Buddhist leader sexually assaulted students, report finds

Think Progress

June 28, 2018

By Joshua Eaton

“If you contest anything he says, ‘you’re wrong,'” one survivor said. “He’s a king.”

A prominent Tibetan Buddhist leader based in Halifax, Canada, sexually assaulted three of his female students and engaged in coercive sexual relationships with others, according to a report released Thursday by the advocacy group Buddhist Project Sunshine.

Sakyong Mipham, whose legal name is Osel R. Mukpo, leads a global network of meditation centers called Shambhala International. The report includes two accounts by women who say Mipham sexually assaulted them and one by a woman who says he engaged in an emotionally abusive sexual relationship with her. Other women’s accounts are summarized in an appendix to the report.

Carol Merchasin, the lead investigator for the report and a retired employment lawyer, also spoke to a woman who says she personally overheard Shambala leadership discussing how to cover up an allegation of rape by Mipham. The report does not probe the rape claim, which it calls “second or third hand at best,” citing a lack of evidence.

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