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Shambhala Facebook Group Being Archived

30 mins

Dear Shambhala Facebook Group Members, On March 9th this group will be archived. This means that there will be no ability to post or comment on the group, but members can still read everything that has already been posted. I feel strongly (and the other moderators agree with me) that this group has run its course and it is time for a more decentralized Shambhala Facebook presence. Currently there are 10,046 members with multiple requests coming in daily. My guess is that fewer than half of our group's members are in any way affiliated with Shambhala, only a couple hundred are actively engaged in the group, and a few hundred more are lurking. Some History On April 24th, 2012 Madeline Bruser created a group called Shambhala. Facebook had just announced its new group feature. Madeline added 113 of her friends and went to bed. She woke up the next morning to find 845 members. It grew to over 2k very quickly. On April 30th, Madeline put out a request for moderators because she never had any intention of moderating an international Shambhala group. I stepped up and shortly thereafter Wendy Baks contacted me and offered her help. For many years, the attitude of the moderators was of an Open House—all were welcome so long as they could demonstrate that they were, indeed, human. Most of the moderator activity was asking people to turn off their email auto-responders that were posting continuously to threads, and deleting fake accounts that were posting ads. When the ads became too frequent, Carol Borden and Jen Kates stepped up to help. Things were for the most part civil and moderation was mostly about checking each request to join. An occasional drunk needed to be booted out for bad behavior. Then, the first Project Sunshine report came out and our page exploded. Moderating became a stressful, part-time job (without pay). By last summer, the amount of activity and aggression on the page caused me to loose two of my moderators. At this point I put the group on hiatus and was very close to deleting it. Susan Rees Rosquist and Rebecca Fantasia D'Onofriocontacted me to offer support. I also had Jane Heyer and Joel Wachbritrecommended to me as moderators. We re-wrote the guidelines, re-opened the page, and have been working as a strong team since. (Rebecca needed to step down last fall.) At this time, we are all very much burned out. I cannot begin to express the depth of my gratitude and appreciation to all of the moderators who stepped up to support this group over the past seven years. I have witnessed tremendous dedication to creating a space for people to express themselves—especially in these very difficult times. Much love to all of you. We moderators, when accepting posts to the page have followed those posts and one of us has read every single comment. This is a tremendous amount of input. As a Shambhala Sadhaka and student who has taken samaya with Sakyong Mipham I now need time in my own head with my own thoughts to sort through what has happened to our community and to my practice. I need to be able to feel my own feelings and not be continuously holding space for others. They say the next buddha is the sangha, and I believe that. However, I need to focus more on my local community and less on this larger group. I don't even really like Facebook! It has been a source of distress to me that our group has become a place where survivors of sexual assault, racism, and discrimination do not feel safe to speak. Most, if not all, of the Shambhala survivors have left the group. I somehow hoped that this group could shift this aspect of our culture. It has proven to be a much more deeply-ingrained problem than I had imagined. One point I would like to emphasize is that all of the guidelines have been added in response to situations that became difficult to moderate. We started with few, and now have a fairly long list that was still growing. I find this uncomfortable, and frankly, I hate playing cop. Where to go from here? We strongly encourage you to form new Shambhala groups. There are quite a few that already exist that you can request to join. And, I am providing a list at the bottom of this post. You are welcome to use any part of our guidelines and structure that suits you and to adapt it as you see fit. Please don't forget your local communities. Please get together with each other in person, attend meetings and practice sessions. Go out to dinner and into nature. I have experienced more wisdom and resourcefulness in this community than anywhere else in my life and I have great faith in our ability to create something meaningful and lasting that will benefit society. Shambhala Groups Across Facebook I have compiled a list of some of the other Shambhala Facebook groups that I am aware of. I have no doubt there are others. There are also many organized by region and center that you can search for. If you wish to add your group to this list, please PM me and I will publish a separate announcement prior to archiving the group on March 9th. After that date there will be no more posts. Public Groups Your posts and comments in these groups can turn up in google and other search results. Nothing is private.