Phoenix rising-Shambhala community

Dear Friends,

I felt compelled to write a short letter in response to the revelations that Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and other close teachers have been accused of sexual abuse. The Sakyong and the entire Shambhala Kalapa Council has resigned and the future of the community is in chaos. Personally, I felt this outcome was almost certain, as we as a community, even the Western culture as a whole, are learning how to balance personal wisdom and integrity with devotion to a spiritual teacher. The behavior, at least sexually, of the first generation of renown teachers from the east, has been disappointing.

I have been very outspoken to the point of being unwelcome about my view of the unhealthiness of the Shambhala hierarchy. Because of this, Jaynine and I started a far different approach to our local Kailua Shambhala Center than you might find elsewhere in the world. Nonetheless, we did hang the banner of Shambhala on the door as we both felt, the teachings were peerless and needed in our culture. I still feel the teachings of Enlightened Society are essential for our times.

However, seeing no response or way to help the larger mandala, I personally did not take vows with Mipham Rinpoche, nor follow his structured path. I was saddened we needed to close the meditation center in Kailua, but for years have been advocating a venue change to the center being ‘The Center of Awake’.

Strangely, I’m more excited now about the future of the Shambhala teachings and community than in 30 years, since Trungpa Rinpocheʻs death in 1987. I again have been advocating for decades a complete do over with how we present the teachings, the leadership and organizational mandala. I’m not a Monarchist or want a heavy handed hierarchy affecting my life. I believe the Shambhala teachings, and the community that puts them in practice, should be ‘for the people, by the people’. I would be excited to be in a community that could create a dynamic movement that trusted the wisdom, insight, goodness of its members. Iʻm sure the process to awaken or create such a community would be messy, but I would hope fun.

In closing, I can assure you there will be no sordid details, sexual or financial, about our little Kailua group. We’re proud of our years of effort and continue to pray the seeds of practice, awake, kindness benefit us all.


Dr. Dean



Over the summer and fall, we will be retooling our offerings a little bit in light of the recent controversy with the Sakyong. Our Ewa Beach Meetup and Honolulu town Meetup group meditation events will now focus on practice-oriented readings from Pema Chodronʻs book How to Meditate. Pema Chodron is treasured around the world for her unique ability to transmit teachings and practices that bring peace, understanding, and compassion into our lives. With How to Meditate, the American-born Tibetan nun presents her first book exploring in depth what she considers the essentials for a lifelong practice.



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