Sharing Shambhala, Part II, November 9, 2021

Selected Quotes

Reflections on Part I Summary

There’s an intangible in all three categories of people, clearly a strong connection to Shambhala. And the ingredients of that are kind of mysterious, but it’s there. And at this point people who are participating and caring and working on this, there’s some strong binding factors.

I just wanted to say that the word respect came up for both groups, that were students and non-students of the Sakyong, respect for the paths that individuals have. I think that’s a really good starting point personally. I was glad to see that and it’s somewhat new in a certain way, but that’s how I feel as well. I think that’s a cornerstone, a good place to begin building something.

I don’t feel that this is a situation with a single cause. I think that what we’re being brought face to face with is samsara. And it’s really confusing, and it’s totally interconnected. And I get frustrated when I’ve heard people come at it from a place of wanting to find a cause, or find someone to blame.

I feel like the Sakyong has become a lightning rod for that, and that’s fine. He’s a big boy and can take it. But as a student of the Sakyong, it’s hard for me—it’s just hard for my path. Because I’ve already got the voices in my head going, “But you know, but the…” and when I hear human beings outside of me doing the exact same thing, it gets harder to ignore the inner nag.

There was a quote in there that there’s not a party line for the Sakyong students. But there’s maybe an impression that there is the one party line, and that there’s no alternative being offered. And it feels like there’s a big imbalance there. So I guess that wasn’t a surprise, but it stood out to me.

My sense at the moment is we don’t have a shared sense of what went wrong or what the harms were. For some people the harm was people abandoned the Sakyong. For some people the harm was something the Sakyong did. For some people the harm was how people responded to how someone else did something. And when we think about what the problem is, we’re all actually seeing different things. We’re having arguments about different things.

I couldn’t help but have a hard feeling all the people that have left that are not even a part of these conversations, and don’t want anything to do with Shambhala. I just want to connect because some of them are my closest friends. I just want to connect with the sadness, and the sense of incompleteness with people that have actually left and don’t feel like they were heard or met from the current situation.

What actions can we take to move further?

These groups all want to find something that’s inclusive, they all express an appreciation that people have different paths, and they all expressed some sadness. And therefore, all the commitment to Shambhala is there in all these groups, but none of them grapple with: How did this all happen? How did we get to this place? Why did so many people just immediately turn on the Sangha, turn on the Sakyong with viciousness, and leave in high dudgeon, in very large numbers?

There is a difference between a meditation path and a Vajrayana path. And that is something that is not going to be easily covered by just having sort of one big wrapping group or whatever, because there are some specific challenges in presenting Vajrayana teachings. So, that could be looked at within a group of these different types of people who all have a commitment to inclusivity.

I’m quite big on the whole issue of getting a more comfortable sort of governance structure. I’d still very much like to continue studying with a Sakyong or anybody else, but I think I need that to radically change. I don’t know where that’s at, and the whole process of things, so I’m feeling that I don’t really know what’s going on.

Accountability is a sticking point. What does accountability look like in Shambhala in a way that that still uphold someone’s basic goodness? I think it needs to be modeled from the top and I don’t think it has been, and we’re a little bit lost there.

Who is the responsible organizational body for how things are conducted and dealt with in Shambhala? That’s very unclear to me. It’s almost like it’s an organization with no structure. How does this go on for three years, and there are still focus groups about how do you feel about it? I’m just kind of amazed by the whole thing, and why it hangs, hangs and hangs and hangs and isn’t dealt with. Why isn’t there some Shambhala structure to deal with issues in the organization that are as as disruptive as whatever all has happened here, and all of the fallout? I’m just kind of overwhelmed by the organization, or lack of it.

We need some direction to move in as a group to say, “This is this is how we’re going to hold not one person, but how we’re going to hold everyone accountable,” and what that looks like, and how we step into that in a way that is not based on shame. It’s not based on “You’re a bad Shambhalian or a bad human being,” But like, “Hey, you need you need a little help, you’re missing something, you’re not seeing something and let’s support you.” Something like that.