Misconduct in Shambhala

Drala Mountain Center continues to grapple with a legacy of past misconduct from teachers and leaders in the international Shambhala community. We are committed to safety, responsibility, and respect for all and do not condone nor tolerate such misconduct. Please see our Code of Ethics for more detail. If you would like to discuss any of this further, please contact our Director of Health and Well-Being, who can also facilitate further support. 

∞ ∞ ∞

In the summer of 2018, our community here at Drala Mountain Center became deeply shaken as we learned that the spiritual leader of Shambhala, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, had been accused of clergy sexual misconduct by multiple students.

Shambhala International hired Wickwire Holm, a law firm based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to conduct a third-party investigation of the claims. In February 2019, Shambhala International released the findings of the investigation. You can read the full Wickwire Holm report here. In summary, the independent investigator found enough credible claims to establish a pattern of clergy sexual misconduct.

A full list of communications from the past two years has been provided by San Francisco Shambhala on their website here, including recommendations and reports from An Olive Branch, and letters from the Shambhala Transition Task Force, the Shambhala Interim Board, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, and many other resources. If you choose to read through the reports, please exercise caution as some of them are quite disturbing.

While Shambhala is going through a time of deep reflection and change, Drala Mountain Center is more committed than ever to continue creating a safe place of refuge and retreat for our guests. You can find our Code of Ethics here.

As a way to keep this community updated on our perspective and plans concerning this matter, we offer the following communications for your reference (listed in reverse chronological order).

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Director of Health & Wellbeing, at healthwellbeing@shambhalamountain.org.


Update from SMC (Published on February 16, 2020)


“In July of 2018 the staff and board of SMC made public a set of commitments: to not minimize or rationalize the behavior of any teacher, including the Sakyong, to stand with the women who came forward, to do what is right even if it jeopardizes our existing power structures or financial position, and to be transparent. We also said we would be: “… watching closely and with hope for the Sakyong to engage in a genuine process of accountability, purification, and reformative action.” This has not yet happened.

In keeping with these commitments, we cannot invite the Sakyong to teach at DMC at this time. We believe we must ask the Sakyong to meet the same standards we would ask of any other teacher. These standards are embedded in our new Code of Ethics that will be signed by every teacher or participant who comes to DMC.”

Response to Denver Post and Boulder Daily Camera article from Director Michael Gayner and the SMC Governing Council (Published on July 10, 2019)
In Response to Articles Citing Possible Investigation at SMC (Published on December 17, 2018)
SMC Update from Director Michael Gayner (Published on September 14, 2018)
SMC’s Statement Regarding Allegations of Sexual Misconduct by the Spiritual Leader of Shambhala, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche(Published on July 10, 2018)