I pray to the Wisdom Dakini to bless the final week of this Werma Vigil. To make a fuller, more celebratory offering for this final week, my intention is to write short daily blog posts. May love and healing spread through this!
The werma practice is a core Shambhala practice about enlightened leadership, which surely our world could use. Although the Shambhala teachings open the doorway to connect with manifest enlightened leadership, the Shambhala community was founded in emotional disconnection, boundary violations, violence, and for many, gross personal harm. This is a striking contradiction! I hope that once community members ground themselves, they will work to resolve this contradiction in a deeply beneficial way.
At this point, the community seems a long way from such a resolution. I understand that 130+ members requested abhisheka with Osel Mukpo, a man about whom numerous criminal allegations have been carefully documented. In my time with Buddhist Project Sunshine I received a basic “Cult 101” education from Richard Edelman, who played a key role in Phase 2 of the project. Richard explained what is called, “the double down.” In the double down, cult members see behaviour in their leader that they don’t feel comfortable with, and instead of staying with that and resolving it, they “double down”, which means they double their devotion to the leader to block out the uncomfortable information. I suspect this is the case with these 130+ students who requested this abhisheka. I have no idea why the leadership decided to approve this abhisheka, other than to guess that they are (1) incompetent, (2) hand picked by those who are truly controlling the leadership, and (3) are operating under the loyalty oath they swore to Osel Mukpo upon being placed in this leadership role.
I have witnessed the profound darkness of those who have truly been directing this community – those who have worked hard to cover up crimes… those who with Kasung/Art-Of-War strategies maintain the old, dysfunctional order… those who created a pseudo-leadership structure to appear as if it was a “fresh start”.
I’m not sure what it will take to pierce this darkness. I tried to do it with the third BPS report, “The Nail.” Things were clearly spelled out in that report, and there is no turning back from what was presented there. And yet the cloud of dark, confusion-generating energy remains.
This type of corruption and cover up continued in the Catholic Church until class action lawsuits threatened to bankrupt the church. That is literally what it took to turn things around for the Catholics. I think of this when I chant the Invocation for Raising Windhorse as part of the werma liturgy, specifically when I chant the line that reads, “Strife, enmity, scandal, warfare, lawsuits, recurrent calamity, and so on — Pacify all such obstructing discord.” Perhaps if we follow in the footsteps of the Catholics, “obstructing discord” is necessary to pierce darkness such as this.
But I will tell you that I felt moved to offer this 21-Day Werma Vigil in the hope that there could be another way. That we could call down the blessings of the Rigden, the enlightened leadership principle. That through the power of love and a more sacred devotion than we could ever muster in a cult, that this could bring about a change in the hearts of community members, both those that stayed and those who have left. And that it could open a crack for the light of grounded integrity in Shambhala leadership.
So I offer to you today my request that you open your heart, in whatever way feels possible, to a better outcome for our community. An outcome that includes genuine healing and repair. An outcome that includes leaders stepping forward from unexpected places and bringing clarity and sanity to this situation. An outcome that manifests these teachings in such a brilliantly true way, that the cloud of darkness enveloping this community shrinks and disappears.
Love can melt the brittle shell. We can stop playing games to avoid the inevitable, and we can begin to clean up this mess. Those who have caused harm can find ways to be accountable for what they have done and make whatever repair is possible. And in the process of this cleaning up, we can discover new meaning in the teachings and open our hearts to being sacred vessels living the Shambhala teachings.
Let us be willing to be with the uncomfortable truths. Let us be genuine courageous compassionate warriors. It is time to plant the banner of sanity.
This vigil is for quelling suffering and invoking authentic healing for the hearts of those impacted by: (1) the Shambhala community tragedy, (2) the situation between Iran and the US, and (3) the bush fires in Australia.
Everyone is welcome to join. If you do werma practice, great! If you don’t, feel free to do any form of meditation or prayer. I welcome you joining me in this 21-day vigil!