In the comments on my initial post a senior member of the Halifax, Nova Scotia Shambhala Sangha ‘victim shames’ me in presenting his self-described conclusions to his investigation of my allegations of three and a half years’ standing. He is also a former Officer of Shambhala having held senior positions in the Kasung, the military style Health and Safety Department of Shambhala.
He claims to have just recently cried and lost sleep over my 2014 allegations. Yet he has only recently (2018) investigated them in light of the current admission by Shambhala’s governing council that it has overseen ‘systemic, abhorrent abuse’ in the Sangha over decades. Before he said anything in response he was apparently moving to protect the organisation.
That admission by the Kalapa Council was inspired by the release of a Report by Project Sunshine of some of that abuse, some of child sexual in nature. His sudden interest in my case therefore appears as a self-serving to avoid institutional contrition in covering up crime. In his comments he acknowledged that he had investigated my case with foregone conclusions in his mind, absent any enquiry with myself. He concluded that my allegation of attempted murder is ‘preposterous’. In his defence he stated that everyone is biased, and maintained his position despite my having shown it to be unfounded. This is my response.
In dismissing my narrative as hearsay you myopically avoid the fact that much of what I say is documented. You fall into line with those who, as in Diana Mukpo’s February 12th. letter and the Kalapa Council’s same day letter, seek to silence victims of systemic Sangha abuse for the well-being of ‘the family’ .
For instance, Torgny Vigerstad’s suspiciously institutionally self-serving avoidance of his investigating my main suspect is documented in his emails to myself. His conclusion that no Staff member at Dorje Denma Ling was involved in the second, life endangering sabotage on my vehicle must therefore be set aside as biased as my main suspect was a (documented) Staff member at the time. His version of the Police findings in the investigation which I requested must therefore also be dismissed. Yet you continue to posit Vigerstad as a reliable source. Therefore my use of the word myopic in relation to your own self described prejudiced and incomplete so-called investigations of my case of late.
Secondly, I have recently discovered that my main suspect was banned from Dorje Denma Ling without my knowledge as Health and Safety Officer and just days before he slipped away from the facility in October 2014, without stating a reason. The remaining Staff were perplexed by his unannounced absence. While his friend and Director, Lennart Krogoll offered no explanation as to his departure, a week later I discovered the second, life endangering sabotage on my truck. Just prior to his leaving Krogoll had reprimanded him for physical assault and open slander against me on two occasions.
On leaving Dorje Denma Ling this man immediately went to another Shambhala International Land Centre, Dechen Chöling in France. Multiple people witnessed him slandering me while he was there and proudly proclaiming that he was going to Syria to fight ISIS. None of the Administrators told me of this ban which I repeat, I have just learned of this week. I was also, until now kept unaware of his slander of myself at Dechen Chöling until now. I understand that the Administration had directed that nobody talk to me about this case except my former Supervisor, Toby Sifton. So my written request to the Rusung at Dechen Chöling to keep me informed of any security issues regarding my main suspect was clearly in vain.
When I returned to Dorje Denma Ling on November 24th. 2014 after my month’s leave following the second sabotage, I was escorted by Kasung while I removed my belongings from the facility, although leaving my container in place. I had every good reason to suspect that my main suspect in my attempted murder would appear there to harrass me again as none of the Administrators, by then fully aware of my allegations thought it either necessary or courteous to inform me that he had been banned from the facility. I was continually advised by the Administrators to remove my container in the months following.
The same Administrators responsible for secretly banning my main suspect in my attempted murder now Ask that I trust them to protect me in the Sangha. The Kalapa Council writes that victims feel unheard and should send it an email describing the details. In my view they and the Sakyong likewise, as their boss are criminally incompetent.
Even in September 2015 in their final written communiqué to me, all the Administrators would tell me is that the same people who had ‘protected’ me at Dorje Denma Ling would protect me in the Sangha going forward, closing by suggesting I undergo psychotherapy by taking up the ‘generous’ offer of a professional Sangha psychotherapist conveniently close to my new home. As the Administrators failed to disclose this ban to the Police investigation in May 2015 we now see an obstruction of justice by the Shambhala International Administration on top of its abdicating its duty of care to the Sangha.
Statements by the Kalapa Council such as their March 9th. 2018 letter reveal their view that they hold themselves above the law, to the detriment of the integrity of the many well-intentioned people who populate the Sangha. In the context of documentation revealing child sexual abuse in the Sangha, by Project Sunshine the Council responds:
“There are also currently no active cases of child abuse with the International Care and Conduct Panel. [We] will ensure that all claims of abuse are investigated… If you have a case to report, instructions for submitting can be found in the Care and Conduct Policy document [exclusively by Shambhala members]”.
It is only the criminal justice system which should be relied upon to deliberate criminal behaviour, and to propose otherwise is seditious. Yet the Kalapa Council persists in perpetuating the illusion that it has jurisdiction in deliberating on crime, based on the understanding that the teachings of vajrayana buddhism which say that everything should be seen as a teaching in pure perception, nonduality, groundlessness and the absolute emptiness of existence. Were Vigerstad’s investigations informed by such hubris, allowing him to avoid interviewing my main suspect, declare him innocent and explain his not interviewing him with, “I am not the Police”?
This fox guarding the chickens thing must stop, otherwise crime will perpetuate and people will be preventably obstructed in their efforts to study and practice the Dharma. It is time for us to be transparent with the Court System and Police, believe in the workability of Restorative Justice. Nobody, ultimately is above the temporal laws of this realm, as unpalatable as that may be to some vajrayana practitioners. Such views are sedition and cover up crimes which adversely affect the public image of Shambhala International, such that the intention of applying such absolutist philosophy is clearly, and paradoxically self-serving.
Shambhala protocols on crime, already established for years, state very clearly that crime must be reported to the Police. In my case I presented clear evidence of the overwhelming likelihood of a cover up of criminal activity within the Sangha. Despite those protocols the Sangha’s Administrators failed to hold those officers who failed to report crime transparently accountable in their misconduct.
There is nothing to indicate that the criminal justice system *will* fail. Due to recently more liberal approaches to justice, Court systems in the various jurisdictions which administer crime where Shambhala operates are open to using restorative justice models to deliberate crime, monitored by those court systems. Indeed we are obliged to bring crime to the legal system without delay, or face charges of sedition.
An organisation, such as Shambhala International’s Care and Conduct Panel which openly deliberates on and fails to report crime is fundamentally seditious. It is nobody’s privelege to avoid the law because they are governed by a higher ethical bar founded in spirituality. That kind of myopia is also fundamentally cultish.
As you are clearly struggling with your own ‘narrative’ on this issue (by your own admission), it may not interest you to know that my efforts of late have at least the partial support of, among others including numerous victims of abuse in the Sangha, the following: the former President of Shambhala (2003 to 2015) and former human rights activist as the global media chief with Amnesty International (1980 to 1993), Richard Reoch; one of my former Meditation Instructors; a current Rusung (Health and Safety Officer) of a key Shambhala Center; a current Desung (Emotional Wellbeing Officer) of a long established west coast US Shambhala Center; a recent, former Head of Household for the Sakyong; a former wife of Chögyam Trungpa.
For the sake of caring for the emerging victims of this abuse I ask that you temper your bias with an open mind and attend to the victims compassionately rather than shaming the victims. It is sad that your response is typical to that experienced by many victims of the ‘abhorrent’ abuse which has been systemic in our Sangha for *decades*, including the ‘widespread child sexual abuse’ to which Andrea Winn is now pointing.
In calling my allegations of attempted murder ‘preposterous’, you neglect to consider that when I did stop my vehicle there was steam rising from the axle. You neglect to consider whether the person who removed the oil cap on that axle, or the people who conspired in doing so knew that multiple deaths could have resulted from that action. As the latter, if proven would constitute attempted murder and conspiracy to murder, and had I died there would likely have followed a murder investigation due to the systemic harrassment I had experienced leading up to incident, are four charges here:
1.Criminal Mischief, which carries 25 years,
2. Attempted Murder which also carries 25 years and,
3. Conspiracy to murder.
4. Failure to report crime.
Please forgive me for taking that seriously, and overlook the fact that the repairs cost me $3,000.00 for the moment.
I do not apologise for being tireless in holding you and the Kalapa Council to account for minimising criminal abuse in the guise of religion. Nor do I apologise for asking the Sakyong to account for his manifestly inept Administrators in their representing some of the world’s most influential buddhist teachings. In my initial post I recount how the Complainant of a Labour Standards Review Board was approached by a Council member with a bribe: drop the Complaint so that we can continue paying less than minimum wage to employees at Dorje Denma Ling and keep the Centre open. They failed because he refused the money. It is pereposterous for the Sakyong to ask me as his student to visualise the him as my guru in my daily practice, as the pinnacle of compassion while ignoring my allegations that my life is in danger in his Sangha, administered by charlatans.
I am today publicising another account of abuse in the Sangha on this blog. I pray for tolerance in all of us in addressing the perpetrators of abuse and their enablers, Such as Sakyong. May we all find the tolerance and compassion to listen to his victims’ testimonies, delivered through the lens of their trauma as they lumber into accounts of their abuse which they viscerally know they have experienced. Who are you to doubt even one of those testimonies, without first walking a mile in the shoes which brought it to you?
With kind regards, Edmund
The Kalapa Council’s February 12th. letter
Diana Mukpo’s February 12th. 2018 letter
Project Sunshine’s February 15th. 2018 Report
The Kalapa Council’s March 9th. 2018 letter
A March 15th. 2018 account of abuse in the Shambhala Sangha: