Shambhala, one of the largest Buddhist organizations in the West, plans to develop a “comprehensive plan to address abuse.”
The Kalapa Council, the highest leadership body in Shambhala Buddhism, published a statement Monday addressing “sexual harm and inappropriate relations” in the community.
“The #metoo movement is shining a light on sexual harassment, abuse, and gender harm worldwide, and we in Shambhala are going through our own collective wake-up call,” says the letter.
“In our complex history there have been instances of sexual harm and inappropriate relations between members and between teachers and students,” the statement continues. “We are still emerging from a time in which such cases were not always addressed with care and skill. In particular, inappropriate or even abhorrent sexual behavior by some men in the community has caused some women to feel unsafe. Members have at times not felt heard or have been treated as though they are a problem when they tried to bring complaints forward. We are heartbroken that such pain and injustice still occurs.”
In the statement, leaders of the community acknowledge that “our ignorance or uncertainty as to how to address the systemic nature of these harms has made us a part of the problem. We must do better.” The leadership will undertake training to “better understand power dynamics and gender harm,” and begin to develop “a comprehensive plan to address abuse and discrimination within our Shambhala culture.” They will communicate next steps in that process in the next month.