Dear Members of the Shambhala Community,
In a news release issued by the Shambhala News Service on June 15th, my name was invoked in connection with the discussion of the developing rapprochement between Shambhala International and Satdharma. Further references to my participation in the events that transpired in Ojai in late May are also made in the much more extensive documentation that has been posted on the Satdharma website.
I feel that there is a lack of clarity in the news release and further potential misrepresentation resulting from the statements made on the Satdharma website. Given the importance of the unfolding events and their potential to reflect on the legacy of the Vidyadhara the Venerable Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and on the health of the Shambhala community as a whole, I feel that I must clarify my position and my understanding of the agreement. Specifically, I would like to clarify what I have agreed to and what I believe are the important reference points that must guide the agreement as a whole. The following, and only the following, represents my position and my understanding:
I would like to join in welcoming Patrick Sweeney, Lady Lila Rich and all of the members of the Satdharma Community back into Shambhala International. I feel it is important that we recognize and reach out to everyone in the Satdharma Community as our dharma brothers and sisters. This is a time for forgiveness and reconciliation.
I appreciate greatly the support that Mr. Sweeney has provided to the Ojai community since the death of the Vajra Regent Osel Tendzin. However, Patrick Sweeney is not a legitimate dharma heir in the lineage of the Vidyadhara. My understanding is based on statements that the Vidyadhara made publicly, as well as statements in his will and commentary, and discussions that he held with me in private. My understanding of the Vidyadhara’s wishes is that he did not wish the Vajra Regent to appoint a dharmic successor, especially should negative circumstances occur.
Therefore, when Mr. Sweeney re-enters the full Shambhala mandala, he should be afforded the respect offered to a senior teacher in our mandala, and in that light, he will be seated with the acharyas and regarded as on the same level as they are.
There is no doubt that the Vajra Regent Osel Tendzin continued to have unprotected sexual relationships with members of our sangha knowing that he was HIV-positive and failing to disclose that. This was a heinous violation of the student-teacher relationship, and we need to learn from this so that such an event or misuse of power can never again occur in our sangha. What the Vajra Regent did violated the Mahayana principle of not causing harm to others. The Vidyadhara Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche never condoned any behavior that would be harmful to others.
As stated in the Shambhala News release, the stupa for the Vajra Regent will be the one in Ojai. The stupa being built at the Shambhala Mountain Center will not be a stupa to the Vajra Regent. It will be a stupa to recognize the transmission of the teachings and the empowerment of Western students by the Vidyadhara.
Over time, I look forward to being involved with the entire sangha in a process of reintegration of the Satdharma Community into Shambhala International.
I trust that this clarifies my understanding. I feel that this is an extremely important time for all of us, one that will reflect on the precious heritage of the buddhadharma and Shambhala teachings given to us by the Vidyadhara the Venerable Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. It is a time that calls for all of us to express our true understanding and commitment to his powerful lineage of sanity.
Written the 18th day of June, 2005, by Diana Judith Mukpo, the Sakyong Wangmo of the Kingdom of Shambhala.