Shambhala Crisis Timeline
Shambhala has been in crisis for some time. When there are so many moving parts, understanding when and how things happened over the course of years and months can make crises like this difficult to see wholly. I’ve endeavored, with the wonderful help of many other users in the Shambhala subreddit forum, to create a timeline of the events that took place which have brought the international Shambhala community to the point it is now. There are likely a few missing pieces in this timeline and I welcome you to write me and request they be added. As you can see, the calendar is hosted here on my personal website (originally built to showcase my creative work) simply because it’s the resource I have to offer. I hope this timeline is of use and helps you better understand the context in which this crisis began and continues to occur. I hope that if you have been harmed by this insane experience that you find your way toward healing.
May you find your breath again and again.
Updated Shambhala Community Care Webpage
How To Use The Calendar
Use the arrow keys to navigate from month to month. Any date which has an event enclosed may be clicked to expand and see more details about the event, as well as any relevant links to original source documents or reporting. Don’t pay too much mind to the timestamps of the events - many of them were impossible to pin down so they’re completely arbitrary. The dates are hopefully accurate, but if you find an inaccuracy, again please don’t hesitate to write me. If you prefer a list view of dates in sequential order, click here. Use the search bar to find a specific event, communication, or article.
Have an update to add? Please send me the date of the event or communication, as well as a source link (if available) and any additional context for verification.
About This Site
I am a former Shambhala member. And while I was only a part of the sangha since 2012, it was undoubtedly my spiritual community - a place where I deepened my own understanding of Mayahana Buddhist teachings. It was the community in which I took refuge and boddhisatva vows. It was a place where I could learn and practice with the support of kind and loving friends. For these reasons it was profoundly painful to see the foundations of the community begin to unravel last spring. Mukpo was never my teacher, but he certainly was a central figure in the lives of almost everyone in our community, whether overtly or in the background. I was also one of the volunteer moderators of the Shambhala subreddit when the current crisis began. I’ve since resigned that post (and later been asked back as moderator), as well as my official membership from the Shambhala community, but have remained a part of the dialogue in the online reddit community, as well as with many of my friends from the local sangha.
I left Shambhala after the Sunshine reports came out and I began to ask questions. It didn’t take long to realize that my community was not safe from the immediate influence of an abusive leader, especially given that the stakes were so high. If suddenly the entire community had to deal with another fallen leader and the problematic elements of a deluded vajrayana view were laid bare, surely the fear of a lineage falling apart would take hold and those powerful teachings, which have helped so many work with their minds and hearts, would be called into question. In that scenario, the sangha would be left in a state of deep uncertainty and wonder if we hitched our sail to a sinking boat.
As I began to see this dynamic at play, I remembered that Buddhism has much to say about the nature of change and attachment. Attachment to a particular version of spirituality is no different than an attachment to any other habitual pattern. The situation become clearer. I began to see more examples of blind loyalty to an organization’s structure than true exploration of our minds. I saw unfolding before me the outlines of an insidious culture of sexism, patriarchy, and allegiance to lineage over Buddhadharma.
I knew I needed to draw a line in the sand and stand upright in alignment with my principles while maintaining a sense of openness to my experience. It’s been a really shitty journey for me, to lose friends and community, yet I cannot even begin to imagine what it has been like for those women who experienced sexual coercion, violence, and other forms of abuse at the hand of Mukpo, only to be covered up by an established system of victim silencing or outright ignoring them or their defenders. Now we hear ringing out a symphony, or rather a cacophony, of immense suffering. As the situation has developed, I have realized I don’t feel at all surprised by the outcomes knowing what I know about abuse, abusers, and spiritual communities that enable sexual violence. It is truly heartbreaking to watch now as others begin to reckon with their own journeys with similar lines of inquiry. May this tool be a useful part of that journey and may it express a quality of transparency that Shambhala so desperately needs.
I hope that if you have been harmed by this insane experience that you find your way toward healing.
May you find your breath again and again.