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The Naropa University of Boulder withdraws the international leader of Shambhala from its board of directors

Naropa University eliminated Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, the leader of Shambhala International, from his board of directors after accusations of sexual assault against him surfaced last week. ( Autumn Parry / Daily Camera )

The Naropa University of Boulder this week removed Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche from his Board of Trustees, saying he found that the allegations of sexual misconduct against the leader of Shambhala International were "credible and credible."

In addition, members of Shambhala's governing body born in Boulder, the Kalapa Council, announced on Friday that they will all leave their posts.

A report published last week by Project Sunshine contained anonymous accounts of several women accusing Mipham of sexual assault. So far, neither Mipham nor the Kalapa Council have confirmed or denied the accusations, although Mipham sent a letter before the publication of the report in which he apologizes for the "damage" in past relationships with women.

The responses of other Shambhala leaders have been slow to arrive, but a request from requesting the resignation of Mipham has gathered more than 600 signatures.

Naropa, the Buddhist-inspired university created by the late Shambhala founder, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, announced on Thursday that his Board of Trustees met on July 1 to discuss the accusations against Mipham and found out that women's accounts are "credible." and credible. " Subsequently, the board asked Mipham to resign his duties as ex officio member of the board and Naropa Lineage Holder, which he agreed to do immediately.

 Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche presents the Living Peace Prize to the Dalai Lama at the Retreat of Shambhala Mountain in Larimer County in 2006. "border =" 0 "/> </span></p><p><br
/></p><p> Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche presents the Living Peace Award to the Dalai Lama at the Shambhala Mountain Retreat in Larimer County in 2006. (<i> CLIFF GRASSMICK / DAILY CAMERA </i>)</p></p></div></p></div><p> Mipham did not have a vote on the board, and the two roles were largely ceremonial and based on the importance of Shambhala to the Naropa story. Naropa University has been independent of Shambhala International since 1987, and the statement clarified that none of Mipham's alleged inappropriate sexual behaviors took place in Naropa or in his role as a board member.</p><p> "However, that does not make the need for these Board actions less important for the integrity of our Naropa community," the statement says.</p><p> Charles Lief, president of Naropa University and co-signer of the statement, said he was "saddened" by the situation in Shambhala, since he and several teachers and staff have personal connections to the organization. He said that it is possible that Mipham or another representative of Shambhala can regain board seat in the future, but for now the board believes that the allegations are serious enough to justify his dismissal.</p><p> The director of the Shambhala Center in Boulder, the first of the now more than 200 meditation centers under the umbrella of Shambhala International, based in Halifax, New Zealand, has said that there have been no reported cases of sexual misconduct at the center. Boulder since she began her term in 2015.</p><p> Mipham owns a home in unincorporated Boulder County, according to property records.</p><p> The Council of Kalapa, the governing body of Shambhala, announced on Friday that all its members will leave their posts "with the interest to begin a healing process for our community."</p><p> He also said the council hired Wickwire Holm, a law firm based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to conduct an independent investigation into allegations of abuse or misconduct by Shambhala teachers and leaders.</p><p> ] It was not specified if the members of the council will resign permanently or only for the duration of the independent investigation. The statement said that there will be a gradual departure to create a smooth transition, and it did not give a specific timeline.</p><p> The Sakyong Office also issued a statement on Friday in which Mipham announced that he is "stepping back" from his administrative and teaching responsibilities within Shambhala, and that he fully supports a third-party investigation into the allegations against him. The statement says that it is entering "a period of self-reflection."</p><p> Andrea Winn, the creator of Project Sunshine's first and second reports, said that after working on the projects for more than a year, she is taking a step back in her role as an activist.</p><p> He expressed disappointment at the Kalapa Council's reactions to the accusations so far, especially the hiring of public relations firm Hiltzik Strategies. The New York City company is headed by Matthew Hiltzik, who has represented high profile clients such as Glenn Beck, Harvey Weinstein and Katie Couric.</p></p></div>
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