time of completion the first Shambhala leader, Bill Karelis, was incarcerated in Boulder, Colorado.

Andrea formally closed Buddhist Project Sunshine in February 2019.  Since then, she has devoted herself to developing healing programming for people who have experienced relational trauma and/or spiritual betrayal in religious and spiritual communities, like what we have seen in Shambhala. To see Andrea’s current work, visit: Heal Your Heart Through Meditation

This page is an archive of the work of the project.

 

Andrea is someone of immense courage. She has dared to speak out about the destructive behaviours of a group of powerful people, bringing light and healing into the darkness. We praise and honour her.

Jo-Anne Raynes

Columbia Journalism Review Article

The Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) is an American magazine for professional journalists that has been published by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism since 1961. Its contents include news and media industry trends, analysis, professional ethics, and stories behind news. (From Wikipedia)

CJR published the following article about Buddhist Project Sunshine and Andrea Winn's role as a catalyst in opening the path of healing in the Shambhala Buddhist community:

The survivor who broke the Shambhala sexual assault story

An overview of BPS

Academic students in the United States did term projects on Buddhist Project Sunshine in 2018. Here is a nice synopsis of the work of BPS done by Marina Sturla, Fordham University

View this concise summary of BPS's work


Buddhist Project Sunshine Resources

Buddhist Project Sunshine Phase 1 report This is the groundbreaking report that caused Shambhala Leadership to publicly admit the widespread sexualized violence in the Shambhala community

Buddhist Project Sunshine Phase 2 report This is  report led to the Kalapa Council resigning en masse and the Sakyong stepped down from all duties pending an investigation into his alleged sexual assaults.

Buddhist Project Sunshine Phase 3 report This report detailed more serious allegations against Osel Mukpo (aka Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche), including sex with underage girls.

Buddhist Project Sunshine Facebook Group

Follow us on Twitter

Articles published as a result of Buddhist Project Sunshine

Healing sexualized violence in the Shambhala Buddhist community, Justin Whitaker

Healing a Heart and a Community: Andrea Winn and Project Sunshine, Justin Whitaker, Buddhist Door Global

BUDDHIST GROUP ADMITS ‘ABHORRENT SEXUAL BEHAVIOR’ BY TEACHERS, Tim Porter, Newsweek, US Edition

Shambhala International Owns Up to Past Abuse, But What Comes Next Remains Unclear, Wendy Joan Biddlecombe, Tricycle

Beerput van seksueel wangedrag open bij Shambhala, Joop Ha Hoek

How Did It Happen? Understanding and Healing Abuse in Buddhist Communities, Sandra Pawula

Shambhala, The Largest Western Tibetan Buddhist Organization, admits abuse by its leaders, Justin Whitaker

Buddhist group admits sexual abuse by teachers, Sarah Marsh, The Guardian

Note: These are the first articles published as a result of BPS. There have been many, many more published over the past few months. Simply do a Google search to see more!

Shambhala International Communications

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Andrea M. Winn, MEd, MCS,  founded Buddhist Project Sunshine in February 2017. She was brought up in the Shambhala Buddhist community and has been meditating for over 40 years. She has Masters degree level training in trauma healing. Andrea brings her foundation of meditative discipline, healing gifts and her skill as a Coach to founding and leading Buddhist Project Sunshine, a project to bring healing light to the wound of sexualized violence in the Shambhala Buddhist community, and in Buddhist communities in the West. Get your copy of the ground breaking Project Sunshine Report that has rocked the community into a new age of awakening and healing. Also, see client testimonials about Andrea’s leadership coaching.