Healing trauma in Shambhala and other Buddhist communities

Dear friends,

I am hearing from a growing number of people who feel traumatized by reading social media, specifically from reading posts on the Shambhala Facebook page and the Shambhala Office of Social Engagement Facebook page. I am very interested in our shifting into a more healing mode. Please join me in this.

I encourage good self-care practices, such as disengaging from social media for periods of time, like doing a meditation retreat. We need to create space for our heart to breathe, as we move through this awakening process together. If we are constantly “plugged in”, we will burn out our system. It is important to create a discipline of unplugging when we need to.

Trauma healing must always involve right pacing. In order to know our own individual pacing, we need to be able to listen to what our heart needs – we need to be able to listen to our boundaries. My favourite definition of boundaries comes from Dr. David Gruder, Energy Psychology Conference Nov. 2005: 

Boundaries definition: Any limit I need to honor in order to love or work with you without resentment and with integrity. 

What boundaries aren’t: A boundary is not a line drawn in the sand, a position, posture, ideology, ultimatum or other tool for manipulation or control.

I hope this can be of some help to you for listening to your own boundaries, and honouring them, so you can rest in your own integrity. I am constantly having to work with this myself. I feel pulled by my sense of duty to this work, and at the same time, I am working very hard to see how to take care of myself so I am leading from a place of integrity.

I very much hope you will join us for the Buddhist Project Sunshine moderated discussion forum that will be opening soon. This will be a very different social media experience, because it is structured to facilitate a community healing process. For full details about this and all of our initiatives, including our mediation process with Shambhala International, be sure to sign up for our email list. (Full details at the bottom of this page)

Richard Edelman, yogi scholar, has become an important part of the leadership of Buddhist Project Sunshine. He has an extensive background as a Vajrayana practitioner, and he is a long-time scholar in many areas including the history of Tibetan Buddhism, the legacy of trauma that came out of historic Tibet, contemporary stories of abuse in Buddhist sanghas, and trauma healing. Richard has generously shared an excerpt from an upcoming essay. Some may find this enlightening in the context of the current situation of Buddhist communities who are healing from sexual trauma.



When we name abuse and trauma, we ring an awakening bell, waking us up to those who have been traumatized by the abuse rampant in today’s world. We are living through an era during which significant numbers of people are waking up to the global ubiquity of traumatic abuse. Stories about the many kinds of traumatic abuse continually unfold in the news and if we haven’t been affected ourselves, we surely have friends and family who have.

Fortunately, during the past few decades, an entire field of trauma studies and activism has emerged to illuminate the karma of traumatic abuse—revealing its causes and effects, how it affects our lives, and demanding healing and liberation. To become fully human in today’s world, we all need to absorb this new wisdom regarding traumatic abuse, especially if we seek to manifest enlightened society. For if we do not, we condemn future generations to even deeper suffering as recipients of an ancient multigenerational legacy of traumatic abuse. This is a clear and challenging existential decision we must all make—will we transmit trauma or genuine bodhicitta to future generations?

By recognizing that we are all in some way affected by traumatic abuse, we begin to both deepen our wisdom regarding the nature of trauma and abuse and awaken a lifeworld in which the dharma can flourish. This is why the time has come for all of us committed to the flourishing of the dharma to cultivate and express our bodhicitta by listening to the trauma stories of those who have been abused, especially when they have been abused within the dharmasphere. In our lifetime, we have discovered things about traumatic abuse that evidently were not sufficiently understood within the origin cultures of the Buddhadharma. It is clear that a synergistic understanding of both duhkha and trauma has become indispensable today. Without effective wisdom about trauma and abuse, our efforts to generate bodhicitta in the world will be blindsided.

When the Buddhadharma came to Tibet, Guru Rinpoche was called upon by the Tibetan court to vanquish the obstacles to it taking root in the land of the snows, transforming enemies of the truth into its champions. When sectarianism endangered the unoppressed manifestation of the dharma in 19th century Tibet, the Rime masters recognized the challenge before them and rose to meet it. Because traumatic abuse is the major block to a lifeworld of awakening and compassion today, we can draw inspiration from dharmic ancestors like Guru Rinpoche and the Rime masters in meeting its challenges. Buddhist Project Sunshine may help kindle a trauma-informed 21st century vinaya process, opening a portal to yet another surprising renaissance of living bodhicitta during a time of darkness.

Excerpted from “Trauma and Dharma” By Richard Edelman Copyright 2018


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Shambhala International and Buddhist Project Sunshine Mediation

Andrea Winn and Kalapa Council interview on Halifax CBC radio news yesterday

Buddhist Project Sunshine Moderated Discussion Forum – Anticipated to open June 1st

Call for Volunteers!

New Buddhist Project Sunshine website to be unveiled soon!

A personal update from Andrea

What did Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche say about samaya?


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