Shambhala Statement on Harm
As part of our ongoing journey of learning about and understanding harm within Shambhala, the Shambhala Board has released the following Statement on Harm in our Community. In addition to English, the Statement is also available in Français, Español and Italiano.
Statement on Harm in our Community from the Shambhala Board of Directors November 2021
In order to find our way forward as a global community, it is vital that we, the Shambhala Board, on behalf of the organization, continue to acknowledge and confront the issue of harm in our community.
As one of the oldest and largest Buddhist communities in the western world, we feel keenly our responsibility to nurture and further the Buddhist and Shambhala Dharma by demonstrating the authenticity and genuineness of our teachings to others.
Individuals coming to our community have every right to assume they will be respected and treated with care and compassion. It is our greatest aspiration to create a Shambhala that does so. We are acutely aware that we have not always met these goals.
Any Shambhala teacher, leader, or member, past or present, in any position, who may have caused harm, has acted against our deepest held beliefs. We are sorry and deeply saddened by this.
Causing such harm creates suffering and there are no special circumstances that can excuse it. We know that this includes conduct by our most senior teachers and leaders. We do not want to disregard the power and truth of their teachings, but we also cannot ignore the consequences of their misconduct.
We strive to hold and retain the goodness and power of our teachings without being blind to our human failings, and we commit to a path of reconciliation when harm has happened.
We have invested and will continue to invest in work aimed at preventing future harm in our community. The Shambhala Code of Conduct, the Child Protection Policy, and their underlying support systems commit the Shambhala organization to ethical standards that apply to every individual inside Shambhala. There are no exceptions. If misconduct happens, we want to hear about it, and will provide the protection and support called for in our Code of Conduct. We respect the courage and effort it takes to report harm and sincerely appreciate those who come forward.
The Shambhala Board affirms its commitment to the following ongoing initiatives:
- The creation of a safer and more caring organization through funding and programming support for the Code of Conduct.
- Providing effective culture shifting programming such as Diversity and Inclusion Training, Right Use of Power, Restorative Approaches, Gender Dynamics, and more.
- Support for facilitated community conversations to investigate the causes and effects of harm in all its forms.
We believe it is essential for us to clearly see the causes and conditions that create harm, and understand how to truly be kind and caring to each other. It is through our conduct that others know us. We aspire to be a community whose members practice dignity and respect for all, and whose teachings and practices are a useful example to others walking a spiritual path.
The Shambhala Board
In the coming months Shambhala will be launching a series of community conversations intended to shape a reparative process for our community. These conversations will be free and open to anyone who wants to attend. More information on dates and times for the conversations will be shared soon.