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August 27, 2018

Dear Shambhala Community,

Karmê Chöling is committed to providing a safe place for people of all backgrounds, genders, race, age and physical ability, free from harassment, mistreatment and discrimination. We do not condone such harmful behaviors by any leader in Shambhala, including the Sakyong. We support and certainly call for the third party investigation report to be made public in its entirety, protecting the names of the victims.

For those who have suffered harm, we feel great empathy. It is vital that women, men and people of all genders can feel safe to speak out when they are harmed and receive support, not scepticism, for their bravery.

As has been written in other venues, particularly since the end of June, Shambhala must undertake deep reflection regarding how our culture has been complicit in harmful action. The Shambhala teachings are profound and point very directly to how we can live together with kindness, compassion, respect and appreciation. Our culture must reflect this fully, including in the way we express our feelings and opinions to each other during this time of turmoil.

When the second Buddhist Project Sunshine Report was published at the end of June, the Karmê Chöling staff, garden apprentices and volunteers met to share our shock and distress. The leadership emphatically stressed that sexual harm is abhorrent and not to be tolerated. Throughout the summer we have continued in small groups and individual discussions to process
the impact of these allegations and to keep abreast of the steps being taken by the outgoing Kalapa Council, the Olive Branch and the independent investigation and now the Task Force. With the publication of the third Buddhist Project Sunshine Report alleging further sexual harm, we met again.

It is a difficult time in Shambhala and certainly for Karmê Chöling. We are working hard to anticipate and plan for how Karmê Chöling can meet the challenge of uncertainty; change what needs to be changed; and preserve the essence of the beautiful gem that is Karmê Chöling. We are currently gathering information and analyzing various scenarios in preparation for more in-depth strategic planning. We will continue to share updates as the fall progresses and invite your input.

Eight volunteers and ten staff have left since June, some planned, some unplanned. The remaining staff have been absolutely wonderful in their continued commitment to Karmê Chöling, each other and to our program guests. We could certainly not have done it without the valuable support of 30+ volunteers who have come from near and far to help for a day, a few days, and even weeks of their personal time. We continue to welcome those who wish to join the call.

Karmê Chöling exists to inspire people to discover their basic goodness and manifest it in community and the world as enlightened society. As the means to fulfill this, we are committed to meditation, an atmosphere of kindness, devotion to service and responsiveness to the changing dynamics of society. We succeed by creating a safe, sane, uplifted and welcoming environment for all who come to this beautiful land in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. Such a vision transforms the lives of so many who come to stay, even for a short time. Such a vision has the strength, gentleness and power to cut through the obstacles we face right now, in Shambhala and in the world. Such a vision deserves to flourish on this earth.

With deep gratitude and sadness,

Myra Woodruff
Executive Director
Karmê Chöling Shambhala Meditation Center


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