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Mitchell Levy's Statement To Acharyas: Stepping Down From Kalapa Council, Not From Other Shambhala Roles

Shared to Facebook on July 30, 2018

"Let me begin by sharing with you all my statement that will be included in the next (previously delayed) letter from the Kalapa Council, in which all the members of the Kalapa Council announce their intention about their current posts:

“Mitchell Levy is stepping down from the Kalapa Council as previously announced. Mitchell will continue in his role as Acharya and member of the Council of the Makkyi Rabjam.”

I’d like to talk to all of you about why I have chosen not to step down from my other roles in Shambhala, outside of the Kalapa Council. Over the past 6 months, while our community has been in the midst of social media wildfires, we’ve all had to struggle with what it means to be leaders in our community. During this period of turmoil, I’ve been doing a lot of self-reflection about the harm that can be caused, and that I may have caused, in relationships through carelessness, anger and thoughtlessness. I believe it is important to accept responsibility for any of my actions that might have caused harm in the past. And yet, I strongly believe that the process of uncovering and accounting for harm has to be just and transparent. Over the past six months, since several stories about me (which, from my perspective, were two people speaking about historical events, not even about themselves) surfaced on Facebook, no person has come forward through our formal channels with any accusation about me. Despite statements to the contrary that were propagated on social media, there has never been a care and conduct case about me involving sexual harm. Fighting against untrue statements made on social media has proven to be quite challenging. While I would be happy to engage in a just process if there was someone who came forward feeling that I had caused them harm, this current climate where rumor on social media drives all our decisions and feelings towards each other feels dangerous and short-sighted. It certainly doesn’t feel like a wise alternative to our current crisis of governance and community.

I personally feel it is best to deal with this in an open and direct manner and allow for genuine communication to occur. I was recently in an open discussion with the Dorje Kasung online in which we all had a very honest, difficult and vulnerable conversation. I believe this is the way forward for all of us as a community.

A letter is being released by the Council of the Makkyi Rabjam (CMR) today that, among other things, addressed the issue of why I remain in my post of Kasung Acharya on the CMR. Here is an excerpt from that letter:

“As we grapple with more nuanced understandings of power, consent, and relationships within Shambhala, many of us are reflecting on how we have been harmed, and how we have caused harm. Like many of you we have heard the social media allegations against the Lamen Kyi Khyap, Mitchell Levy. To date, individually and collectively we have not been presented with any specific facts or allegations that we believe would warrant his removal from the CMR. In a recent open Zoom dialogue for Kasung, the Kasung Acharya spoke at length about his relationships within Shambhala. The transcript on this topic will be posted shortly.”

I certainly realize that what I have written will not satisfy everyone. As I said, it will be through open, honest, and caring communication that our community is healed. I look forward to my continued dialogue with anyone interested in doing so.

In the vision of the Great Eastern Sun,