February 21, 2019 5:54 pm
Updated: February 21, 2019 5:55 pm

Shambhala Buddhist leader drops teaching in wake of report on sexual misconduct

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 CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
A A

The Halifax-based spiritual leader of the Shambhala International Buddhist organization is stepping back from teaching and administrative duties several weeks after a report found allegations of sexual misconduct to be credible.

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche said in an email to his students today that he is sorry for “all that has happened,” and that he understands he is the main source of suffering and confusion in the community.

Story continues below

He also said that he’s been requested to step back from teaching by senior members of the Shambhala community for the “foreseeable future.”

READ MORE: Report finds complaints of ‘sexual misconduct’ by leader of Halifax-based Buddhist church to be credible

However, Sakyong says he will still be available “for contact” with students who want to maintain a relationship with him and he will stay connected to the community by writing occasional messages.

He wrote that he hopes that this allows community members to use the Buddhist teachings as “a way of healing and inspiration.”

WATCH: Sexual misconduct allegations cast dark shadow over Shambhala Buddhism

In a report released on Feb. 3, an investigator with the Halifax law firm Wickwire Holm hired by the organization found Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche made inappropriate sexual advances towards two female students.

Lawyer Selina Bath noted a “significant power imbalance” in the relationships given the Sakyong’s position of authority as both the spiritual leader and lineage holder of Shambhala – one of the western world’s largest Buddhist organizations.

© 2019 The Canadian Press

Report an error

Comments

Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first.