In a letter released last week, she states that she was ”disheartened” by news that Shambhala leader Sakyong Mipham may resume teaching this year with the approval of the organization’s board. Sakyong Mipham has currently “stepped back” from his roles in the community after allegations against him of sexual assault and clergy sexual misconduct.
“I experienced this news as such a disconnect from all that’s occurred in the last year and half,” Chödrön says in the letter. “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.”
“How can we return to business as usual,” she writes, “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 [about sexual abuse] does not seem to be affecting more significant change in the path forward.” She says indications the community is “returning to business as usual is shocking and disheartening.”
Ani Pema Chödrön was born Deirdre Blomfield-Brown in 1936 in New York City. She studied under Lama Chime Rinpoche in London for several years, and with Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche in Califnornia. She became a novice Buddhist nun under Rangjung Rigpe Dorje, the 16th Gyalwa Karmapa, in 1974. While in Hong Kong in 1981, she became a fully ordained bhikshuni—the first American woman to do so in the Vajrayana Buddhist tradition. She has authored numerous best selling Buddhist books.
(sources: www.lionsroar.com and www.buddhistdoor.net)