Dear Shambhala Sangha,
It has been a very full month for us since we took our oath of office. We have spent time getting to know each other, learning about the current state of our community and organizing our work. Our focus has been on thoroughly understanding the organization and operations of Shambhala and on issues of community care, especially understanding and preventing harm.
We have been meeting two times a week as a full Board and have several committees of the Board meeting regularly on significant topic areas such as Finance, Government, Care and Conduct, Practice and Education, Communications and Legal. In addition, we have ongoing meetings with current and former staff and leaders within the Shambhala mandala. We have learned a tremendous amount, and we have begun to prioritize our work for the coming months. While it is critical to gain an understanding of how we arrived at this point, the Interim Board is trying to take a fresh look at each organizational challenge.
We have approved expenditures to support Advanced Programs at all land centers in 2019 as well as support for the Shambhala Day 2019 which is being planned with a focus on group practice across our global community. The land centers will communicate the dates of their Advanced Programs as soon as the 2019 Advanced Program calendar is finalized. Look for more information from the Shambhala Day Team in the coming weeks.
We are working with the Shambhala Finance department and members of the Shambhala Treasury Council to understand the state of Shambhala finances and the organization and operation of Shambhala Global Services. Shambhala is currently running at an unsustainable monthly deficit. The Finance Committee of the Board is looking at various strategies to stabilize Shambhala’s fiscal situation. We plan to provide the community with a financial plan in the coming months.
COMMUNITY CARE AND CONDUCT
Wickwire Holm Independent Investigation
Since late summer, the law firm Wickwire Holm has been receiving and investigating allegations of sexual harm caused by the Sakyong and other Shambhala leaders. The investigation closed to new claims on November 16, 2018. Presently, the investigator is continuing to investigate the claims that she has received. She will then assemble her work into a final report, with an intention to conclude the investigation and submit the results to the Interim Board no later than early January 2019. The Board will review the information from the investigator and then provide a report of the investigation to the community. The Board is committed to providing transparency as to the investigator’s findings without breaching the requested confidentiality of the people whom she interviewed.
Draft Code of Ethics
We have received and reviewed a draft Code of Ethics for Shambhala from the Code of Ethics Task Group prepared in collaboration with An Olive Branch. We are planning to enlist the Process Team to facilitate a community dialog around the new Code of Ethics draft, making sure that there is wide community participation in this critical element of a more caring and safer environment.
The Listening Post
An Olive Branch will continue to provide listening services and support for those who have experienced harm in our community until December 31. These services are available to the sangha by contacting ListeningPost@An-Olive-Branch.org. Information on how this process works and the approach An Olive Branch will take to listen and support reporters can be found here.
MEETING IN HALIFAX
In early December, the Interim Board will be meeting in person for the first time. We have chosen to meet in Halifax in order to best accommodate Board travel needs. We will have a day of committee meetings and two days of full Board meetings. We look forward to this intensive time together to consolidate our learning and set priorities for the coming months. We will also have an introductory meeting with the Sakyong as well as a social reception to meet members of the local community.
WEBSITE RESOURCES AND EMAIL
We greatly appreciate the support and suggestions that many of you have sent to us via email. We hope that you find our new website, Board.Shambhala.Org helpful. We will use this site to provide responses to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) as well as providing links to past Board communications and reports. Members may contact us at email@example.com. We commit to reading and considering all emails that we receive, but given the high volume of emails expected, we may be limited in our responses.
In this busy time of year, may we all find time to practice, to reflect and to be kind.
In the vision of the Great Eastern Sun,
The Shambhala Interim Board