July 16th, 2018

Buddhist leader steps aside amid sexual misconduct allegations, council resigns


By The Canadian Press on July 9, 2018.

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, left, and his bride Princess Tseyang Palmo smile during their Tibetan Buddhist royal wedding ceremony in Halifax on June 10, 2006. The spiritual leader of an international Buddhist organization based in Halifax is stepping back from his duties pending the outcome of an independent investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against him. In a letter to the Shambhala International community, the office of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche says he fully supports a third-party investigation and wishes to provide the time and space for it to properly occur. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

HALIFAX – The spiritual leader of an international Buddhist organization based in Halifax is stepping back from his duties pending the outcome of an independent investigation into sexual misconduct allegations.

In a recent letter to the Shambhala International community, the office of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche says he fully supports a third-party investigation and wishes to provide the time and space for it to occur.

Members of the Shambhala leadership body are also stepping down, saying parts of the organization are broken and need to “dissolve” to make room for real change.

Nine members of the Kalapa Council say in a letter they will “exit responsibly” and have hired Halifax law firm Wickwire Holm to investigate the allegations.

The upheaval within the Buddhist community comes after a report last month detailed sexual misconduct allegations against Mipham.

In the report, at least three unnamed women accuse the Shambhala leader of heavy drinking and using his attendant to “procure women students for his own sexual gratification.”

None of the allegations has been proven in court and no charges have been laid.

Inspired by Tibetan Buddhism, Shambhala is one of the largest western Buddhist movements with more than 200 meditation centres around the world.

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