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My Spiritual Teacher Committed Sexual Assault. And He Saved my Life. What Does that Mean Now? - Aarti Tejuja Lentz

May 11, 2019

 

This reflection, posted by Aarti Tejuja Lentz on her site, mirrors feelings that many of us are struggling to work through at this point. It is very well-written. Until recently, Aarti occupied a paid position within Shambhala as the Director of the Shambhala Office of Social Engagement.  She offers considerations on what brought her to the Shambhala community, and how things progressed for her, and allows the reader to see how she struggles with reconciling all that has come to light.

 

From the end of her post:

 

So for my teacher, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, I thank you from the bottom of my heart – you did save my life. And what you have done is not acceptable. I love you and I do not accept what you have done. What you have offered to us as students is NOT enough. I have gratitude for what you’ve offered, but we deserve better. We demand better. We expect you to learn and go deep into your own social conditioning, with the help of trained professionals. We expect you to work with others on your alcoholism by attending programs such as Alanon. We expect you to work with others to understand your own internalized racism, sexism, classism and all the isms you’ve allowed yourself to fall prey to. We expect you to work with a therapist to better understand your own trauma. We expect you work with others to understand the trauma and pain you’ve caused by abusing people. And we expect you to share your progress with us, and not by writing but by speaking to us via video, zoom and other methods of engagement.

 

We expect you to begin to understand what it means to be a guru in the year 2019. It is not the same as maybe it once was anymore.

 

And while you go and figure this out, I’ll be working with other social activists, organizations, spiritual communities, transformative and restorative justice communities and anyplace that really wants to better understand how we can transform our societies. I’ll be working with incredible minds and hearts who want to do the work it’s going to take for real transformation to happen in this world.

 

I hope that at some point, you will be ready to join me. And if not, that’s ok too, because I know what I need to do and that’s enough.

 

The post can be read in full here:

https://www.spiritual-activism.org/my-spiritual-teacher-committed-sexual-assault-and-he-saved-my-life-what-does-that-mean-now

 

An earlier letter posted by Aarti addressed to the Shambhala sangha can be read here:

https://www.spiritual-activism.org/dear-shambhala-sangha/

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