Ethan Nichtern – The Road Home – Ep. 7 – The Future of Shambhala

Ethan Nichtern - The Road Home - Ep. 7 - The Future of Shambhala

Ethan invites Aarti Tejuja, Dr. Shanté Paradigm Smalls and David Perrin to the show for an open discussion of the revelations which have recently transformed the Shambala community and together look forward to where they see the future of Shambala.

The group examines the impact of the allegations against Shambala leader Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, of abuse and misconduct, has had on themselves and the community. They examine questions of inclusivity, the responsibility of leadership and awareness towards marginalization in Shambala and other spiritual communities. Join these four for an honest reflection of missteps taken and the opportunity for moving forward with greater accountability, transparency and parity among all members of the Sangha.

For a more comprehensive understanding about the allegations against Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche we invite you to read coverage from Tricycle Magazine: Allegations Against Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and Lions Roar: Misconduct by Leader of Shambhala Community. You can also find Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche’s full letter to the Shambala community around the allegations: To the Shambhala Community

If you would like to share your thoughts with Ethan on all that has unfolded or would like to hear more from him on stepping down as Shastri and Ethan’s ongoing involvement in the Shambala community, please click here: Stepping Down As “Shastri,” Staying For The Shambhala Community

Join Ethan, Shanté, David and Joy Gutierrez at the Shambhala Center of NYC on November 20 at the Weekly Dharma Gathering for a continuation of this conversation about the future of Shambhala.

“Beyond the specifics of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, and other longterm leaders in the Shambala community, it feels like a lot of the family secrets have been exposed. For me, that has allowed a real freedom in my practice and in many ways has loosened my tongue publicly. I feel a sense that many of the things that I have been seeing for as long as I have been with Shambala, as well as things other people have been seeing, we are just saying enough is enough and we are not going to hold secrets. That feels very powerful on a personal level, as a practitioner, and also as a member of the community.” – Dr. Shanté Paradigm Smalls

Dr. Shanté Paradigm Smalls is a Vajrayana Buddhist teacher and student in the Shambhala school of Tibetan Buddhism. Dr. Smalls teaches dharma in a variety of locations including dharma centers, conferences, corporations, and colleges and universities. Shanté is focused on the healing impact of contemplation and meditation in Black communities, People of Color communities, LGBTQ+ communities, and prison and recovery communities. Shanté is an Assistant Professor of Black Literature & Culture at St. John’s University and they live in Brooklyn with their two dogs, Tilopa and Drala. Keep up with Shanté at

“It was sort of this death, it was this death of relating to the more elder generation, to Sakyong and the folks who have pioneered this. Just letting go of this idea that there is this parental vibe between me and them – that I am always pushing and trying to get them to see things differently or behave differently – and that just feels gone for me, it’s liberating. I don’t feel weighed down by this need to always be sort of fighting with my parents about something that I care so deeply about.” – David Perrin

David Perrin is a meditation teacher and mentor in the Shambhala tradition. David has taught as Head Teacher at MNDFL, and at the Institute for Compassionate Leadership. He is a Licensed Creative Arts Psychotherapist. David is a Trustee at the Perrin Family Foundation supporting youth social justice projects in Connecticut. He lives in New York City with partner Anne Kenan and their three children. He can be reached at

“In some very strange way, as painful as all of this is, there is a little bit of a sense of liberation for me in this as well, A sense of freedom, like maybe now something could actually be possible. Whereas before, it felt like things were really stuck. You knew there were things going on, but you didn’t really know what they were.” –  Aarti Tejuja

Aarti Tejuja is the Director of Social Engagement for Shambhala International. Through the Shambhala Buddhist tradition, Aarti has been able to find her true calling, which was to find a way to live out her spiritual path in action. She does this by creating safe spaces for young people in Chicago, community building, teaching people how to live mindfully and work with their inner biases, and to give back to society. Aarti has worked with constituent groups including boards, committees, volunteers, and external audiences. In June 2014, she was invited to take part in the Buddhist-Catholic dialogue sponsored by the Vatican, where she had the privilege to worth with Catholics from around the world, and to meet Pope Francis. She continues to work in the area of interfaith dialogue for peace.

To the Shambhala Community,

In a state of complete heartbreak, I write to you, humble, embarrassed, and thoroughly apologetic for disappointing you. I feel a tremendous amount of sorrow for the pain, confusion, and anger that our sangha is experiencing. I accept accountability for this pain, and want to express my commitment to personal growth…

…Personal development and learning is a lifelong process and I know that I must continuously apply myself and hear the feedback that I am getting. I feel tremendous regret and sadness, and I commit myself to continuing this healing. Our teachings advise that we do not give up on ourselves or on each other. I am realizing that I have much to learn and am committed to that process. I hope that by my doing this, our Shambhala community and organization can evolve, and become a true place of kindness, respect, and dignity. I am here for you, and am thinking of you always.

With love,

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche