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Thu Jul 12, 2018, 04:20 AM

The 'King' of Shambhala Buddhism, Undone by #MeToo


In a shrine on the sixth floor of a Manhattan office building, a photo of a man in golden robes hangs above an altar. Another photo of him sits upon a throne.

He is the head of one of the largest Buddhist organizations in the West, Shambhala International, a network of more than 200 outposts in over 30 countries where thousands come for training in meditation and mindfulness and some delve into deeper mysteries.

The man is Mipham Rinpoche. He is known as the Sakyong, a Tibetan word that translates roughly as king, and his students take vows to follow him that are binding across lifetimes. These days, they are feeling sad, confused, angry and betrayed.

Late last month, a former Shambhala teacher released a report alleging that the Sakyong had sexually abused and exploited some of his most devoted female followers for years. Women quoted in the report wrote of drunken groping and forcefully extracted sexual favors. The report said that senior leaders at Shambhala — an organization whose motto is “Making Enlightened Society Possible” — knew of the Sakyong’s misconduct and covered it up.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/11/nyregion/shambhala-sexual-misconduct.html

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Reply The 'King' of Shambhala Buddhism, Undone by #MeToo (Original post)
Voltaire2 Thursday OP
vlyons Thursday #1
3Hotdogs Thursday #2
edhopper Thursday #3
MineralMan Thursday #4
Major Nikon Saturday #6
MineralMan Saturday #7
Major Nikon Friday #5
Lordquinton Sunday #10
Iggo Saturday #8
Voltaire2 Saturday #9

Response to Voltaire2 (Original post)

Thu Jul 12, 2018, 05:06 AM

1. Another one bites the dust

This is so very disappointing to me. Not the first time that I have learned of a spiritual teacher abusing his position. I was just beginning to get interested in Shambhala, because his Father's (Trungpa) books and teachings had impressed me so much. And the idea of an enlightened society is very attractive. But there was just something that didn't feel right about venerating the Mukpo family and pledging allegience to a man, a guru.

There is only one thing that you can do after setting someone up on a pedestal, and that is to knock him off. Which just goes to show how wise is the Buddhist admonishion to be very very careful and cautious in choosing a spiritual advisor. The most important power and right that we each possess is the right to say "No." No, I won't do that, go there, follow him, support that. No!!!

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Response to vlyons (Reply #1)

Thu Jul 12, 2018, 08:48 AM

2. You can still read the books, follow the advice but not join the organization.

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Response to Voltaire2 (Original post)

Thu Jul 12, 2018, 08:59 AM

3. Reminds me of

the Beatles experience with the Maharishi.

"Sexy Sade, what have you done?
You made a fool of everyone..."

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Response to Voltaire2 (Original post)

Thu Jul 12, 2018, 09:10 AM

4. When you are adored by many, temptations are frequent.

So many people who have celebrity learn. When they succumb to the temptation to take advantage of the adoration of followers, the results are often disastrous. So some celebrities have learned.

That is why the more famous you are, and the more popular you are, the more careful you must be with those who idolize you. It is a short trip from someone worshiping you enough to have sex with you to an adoring follower you have cast aside exposing your weaknesses.

So many have learned.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #4)

Sat Jul 14, 2018, 12:19 PM

6. There's a bit of a difference

While it’s true that any position of power is subject to corruption, religions generally teach a universal truth that transcends any human ethical or legal considerations. When you pretend to speak for a power higher than that of humans, the level of trust endowed also transcends human considerations. That’s how folks like FLDS, Koresh, et al manage to operate at levels most wouldn’t tolerate. That’s why such organizations need to police themselves to a much higher degree, yet rarely is this the case, and more often those organizations tend to shield such individuals under that same umbrella of trust.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #6)

Sat Jul 14, 2018, 12:36 PM

7. Yes, of course.

Sexual abuse is a person-to-person thing. The more trust a person has from others, the easier it is to abuse that trust. Religion is the ultimate trust mechanism. Since belief and faith are based on pure trust, and not evidence, emotional connections are strong. The religious leader who abuses people sexually relies on that trust to allow going beyond normal ethical standards.

And, since religious organizations rely on the trust of their followers, they are always loathe to expose violations of trust, since they damage the entire organization. It's a vicious circle.

Still, it works in other places as well. Opportunities for abuse occur in almost every human endeavor. Only a strong ethical compass prevents individuals from abusing those who place their trust in them. Not all religious leaders possess such an ethical compass, clearly.

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Response to Voltaire2 (Original post)

Fri Jul 13, 2018, 10:19 PM

5. It's a shame Buddhism doesn't have a clear path to redemption for such transgressions

He could have gotten a mulligan.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #5)

Sun Jul 15, 2018, 08:13 PM

10. Oh snap!

He's gonna be paying for this for many lifetimes.

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Response to Voltaire2 (Original post)

Sat Jul 14, 2018, 07:53 PM

8. Hey, guys!

Stop treating women like shit.

It's not that hard.

You just stop and then don't start again.

Try it. You'll feel better. I promise.

(Okay, sorry for the slightly off topic rant. Rant off now.)

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Response to Iggo (Reply #8)

Sat Jul 14, 2018, 09:21 PM

9. It seems to be practically impossible for most of us.

Men are basically broke. Some of us repair ourselves.

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