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The ‘King’ of Shambhala Buddhism, Undone by #MeToo

“I don’t want it to be exposed,” Mr. Gaston mentioned. “But it has to be exposed.”

The downfall of a Buddhist chief within the West accused of sexual impropriety has turn into its personal sorry custom. Last 12 months, Lama Norlha Rinpoche, who based a monastery in Wappingers Falls, N.Y., retired after allegations of sexual misconduct. So did Sogyal Rinpoche, creator of “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying,” who used to be accused of decades of sexual assaults and violent rage. In the Zen custom, fallen masters come with Joshu Sasaki and Eido Shimano, two of the main proponents of Zen in America.

In Shambhala, dangerous conduct runs within the bloodline. The group used to be based by the Sakyong’s Tibet-born father, Chögyam Trungpa, a wildly charismatic guy, sensible instructor and embodiment of the concept that referred to as “crazy wisdom” whose alcoholic exploits and womanizing have been widely known. He died in 1987. In between Chögyam Trungpa and the Sakyong, Shambhala used to be led by an American-born Buddhist who’s mainly remembered for having intercourse with scholars even after he knew that he had AIDS.

The hyperconcentration of authority in essentially the most respected academics of Tibetan Buddhism lends itself to abuse, mentioned Lama Tsultrim Allione, one of the primary American ladies to be ordained a Tibetan Buddhist nun and a former member of Chögyam Trungpa’s crew who knew the Sakyong when he used to be a kid.

“One is told that one must see the lama as the Buddha and that anything the lama does is perfect and that whatever might seem wrong with it, that is your impure vision. This can be a transformative practice, but only when the lama is truly awake,” mentioned Lama Tsultrim, who leads a Buddhist center in Colorado and simply published a book, “Wisdom Rising: Journey Into the Mandala of the Empowered Feminine.”

In Shambhala, Lama Tsultrim mentioned, “the level of institutionalized hierarchy is quite extraordinary,” with the Sakyong functioning “sort of like a divine king.” His internal circle, with its ministers and attendants, is named the “court.” He has a personal flag that native facilities should buy for $350, to fly when he visits.

The girl in the back of the exposé, Andrea Winn, grew up within the Shambhala neighborhood in Halifax and says that she and lots of different youngsters have been sexually abused by adults in the neighborhood.

In early 2017 — months prior to #MeToo was a cultural phenomenon — she started a yearlong effort, “Project Sunshine,” to assemble accounts by survivors of the abuse. The resulting report, revealed in February, triggered Shambhala International to announce “an effort to address issues of past harm in our community.”

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