Shambhala Community Care and Conduct
Shambhala Care and Conduct Initiatives
The Shambala Board, who took their seat as Interim Board on October 17th 2018, has as one of their primary focuses the ongoing care of the community. In order to fulfill this responsibility, the board has taken several steps to address gaps in the current Care and Conduct Policy, as well as directly work to repair misconduct and findings of misuse and abuse of power that have occured in the community. The Board, working closely with the Process Team – Code of Conduct Support Group and the Director of Community Care and Conduct, has taken the following actions intended to restore trust through inclusivity, transparency, accountability, and care:
- December 2020: Announcement and beginning of Diversity and Inclusivity Community Grant Projects.
- December 2020: Child Protection Policy working group launches resource: “Implementing the Shambhala CPP with a View Toward Preventing Abuse.”
- December 2020: Therapy and Counselling offering to support community members through the Peoples’ Counselling Clinic.
- September 2020: Creation of Heart of Recovery Coordinator Group and HoR webpage.
- August 2020: The new Code of Conduct Policies were released to the community and a Code of Conduct Hub website was launched. Translated policies released in November 2020.
- August 2020: Three community grants awarded in the area of Care and Conduct: 1) A Germany-wide initiative for culture change and awareness raising around unconscious bias, 2) A trauma-informed mindfulness instruction training pilot with Shastris, 3) “Inclusivity Warriors” project to identify and compile Shambhala resources and trainings related to diversity and inclusivity.
- July 2020: Announced the Right Use of Power Training and invited Shambhala leaders to be early adopters of Right Use of Power skills.
- May 2020: Shambhala Board announces the beginning of a Reparative Process for Shambhala and design work begins with Robert Wright and team.
- June 2020: Announced a new community granting process focusing on diversity and inclusivity.
- March – June 2020: Offered 30 Preparing the Ground presentations across the community in order to discuss further and deeper the principles of the new Code of Conduct framework: inclusivity, transparency, accountability, and care.
- March 2020: Offered a webinar on the Child Protection Policy and began forming a Child Protection Council.
- February 2020: Released the Child Protection Policy (CPP) which came into effect on February 26th, currently available in English and Spanish. Began Background checks for people responsible for activities with children.
- January 2020: Hired a Director of Community Care and Conduct.
- August 2019: Robert Wright, MSW, RSW, Executive Director of the People’s Counseling Clinic (PCC), offered the course “Sexual Harm, Trauma and the Healing Journey” to the Shambhala community.
- May 2019: Tasked the Process Team Code of Conduct Task Force with drafting a new Conduct Policy.
- July – December 2020: The community invited to give feedback on the new Code of Conduct policies; a community engagement process will begin.
- August – January 2021: Code of Conduct procedures are finalized.
- November – February 2021: Code of Conduct facilitators and council members will be recruited and trained.
- By Shambhala Day 2021, the new Code of Conduct process and infrastructure will be in effect.
- Spring 2021: The Right Use of Power training will be made available to the entire Shambhala community.
- Spring 2021: A “Gender Dynamics” training course will be offered to the Shambhala Community.
For questions, please contact:
Tara Templin, Director of Community Care and Conduct at [email protected]
Please read this website for Care and Conduct resources. For questions or concerns, please contact Tara Templin, Shambhala’s Director of Community Care.
Code of Conduct Hub Website
On August 4, the new Shambhala Code of Conduct was released to the community and will become effective in February 2021. The Code of Conduct Hub website is now live. This resource makes available all the new policies and procedures, as well as supportive information, training and education materials, recordings of past webinars, and more. The site will continue to be updated as more resources become available.
Access the Code of Conduct Hub
The Code of Conduct Hub site contains links to all of the new Shambhala policy documents as well as other resources.
Care and Conduct Policy
Effective until Shambhala Day 2021
The current Care and Conduct Policy and Procedure are in effect until the new Code of Conduct policies take effect on Shambhala Day 2021.
The Shambhala Board of Directors wants to remind the community the importance of mandated reporting and duty to warn. The current Care and Conduct Policy applies to Shambhala Office Holders, as described in the policy. Referrals to the Care and Conduct Panel can be made to [email protected].
The existence of this policy does not replace the option, or in some cases the obligation, to contact law enforcement or other authorities. Though laws change from country to country and jurisdiction to jurisdiction, in many places guides, meditation instructors, and teachers in Shambhala are regarded as mandated reporters, and have an obligation to report instances of neglect, exploitation, abuse, and sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults. A person who has information and does not report can be held criminally liable for failing to report in some places. Suspicions of these forms of harm need to be reported – it is not up to Shambhala Office Holders to investigate whether the harm has in fact occurred or not. Therapists in some places have a Duty to Warn. Office Holders who provide meditation instructions might be regarded as providing pastoral counseling and be covered here. If a person hears of an intent to either harm themselves or harm or kill others there may be a legal obligation to inform authorities for safety’s sake. Center directors and office holders in general are encouraged to find out what the local law states in regard to mandatory reporting. Whether it is legally required or not we have an obligation to do our best to keep ourselves and others safe.
Child Protection Policy
Effective Date: February 26, 2020
In recognition of the reports of harm to children in Shambhala as revealed by the Wickwire Holm, An Olive Branch reports and others, the Code of Conduct Support group and the Director of Community Care and Conduct, along with many others, have diligently worked to create a Child Protection Policy (CPP). This policy, which applies throughout Shambhala, is an essential measure to ensure that the growing minds and bodies of our children are respected, and that each child is protected from sexual abuse.
The Child Protection Policy is the first release of what will be a completely new Code of Conduct. A webinar on the Child Protection Policy is available to view in the section below.
Frequently Asked Questions about the CPP:
Download the Policy
In order to be as accurate as possible, translations of the Child Protection Policy will be reviewed by a lawyer in each country prior to being released. They will be available as soon as possible.
The current Shambhala International Care and Conduct Panel’s role is to manage the formal complaints raised following the Shambhala Care and Conduct Policy and Procedure. This policy was created in 2002 and revised in 2015 and 2018. This Panel will remain in place until a new Code of Conduct is approved and the Code of Conduct process is made effective. The Care and Conduct panel is contributing to the drafting of new policies by providing feedback and advice based on its experience to the Code of Conduct Support Group.
The current members of the Panel are: Dan Peterson since 2013, John Sennhauser since 2002, and Ute Reinhart and Claudia Arnau, who joined the group in 2019 after the Shambhala Interim Board asked for further participation to the community. Please scroll down to read more about the Panel members.
John is an attorney who practiced in Seattle in the areas of civil rights and Native American land and fishing rights. His involvement with Shambhala began when he moved to Boulder, Colorado to study theater and dance at Naropa University. There he heard Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and became his student and later one of his attendants. John moved to New York City and was on the Board of Trustees of the Shambhala Center. He is currently a senior teacher for Shambhala. He lives in New York City with his partner.
Ute (born in Munich, Germany) joined the Shambhala Path in 1981 and became a Shambhala Buddhist in 1983. She studied with Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and later became student of his son, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. She has all the time been engaged in Shambhala and hold several positions in different cities in Germany, mainly as Dorje Kasung and Desung. She became a Shambhala teacher in 2005. At present, she holds the post of “head of Practice and Education” in Dechen Chöling. Besides being a trained artist in jewelry, she also completed coaching training and worked as a professional nurse aide. She is married with a French- Canadian and has 2 children from her first marriage. Ute joined the Care and Conduct Panel out of the wish to engage in an useful way at difficult places for the sake of Shambhala.
Dan has been a student of the Vidyadhara Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche since 1978, and subsequently of the Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche. He has been a member of the Dorje Kasung since 1980, and applied to be in the Desung Arm of the Dorje Kasung in 2004. As a Desung he has served as the Center Desung in Seattle, the Garuda Region Desung Commander, the Desung Community Safety Officer, and most recently as the Desung Care and Conduct Officer since 2013. He works for the Department of Social and Health Services as a mental health resource manager. Dan has been married to Rae Hanashiro for over 35 years and has two adult daughters, and one dog – who is very much an adolescent male.
Spanish born in Madrid, Claudia has lived in Spain, Ireland, Indonesia and Thailand in the last two years. She is currently working in the office of UN Women for the Asia-Pacific region on Gender in Humanitarian Action, based in Bangkok. Graduated in Medicine, feminist, writing her master thesis on Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse in humanitarian settings, and Shambhala student since 2015, she is very driven to contribute in any effort on Care and Conduct in the Shambhala mandala. Even though she lives far away from home, she feels very connected to her local sangha in Madrid, where she is part of the committee directing the Shambhala center since March. Claudia is a member of the current Care and Conduct Panel since May and of the Code of Conduct Task Force created to draft the new policies. By being in both groups and in contact with the Interim Board, she is supporting better coordination and direct communication. Her deepest wish is that all this work is informed and guided by the wisdom of the sangha.
A Reparative Process for Shambhala
The Shambhala Board acknowledges that healing and repair is an imperative for our community, and we aspire to do what we can to repair past and current harm, particularly for those individuals who have experienced harm or injury due to aggression, negligence, or actions by Shambhala leadership or at a Shambhala program.
As announced in the Shambhala Board Update from May 2020, we have partnered with Robert Wright and the Peoples’ Counselling Clinic to design a reparative process for Shambhala.
Specific Community Initiatives to support healing include:
- A course with with Robert Wright, Basia Solarz, and Acharya Noel McLellan on Shambhala Online: “Sexual Harm, Trauma and the Healing Journey” launched in 2019.
- Right Use of Power Training offered on Shambhala Online
- Therapy and Counseling Program with the People’s Counselling Clinic
Learn more about the Therapy and Counseling Program offering:
This webinar was recorded on December 3, 2020 to introduce the Therapy and Counseling program offering. Please watch the recording to learn more about this upcoming offering:
The Shambhala Board of Directors maintains a webpage linking to their recent communications and initiatives. Please visit the site for information about the board, including FAQs, contact information and more.
The Shambhala Board of Directors, Shambhala Process Team, and International Care and Conduct panel have recently sent surveys to the Shambhala community. Please visit the website to access survey results and analysis.
An Olive Branch Reports
Released March 20, 2019
In July of 2018, the Kalapa Council (the former governing body of Shambhala) engaged the services of An Olive Branch, an independent third-party organization, to perform a variety of services in the wake of complaints raised about ethical misconduct on the part of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and other leaders and community members. Their assignment has now concluded.
Through our work with An Olive Branch, Shambhala intended to provide direct support to individuals who had been harmed within Shambhala and to begin the process of understanding and changing the structural and institutional processes that allowed misconduct and abuse to occur. The Interim Board wishes to acknowledge what has occurred, the impact it has had on individual lives, and express our deepest apology to those who have experienced harm in any Shambhala program or environment.
We are releasing all of the materials that An Olive Branch has delivered to the Interim Board. These include:
- The Listening Post Report, derived from the listening post service open from September 2018-December 2018 that was available to current or past members of the Shambhala community to receive support around various types of harm they experienced in the sangha. The report is a compilation of data, themes and quotations from these phone, video or written contacts with An Olive Branch. We received the final version on March 12, 2019.
- The Final Report which was written for the Interim Board, however, we would like to share it with the entire community as it contains An Olive Branch’s recommendations for Shambhala. We received the final report on March 14, 2019.
Wickwire Holm Report
Released February 3, 2019
The Shambhala Board has received the investigative report from Wickwire Holm, a Halifax law firm, and we are releasing it to the sangha. We would like to explain what is contained in the Wickwire Holm Claims Investigation, the perspective of the Interim Board (IB) and how we plan to go forward and support the community.
The Kalapa Council engaged Wickwire Holm in July 2018 to conduct a third-party investigation of claims of sexual misconduct within the Shambhala community (described in the July 20 Community Letter). In November of last year the Interim Board took over management of the engagement of Wickwire Holm from Shambhala’s legal counsel, Alex Halpern, and worked directly with an investigative attorney with the firm, Selina Bath. Ms. Bath was the investigator and writer of the reports. IB members met with her a number of times to understand the scope and progress of her work and her timeframes. At all times, the IB did not attempt to influence her investigation or her findings, and she was steadfast in her adherence to that independence. The Claims Investigation is the product of that work and represents her independent findings.
One of the most important principles we expressed to Ms. Bath was that all Claimants’ and Witnesses’ identities would be kept confidential. However, for an individual’s report to become a claim, the individual had to be willing to identify themselves to Wickwire Holm and to have Wickwire Holm identify them to the respondent. Otherwise, there would be no way for Wickwire Holm to investigate and to interview the respondent and any witnesses to the claim.
More people were willing to share their experiences of harm with Ms. Bath than were willing to have them investigated. She respected those individuals’ wishes to remain anonymous and did not include them in the formal investigation. This information is described in the General Introduction and Summary.
We appreciate each individual who came forward to aid in this investigation as a reporter, claimant or witness.
We are releasing the results of the investigation received from Wickwire Holm to the Community in a single package, which includes:
- General Introduction and Summary
- Three completed Claims Investigations, two of which concern Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche
Listening Post Report
The Listening Post Report is derived from the Listening Post service open from September 2018-December 2018 to current or past members of the Shambhala community to receive support around various types of harm they experienced in the sangha. This report is a compilation of data, themes and quotations from these contacts with An Olive Branch.
Final Report from An Olive Branch
The Final Report was written for the Interim Board, however, the board is now sharing it with the entire community as it contains An Olive Branch’s recommendations for the Shambhala sangha. This report contains a wide range of recommendations about changes Shambhala could make at the organizational level to create a safer community.
Wickwire Holm Report
On February 3, 2019, the Shambhala Interim Board released the findings of the Wickwire Holm report to the Shambhala community. Please click the button below to download the report and supporting materials.
Browse a list of upcoming regional events related to issues of community care here: https://shambhala.org/programs/. Below you can see the next ten upcoming events. If you are a Shambhala leader and would like to have an event listed here, please contact [email protected] for instructions about how to list your event in the Shambhala Database.
Designed to support those in the mindfulness community—practitioners, guides, instructors, and counselors—this workshop course will impart a foundational understanding of types of trauma, how to respond skillfully and prevent retraumatization, and examine
Informal conversation with our Boulder Shambhala Center Director, Jessie Friedman.
If you are interested in asking questions or would like help completing a Spiritual Directive, please drop in online. There is no cost for this service.
In partnership with London Shambhala, an online series of workshops with David Hope, John Seex, Dian Marie Hosking, Mark Tudge and Colin Tracy.
The reality and certainty of death cannot be avoided but we find ways to hide from or distance ourselves from this fact. Buddhist teachings have much to offer in this area. An online series of workshops will explore issues surrounding the death and dying
The Chronic Health Support Group is a meditation and discussion group that will meet monthly to bring the path of awakening to the journey of chronic illness.
Eine gemeinschaftliche Erforschung für Shambhala Mitglieder