In a video that should be seen by university students and professors across the country, Chapman University students shed light on the continuing allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct within the Shambhala Buddhist community.
For over two years, allegations of abuse have been made, several coming from individuals intimately familiar with the organization’s leadership. As noted in the video, there are still a number of criminal investigations related to Shambhala.
The organization has a long history of abusive practices, dating to its founder, Chogyam Trungpa, who died of illness related to his alcohol abuse in 1987. However, it has only been since 2017 that a flood of allegations has emerged, spanning across North America and beyond. Many of those who have spoken out, however, have complained of being further bullied by Shambhala leaders and other members of the organization
Given the consistent levels of denial and avoidance it seems reasonable to caution all people from taking part in Shambhala activities – until a thorough and open investigation is held which can satisfy those who for years have been raising alarms about structural abuse within the organization. Certainly, students with no former knowledge of the organization should not be sent to overnight/residential retreats at their centers until those places can be independently deemed safe of sexual predators.
The words of the young women here in the video echo many others I have read and heard from over the years. As investigations have shown from institutions such as the Catholic Church, predatory authority figures can be prolifically destructive for long periods of time if there are not strong structural safeguards.