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Jan 16
Thursday

Letter from Ani Pema Chödrön

Filed under Opinion Pieces

Dear Shambhala Community-

This is a letter that Ani Pema Chödrön sent recently to the Shambhala Board and the Acharyas and now wishes to share it with the community. 

Warmest best wishes,

Glenna Olmsted, Executive Assistant to Pema Chödrön


January 14, 2020

Dear Acharyas and Shambhala Board Members:

I send New Year’s greetings and my love to you all.

I’m writing to let you know that I have decided to step down as an acharya.  As you know, I haven’t actually served as an acharya for a long time, and I have been considering retiring for a few years.  And now, the time has come.

When I read the recent letter from the Sakyong saying that he wished to start teaching again and would do so for all who requested, I was disheartened.  I experienced this news as such a disconnect from all that’s occurred in the last year and half.  It feels unkind, unskillful and unwise for the Sakyong to just go forward as if nothing had happened without relating compassionately to all of those who have been hurt and without doing some deep inner work on himself.

Then came the letter from the Board informing the Shambhala community that they have invited the Sakyong to give the Rigden Abhisheka in June, and I was dumbfounded.  The seemingly very clear message that we are returning to business as usual distresses me deeply.  How can we return to business as usual when there is no path forward for the vast majority of the community who are devoted to the vision of Shambhala and are yearning for accountability, a fresh start, and some guidance on how to proceed?   I find it discouraging that the bravery of those who had the courage to speak out does not seem to be effecting more significant change in the path forward. Continue…

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